When I was a teenager, way back in the 1990s, visiting Häagen-Dazs' bar in Leiecester Square was the height of sophisticated European-ness. This was long before their tubs were available in every supermarket and cinema – for a while there it was scarcity and Scandinavity that made their ice cream cool. They were basically the Sarah-Lund's-Jumper of its time.
Häagen-Dazs is from New York. That name means absolutely nothing! Here's the story behind it (pinched from Wikipedia):
Mattus invented the "Danish-sounding" "Häagen-Dazs" as a tribute to Denmark's exemplary treatment of its Jews during the Second World War, and included an outline map of Denmark on early labels. The name, however, is not Danish, which has neither an umlaut nor a digraph zs – ä is used in Finnish, Swedish and German, but Danish uses æ for the corresponding sound (both of these are contractions of "ae"), and zs is used in Hungarian – nor does it have any meaning in any language or etymology before its creation. Mattus felt that Denmark was known for its dairy products and had a positive image in the US. His daughter Doris Hurley reported in the PBS documentary, An Ice Cream Show (1999), that her father sat at the kitchen table for hours saying nonsensical words until he came up with a combination he liked. The reason he chose this method was so that the name would be unique and original.
I love a good brand name origin story. I particularly like this one because the conceit completely worked on me. Plus it involves digraphs and umlauts. You can't beat a good umlaut. I'm now wondering what other brands I love are hiding behind made-up foreign words. Surely not my beloved Maersk?