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A Brand By Any Other Name

May 14, 2021
Originally published on May 14, 2021 3:45 pm

From the indie rock band Real Estate, bandmates Alex Bleeker and Martin Courntney put their time on the road to good use in a game about brands with different regional names around the United States.

Heard on Sean Hayes & Ed Helms: Podcast No. 9.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HALF A HUMAN")

REAL ESTATE: (Singing) Where's my love when the sky begins to turn and the air is cool like water?

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

The music you're hearing is from the band Real Estate. And we're not playing it for no reason. We're playing it because our next two friend-testants (ph) are from the band Real Estate. Their new EP is called "Half A Human." Martin Courtney, Alex Bleeker, welcome to ASK ME ANOTHER.

ALEX BLEEKER: Hello.

MARTIN COURTNEY: Hi.

EISENBERG: Hello.

COURTNEY: Happy to be here.

EISENBERG: And you two know each other - how far back are we talking? I know you went to high school together in Ridgewood, N.J. Is that right?

BLEEKER: Yeah. My first memory of Martin - earliest memory, although I'm sure we shared space together before this - was Little League Baseball tryouts in the third grade, I think.

JONATHAN COULTON: (Laughter) Oh, wow.

BLEEKER: You know, he was from a different neighboring rivalry elementary school, so things got...

EISENBERG: Oh, boy.

BLEEKER: ...A little heated between us on the line as we were ready to go and show our obviously formidable baseball skills, which is why we both became musicians, you know.

COURTNEY: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And Martin, the name of the band, Real Estate, that is somewhat inspired from your life. Is that right?

COURTNEY: Right. After going to college and moving back to my parents' house in New Jersey, I had still no clue what I wanted to do with my life. And my parents are in real estate. And so I just decided to go to real estate school to get my license because I thought maybe that would be something I could do for a while. But yeah - and then we were kind of at the same time in the process of starting this band, reconnecting as friends. And yeah - and we didn't have a band name. And I forget who came up with the idea originally, but I think my mom encouraged it 'cause she was like, yeah, you guys could all be in this band by night and by day, you guys should all get your real estate licenses and come work for me. And you can call your band Real Estate.

(LAUGHTER)

BLEEKER: Yeah. I was going to say, do you think your mom and dad would still hire us 'cause, you know.

COURTNEY: I know, right? Like...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. We have a couple games for you guys. So Martin, before the show, you told us that your areas of knowledge include regional fast food chains, malls, JFK Terminal 4. Wait. Say, what is Terminal 4? Which...

COURTNEY: That's the, like, the Delta terminal, which we all - all of us in the band are pretty well acquainted with, at least as it existed, like, two years ago or something.

EISENBERG: Mmm hmm. OK. So inspired by consumerism, you're going to play a game called a brand by any other name. So in this case, you're just going to correctly identify brands that have different regional names around the United States. We're going to give you one name that the brand goes by, and you're going to give us the other. OK. OK, pretty easy stuff. Martin, this first one is for you.

The biggest difference between these fast food sister brands is attitude. Carl's Jr. is infamous for its hot and steamy ad campaigns, while its eastern counterpart focuses more on its hot and steamy Angus thick burgers. But in both places, you'll find a happy star mascot.

COURTNEY: It's Hardee's.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COURTNEY: OK, good.

EISENBERG: It is correct, yes.

COULTON: All right. Alex, Girl Scout cookies are made by two different bakeries. If your local troop contracts with ABC Bakers, you'll be eating a whole box of Caramel deLites in one sitting. But if they sell the Little Brownie versions, you'll be eating a whole box of this similar cookie.

BLEEKER: Is it Samoas?

COULTON: It is Samoas, the best Girl Scout cookie.

BLEEKER: Yes...

COURTNEY: Agreed, yeah.

BLEEKER: ...My favorite Girl Scout cookie by far. And also, I will say my wife is Canadian. And...

EISENBERG: Me, too.

BLEEKER: So you have, like, a whole other set of Girl Scout cookies out there or Girl...

EISENBERG: Yes, yes.

COULTON: Like, bizarro world of Girl Scout cookies.

BLEEKER: Girl Guide cookies, am I right?

EISENBERG: Thank you. That's correct.

BLEEKER: Yeah, yeah. And she is like, what the heck are these things here in the States? She's like, this is a poor facsimile of what a Girl Guide cookie is. It's very disappointing to her.

EISENBERG: Agreed. Agreed. You know what? And thank you, Alex. I've brought this up before on the show and just everyone goes, no, no, you're wrong.

BLEEKER: Yeah, right.

EISENBERG: But see, now I have some validity.

BLEEKER: You've got some proof. I mean, I also tell her that she's wrong. But you know...

EISENBERG: This is how it goes. This is how it goes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. Martin, Duane Reade is a New York City drugstore chain named for the two streets bounding its original Manhattan location. In 2010, it was acquired by America's second-largest drugstore chain. Since then, most Duane Reade stores have adopted the same red and white color scheme and product line as their new corporate overlords.

COURTNEY: Rite Aid?

EISENBERG: The other one - keep going.

COURTNEY: CVS?

EISENBERG: One more.

BLEEKER: (Laughter).

COURTNEY: Oh, my God. Walgreens?

EISENBERG: There you go. That's correct.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I went into a Walgreens Duane Reade to buy something. And I felt - I was like, this is good that I'm shopping locally. And all I meant by that was I wasn't ordering it from Amazon. Like, it's weird that Walgreens felt like I was...

COULTON: All right. Here's the last clue, Alex. It's for you. The St. Louis Bread Company is known as the St. Louis Bread Company in St. Louis, where the brand got its rise. That's a little joke. But in most other places, you fill up on free sourdough samples at a place called this, which means bread basket in Spanish.

BLEEKER: Oh, is it Panera?

COULTON: It is Panera. That's right.

BLEEKER: I love Panera.

COULTON: Oh, sure.

BLEEKER: I'm a Panera fan.

EISENBERG: I'm trying to think - 'cause they also do the bread bowl for the soup, right?

BLEEKER: Can't resist a bread bowl.

COURTNEY: Yeah.

BLEEKER: Love a bread bowl.

EISENBERG: Oh, that's the best part. I wish they did it for spoons and knives, too. Just make it all...

COURTNEY: Bread spoon?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Bread. You both did fantastic. Well done. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.