For this wiki's purposes, an Acme Corporation is any generic corporation that seems to supply everything a character, or entire cast, uses. These supplies are, of course, Acme Products. Not to be confused with any of the myriad non-fictional objects and entities bearing the moniker.
The eponymous example appears most famously in classic Warner Brothers cartoons featuring Wile E. Coyote, whose more elaborate plans involved Acme catapults, earthquake pills, bat suits, spring shoes, and so on; the Coyote's undying faith in Acme Corp., despite the endemic flaws and defects, is one of the mysteries of this series. Bugs Bunny and other characters made use of their services as well, with better results.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit? the president of the Acme Corporation is a nice chap, Marvin Acme, whose lost will becomes the MacGuffin.
- Everything humanity uses in WALL-E is produced by Buy N Large. Which is apparently also the government.
- Omni Consumer Products (OCP) from RoboCop also produces everything from weapons, to simple consumer products, to the eponymous hero.
- The Weyland-Yutani company from the Alien series of films seems to be one of these, being involved in government, interstellar shipping, attempts at biological weaponry, colonization of planets, and warfare.
- As of the fourth movie, they have been bought up by Wal-Mart.
- In the movie Spaceballs all products seen are Spaceballs brand, due to Yogurt's ownership of the film's own merchandising rights.
- In the movie Braindead uncle Les uses an Acme brand clothes mangle.
- 1941 had an Acme Turpentine warehouse. Had as in before it was wrecked.
- In the film of The Losers, the team has to hack into a hard drive from Goliath International, which makes "pretty much everything."
- Roy makes use of Acme to get the robot dog he needs to defeat RoboCat in the cartoon portion of Stay Tuned, being a Genre Savvy couch potato TV addict.
- The RAMJAC Corporation is a fictional multinational conglomerate, or megacorp, featured in several novels by Kurt Vonnegut. In Jailbird, the company at its height owns 19 percent of the United States. Every time any product or corporation is mentioned, it is also mentioned that it is owned by the RAMJAC Corporation.
- The novel The Quillan Games in the Pendragon series features the territory of Quillan, in which the Blok corporation, which started as a general store, evolved until it completely controlled the territory, and produce literally everything, from food to buildings to artwork, on the planet. If it doesn't have the name "Blok" on it, it probably doesn't exist or is boarded up underground with a factory or concentration camp built over it.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space series, all starship hulls and a multitude of other useful high-tech products are sold by an alien-owned company called General Products.
- Not all hulls, just the near-invulnerable, radiation-proof ones that come in four useful sizes... which does kind of give them an advantage in the market, I guess.
- The Pixler corporation in Abarat doesn't have a monopoly, but it likes to say in its marketing copy that it will provide for you from cradle to grave—which it very well may, given that it runs both hospitals and funeral centers. In between, it provides everything from food to education. (And yes, these people are evil.)
- Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series has the Goliath Corporation. Its motto is "For all you'll ever need."
- And in the sixth book in the series, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, Thursday has a sort-of part-time job in a carpet fitting company which is called Acme.
- The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy produces most of the sentient robots, sentient computers, and sentient elevators (It Makes Sense in Context) seen in the series. They have a very poor reputation and at one point it's mentioned that their complaints division is the only part of the company that turns a profit.
- The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation describes the robot as "your plastic pal that's fun to be with". The Guide describes The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as, well, a string of rather bad words which were still marginally fit to print. For instance, one of the more infamous products was an automated door which responds "Please enjoy your trip through this door", "Thank you for making a simple door very happy" or simply "Thank You" whenever anyone walks through (the exact wording varies from print to radio to TV).
- ...and guess who was the first against the wall when the revolution came.
- CHOAM (Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles) is a massive entity in Dune which, more or less, controls the sale of everything - essentially a mass amalgamation of craft and guilds.
- To a lesser extent the Spacing Guild, who are a strangulatory monopoly (and own about a third of CHOAM's stock) as the only entity capable of space travel and the only owners of interstellar ships - all of CHOAM's goods require them, and they take a hefty cut of profit, as well as all transport or movement - without the Guild, the Empire, and CHOAM, collapses.
- Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete and Pete had this, with everyone listening to Krebstarr radios and wearing Kreb of the Loom underwear.
- Max Headroom had Zik Zak. Motto: "We make everything you need, and you need everything we make."
