12 Local Brands That Aren’t So Local

The faceless conglomerates, anonymous hometowns, and just straight-out misdirections behind your favorite brands.

Nu uh. Hollister Co. is actually based out of Ohio. This is what Hollister, California, is actually famous for:


Before Abercrombie & Fitch decided that the sleepy agricultural city would become the avatar of sunkissed California style for tweens, its biggest claim to fame was a 1947 motorcycle riot.

But now… TWEEENS!

Tumblr / Via

When people think “Monaco” in your name, they think of this:

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, which was set in Monaco.

Club Monaco, which has nothing to do with the French-speaking principality, is Canadian, and was bought by Ralph Lauren in 1999.


You know who has awesome coats and lived in London?

Except, the origins of London Fog are totally non-British…

…But they are totally sweet: Israel Myers’ Londontown company made 10,000 raincoats for American soldiers during World War II. It later became the iconic consumer brand. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

4. Old Milwaukee

They really want you to think this:

These totally bizarre and amazing ads starring Will Ferrell have only been shown in a select few markets — and are largely responsible for the revival of the stalwart brand, now part of the Pabst conglomerate headquartered in Los Angeles.

But really it’s mostly this:

Yelp / Via

5. Alaska Airlines

Makes you dream of soaring over the snowcapped peaks of Alaska, right?

Sure! As long as you mean Washington, and you’re OK with tacky themed airplanes.

Alaska Airlines is headquartered in SeaTac, Washington. And while it’s great to be based in an airport city, it’s not actually in Alaska! C’mon! (Yeah, sure, it was founded in Alaska.)

6. Gordon’s London Dry Gin

Diageo, the company Gordon’s is a part of, is actually based in London, but the stuff itself comes from a distillery in Fife, Scotland.

Who’s half-Scottish and loves gin cocktails?

But everyone from London to Aberdeen loves gin! And colonialism!

Reminds you of the most important event in the history of Texas. Remember?

In reality, Alamo was founded in Florida and is part of car rental conglomerate Enterprise Holdings, headquartered in Clayton, Missouri. Here’s an Alamo rental counter:

8. Arizona Iced Tea

LOL, nope. It’s a giant can of sugar water from two guys in Brooklyn who are are responsible for this. The company is based in Woodbury, New York.

@DrinkAriZona / Via

9. Wienerschnitzel

Wiener schnitzel is the proud national dish of Austria. It’s thinly sliced, deep fried veal. It’s freakin’ delicious.

Tumblr / Via

Wienerschnitzel is “the world’s largest hot dog chain.” It’s based in Irvine, California.

Adam Gerard / Via Flickr: voteprime

Gold’s Gym was founded in Venice Beach by the “Muscle Beach” veteran Joe Gold. Arnold lifted there. It was awesome. Look at Arnold! They called Gold’s “The Mecca of Body Building.”


Now it’s “The Mecca of National Chains Based in Dallas.”

Flickr: silvery / Via Flickr user Si1very

Delicious Häagen-Dazs. Surely milked from a humble cow somewhere in Austria, right?

Nope! Häagen-Dazs’ headquarters are in Oakland, California.

This is Malibu, California. It’s a beautiful town, tucked away north of Los Angeles. Some of the houses are on the beach, while others rest on spectacular cliffs overlooking the Pacific.

Metro Library and Archive / Via Flickr: metrolibraryarchive

Malibu has nothing to do with Malibu, California. It has some vague island branding even though Malibu isn’t an island. It’s also just one brand for French drinks giant Pernod Ricard.

The real Malibu.

Check out more articles on!

Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at
Senior Global Adaptation Editor
Contact Tanner Greenring at
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.
Now Buzzing