In his 1983 book Big Business Blunders: Mistakes in Multinational Marketing, David Ricks tells the following story:

A Japanese steel firm, Sumitomo, recently introduced its specialty steel pipe into the U.S. market. Sumitomo used a Tokyo-based, Japanese agency to help develop its advertisements. The steel was named "Sumitomo High Toughness," and the name was promoted by the acronym SHT in bold letters. So bold, in fact, that the full-page ads run in trade journals were three fourths filled with SHT. Located at the bottom of the page was a short message which ended with the claim that the product was "made to match its name." It simply cannot be overemphasized that local input is vital.

I've been able to find ads for SHT, such as the one below, but none exactly like the one that Ricks describes. Which doesn't mean the ad doesn't exist. Just that it isn't in any journals archived online.

Ocean Industry - July 1984

However, among the ads for SHT that I was able to find, I found one that actually improves (and possibly complicates) Ricks's story. Because it turns out that Sumitomo had another product, Sumitomo Calcium Treatment, that it abbreviated as SCAT.

Once I could accept as an honest mistake, but coming up with scatalogical abbreviations twice seems intentional. I'm guessing either someone at Sumitomo thought it was funny, or someone at the Japanese agency was having a joke at their expense.

Ocean Industry - March 1980

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 27, 2022
     Category: Business | Products | Odd Names | Excrement | 1980s

They also seem proud of their extra care treatment using vacuum degassing, which would be abbreviated "VD", of course.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 11/27/22 at 06:39 AM
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