What does the word “Idaho” usually bring to mind? Well, first it usually evokes the U.S. state and then potatoes, since Idaho produces almost one-third of America’s potato crop. (P.S. Contrary to popular belief, Idaho is not The Potato State … its official nickname is The Gem State.)
But what’s the connection beween Idaho and Turkey? Well, last month, the state of Idaho discovered that a Turkish company was attempting to register the Idaho name as a trademark. The Idaho legislature unanimously passed a resolution to protect its name. But at the same time, state legislators wondered why Turkey was interested in using the word Idaho in the first place. After all, it means nothing in Turkish and Idaho potatoes aren’t particularly well known in Turkey. Here’s a copy of the record from the Corsearch platform:
It turns out the company that filed the trademark registration, Beta Ziraat, plans to use the brand name to market not potatoes, but vegetable seeds. When American Public Media’s Marketplace contacted the Turkish company to ask why it had chosen the name Idaho, an unidentified employee said something to the effect that Turkish farmers like foreign-sounding words. He also said the company was reconsidering the use of the name because of the negative feedback from the U.S.
Have you seen other U.S. state or city names used as a brand internationally?