Inventive Latin American product branding (2): The power of the Inca


(Approximate reading time: 5 minutes)

South America is a very colorful continent. Many cultures, many people, many races, many ethnicities, many languages. But not so many countries. Only 12 different states counts the continent of 17,8 million km². To all fans of the non-metric system who don’t have any idea how many miles this is: It’s quite a lot! The whole continent was colonized by ancient European royal dynasties hundred of years ago and still today the roots of the South American continent are deeply visible.

Before the Spanish and Portuguese conquerer came to the American continents, not many advanced civilizations existed. Naming here especially the advanced civilizations from the Peruvian tribes who cultivated corn and implemented the pottery 2,000 bc. and later the metal processing with gold and bronce. And the Inca still have a have a very high credit and reputation within the Peruvian population because all the achievements and acquisitions they made. Peruvian people are proud people. And their proud is reflected amongst several products and service they offer.

Read here more about the interesting substantiation from all the Inca products and the explanation of their names.

Inka Cash

inca cash.jpeg​​

Inka Cash promises you money. The clue is in the name here, as they are operating as a financial service and moneylender. On their home page, they have a very ridiculous story about their own name to tell:


“Cashito was a very rich and powerful Inca who was born in Sullana (Piura). He dedicated himself to help people, gran money loans with excellent payment options and low interest rates. Today he works hand in hand with INKA CASH, with the purpose of achieving the tranquility and development of our clients.”

Wow, again there were brilliant brainiacs at work in the marketing department! So what they did was to invent a key visual that looked like an ancient Inka and gave him the name Cashito, the diminutive of Cash. Needless to say, that neither ‘Cash’ nor ‘Cashito’ are official names in the Spanish language, but it should be clear now, where they want to go to with that idea. Sounds like, that Cashito was his time ahead AND a benefactor, if he already gave credit with low interest rates to his Inka buddies.

But if the Inka were capable of metal processing as I wrote in the introduction, they were also using a monetary system, didn’t they? The answer is ‘No’ together with a ‘You’re wrong’. Although they were reign about the most advanced civilizations of their time in the 16th century, they didn’t know about money itself. Which had the great advantage, that they didn’t have to pay taxes either. Instead they developed a bureaucratic state with a redistribution of income and wealth. Every product and service they made was strictly distributed. The population had to work 1/3 of their time for Inti (God of the Inka), 1/3 of their time for the aristocrats and military (The Inka itself) and The last third of their working hours for her family, the elderly, the sick, widows, orphans, and the needy. What a crap system for the working class, you work full and receive almost nothing. And I always thought, that money would be the real problem of all. But you have more problems without money than with. What a bad joke…

All in all is the brand name ‘Inkacash’ and the key visual ‘Cashito’ silly, but historically nonsense.


​Inkafarma is now 21 years old and therewith mature. It was founded in 1996 and has now more than 1,000 stores in Peru. But the name was very wisely chosen, because the Inka were advanced and far ahead with their applied medicine. Two of many examples show their progress of medicine very distinct:

  • Inka used coca leaves to alleviate pain and hunger and raise the endurance and efficiency of their carriers and scouts. Cooking the leaves as a tea was used to treat vomiting, bleeding, diarrhea and the altitude sickness. And still nowadays in Peru and many other Andean countries they remember the old Inka treatment and consume coca leaves.
  • Meanwhile their European conquerers of the 16th century claimed, that a regularly use of the bath is harmful to the body, the Inka knew already about the advantages of their thermal sources and applied health promotion. Hot springs were for the Inka a holy place.

So this is a good name for a brand, because there is a story to tell and a history.

Inca Kola

Inca Kola was created in 1935 by a British immigrant. The soda has a very sweet and fruity flavor from the lemon verbena, a plant I’ve never heard about before. You can compare the awfully taste of Inca Kola with a mix of bubble gum, Red Bull and a lemonade. So not for the faint of the heart.

If you think, that it would be a great moment to rebel with the purchase of one bottle of Inca Kola against the market leader Coca Cola, I need to disappoint you: Since 1999, the Coca Cola company owns all rights and trademarks about Inca Kola. There is no link and history between the product itself and an ancient comparable beverage from the Inka. Unfortunately I can’t tell you a cool story now.

Inka Bet


Shit, for a little moment, my pop up blocker was disabled and one of these million advertisements showed up. Wait, but this time…The Inca themselves invite me to make a sports bet. Does this brand name make sense?

It doesn’t. If you read the first example thoroughly, you will remember that the Inca did not have money as a currency. And where there isn’t money, you can’t place a sports bet. Hence it is one of the examples to abuse their traditional name and culture to shine in the light, catch attention and to make some money. Money, that didn’t even exist during the Inca period. 

Some sports like Tlachtli, a mesoamerican Sport existed and the winners of a match did also win some smaller prizes (e.g. clothing). But all that is still to far away from our nowadays professional organized sports betting systems to have a deserved connection with the name Inka Bet.

By the way: The difference between the Inca and the Inka is not more than the one single letter. It’s a question of the transcription and the same as Cusco or Cuzco.


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