The ABC’s of Acronyms…

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My dictionary defines acronym as “a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a seperate word; an initialism.”

The military has made a few acronyms a part of everyday jargon.

Who hasn’t said “SNAFU”?

Guys I knew used to use “FIGMO” as the reason they were taking things easy. “FUBIS” had a similar meaning.

“FUBAR” still gets a lot of mileage today as does “Whisky Tango Fox Trot” or “WTF” for short.

“HMFIC” and “WAG” have shown up at the workplace.

And, if you haven’t dined on “SOS”, you’ve missed a military staple.

(I actually like “SOS”.)

But most of the acronyms I wants to talk about have commercial or retail applications.

One of today’s hotties is IKEA.

What’s that stand for?

Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.

Credit the Swedish founder.

One of the better-known icons, IHOP (International House of Pancakes) recently became IHOb (International House of burgers).

IHOP has been struggling lately and the idea is to focus on another area of food (burgers) as a way to boost business.

To me, this on smacks of the “New Coke” fiasco of a few years ago.

IHOb sounds like a child with a bad head cold attempting to say IHOP.

If the burgers come served to you between two pancakes, uh, Houston, we have a problem.

Time will tell if the world will embrace IHOb.

In this era of mega-mergers and new branding, I think we might see more familiar acronyms change.

What if Sam Walton’s retail giant company decides to build numerous outlets along our southern border in cooperation with the Trump administration?

“Wall Mart” seems like a natural to me.\

Might Walgreen’s want to join in?

Or maybe they partner with the PGA so pros would be putting on the “Wal-Greens”?

Whem Sebastian S. Kresge opened his first large store in 1962, he probably didn’t see the demise of that chain but company officials might have made the closings more attractive by calling it “Not-So-O-Kmart”?

I think it’s possible that a famous auto parts ccompany might team up with a motel chain so you could take a brief snooze while your parts are located.

Can you see a “Take-a-NAPA” coming to a city near you?

UPS (United Parcel Service) might want to venture into men’s clothing and change to GIBS (Guys In Brown Shorts).

Some acronyms outlive the orignial reason they were created.

Take KFC for example.

When frying foods was “cool  and OK”, the Colonel’s best stood for “Kentucky Fried Chicken”.

Then the food police said frying wasn’t cool so “Kentucky Fried Chicken” just became known as “KFC” although the chicken was still prepared in the original fashion.

Younger diners might stroll in to the Colonel’s place and grab a meal, not knowing the “F” in KFC stood for “Fried”.

Maybe they’ll become “KGB” for “Kentucky Grilled Bird” but I’m betting today’s political climate won’t be receptive to the KGB getting involved in our dining choices.

Might work in Moscow, though.

IBM (International Business Machine) used to be “CTR” for “Computing Tabulating, Recording”.

I think in today’s world where big and successful seems to be perceived as evil, maybe IBM evolves into “ibm” for “itty-bitty-minions”.

Remember “MTV”?

Back in the day, they were all about music videos.

When’s the last time folks watched MTV and saw a video?

Maybe “MTV” now stands for “Mostly Tired Vapidness”.

“ESPN” used to mean “Entertainment & Sports Programming Network” but now it can be more politically-centered and opinionated than “Meet The Press”.

Hey, “ESPN”!

If it’s not about batting, dribbling, kicking, tackling, icing or running, I don’t care to hear about it. If jocks want to discuss politics, send them to the myriad of news channels available. I don’t think that fits the “E” portion of the “ESPN” acronym.

One thing I like about acronyms is how some become the standard for a product line.

“BVD” stands for “Bradley, Voorhees & Day” but now guys slip into a pair of “BVD’s” daily even if they’re not actually “BVD’s.

That’s some serious branding.

Acronyms also seem to make some product lines more palatable.

I’ll bet most would be dubious of something called the “Government Employees Insurance Company” but if you make its’ spokesperson a cute lizard and call this company “GEICO”, you might have a winner.

“American Family Life Assurance Company” sounds, well, boring.

But make a duck the face and the sound of the company and “AFLAC” seems to work.

(I’ll bet comedian Gilbert Gottfried knows!)

Acronyms seem to fit today’s pace of life.

We’re just too busy to say “Computerized Axial Topography” so “CAT” scan fills the bill.

Until you get the bill for one of those in the mail.

Then it’s “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”.

Or words to that effect.

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