- The Prescott group, fictional sponsor of The Colbert Report, has a branch in just about every industry.
- Veridian Dynamics not only designs and makes anything you can imagine but finds some sort of evil use for all of it.
- In Lost, pretty much every type of food and drink employed by the DHARMA Initiative is DHARMA-brand food.
- There's also the Widmore Corporation and its subsidiaries (Widmore Labs, Widmore Construction, Widmore Industries)
- Parodied in the mini-series Fresno, where the Acme Toxic Waste Company is owned by..... Mr Acme.
- Brazilian comedy group Casseta & Planeta has the Tabajara Organizations, "a monopolist megaconglomerate" with products that usually have names in pseudo-English.
- Mad TV had the company Spishak, which made everything from cleaning products to medicine. The products ranged from useless to having unfortunate side effects.
- The Shutsu Tonka Unitocracy in DAAS Kapital.
- BioShock (series): The fact that Andrew Ryan has his name plastered all over products and establishments in Rapture could be considered an example.
- Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil series.
- Elite Beat Agents: The ABCD sporting goods company ranges from footballs to Olympic athlete's track suits.
- Ground Control had the Mega Corp Crayven which produced food (such as the "Crayven Crunchbars"), combat armour, starships, had a military force, sponsored several frontier colonies and owned a multitude of TV channels. Oddly, Crayven did not produce Crayven brand weapons. Its armaments came from a sister-corporation called Wellby-Simms instead.
- An awful lot of products in the Nancy Drew games, from antique HAM radios to modern office equipment, were made by Krolmeister. In Secret of the Old Clock, Nancy even got to go there, delivering telegrams to the Krolmeister nail factory.
- It's Lampshaded in Danger by Design, in which a newspaper article announces that Krolmeister has just bought the Acme Corporation!
- Trail of the Twister introduces Mr. Krolmeister himself, as a phone-voice. Nancy asks him how many products his company actually makes; he muses about it, mentioning some examples (salad dressing, industrial equipment...), before admitting he has no idea.
- The Frobozz Magic Company in Zork, with amusing subdivision names like Frobozz Exploding Paper Company and Frobozz Wizard Slaying Nasal Spray Company. Also a Mega Corp, since at the end of the reign of Dimwit Flathead, 100% of all commerce in Quendor was owned by FrobozzCo.
- The Ultor Corporation in several Volition-made games (i.e. Saints Row, Red Faction) are a clothing label, a mining company, and invest in extensive city redevelopment.
- Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?: The name is given, not to a product, but to a detective agency.
- Ratchet and Clank has Gadgetron, which supplies the hero's weapons and equipment. He actually gets to save it from an attack in the first game.
- Team Fortress 2, or more accurately, its expanded universe of the Valve blog, features "Mann Co.", with the slogan "We Sell Products And Get In Fights".
- Mann Co. is actually a subsidiary of the even larger TF Industries, which also owns RED and BLU and all of their subsidiaries.
- Syn Tek Megacorporation from Alien Swarm. Everything from drinks to weaponry to medicine and synthetic drugs is made by them.
- The Lezareno company from Tales of Symphonia which handles everything in Tethe'alla, from mining operations to making incredibly bad-smelling perfume (which the president of the company, Regal Bryant, deeply apologises for and immediately stops the production of when smelling it for the first time).
- The Madagascar video game has a few ACME products, mainly a cardboard box which you use to sneak past people as the Penguins.
- While on Illium in Mass Effect 2, listen closely to the advertisements in the background. Nearly all of them, regardless of the product (snacks, asari beauty products, experimental medical treatments) end with the phrase "a division of Elkoss Combine".
- Cheap as Free in Homestar Runner (with a few exceptions: Compy computers, Videlectrix video games, and Cold Ones beer).
- MSF High: Miss Fenris runs one of these, with lots of fine print.
- Doctor Steel seems to order some of his supplies from them; he can produce a large hammer or lit stick of dynamite at will...
- Dynamic Utility Products, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe produces everything from cigarette lighters to machine guns to playing cards. You can find DUP's products in every home in America, practically. Of course, they're secretly a front for TAROT, the world's greatest criminal organization.
- Mickey Mouse cartoons from the '30s and '40s often featured a similar company called Ajax, although this varied between being an actual Acme-style corporation and being Mickey's rink-a-dink entrepreneurial outfits ("Ajax Clock Cleaners, we clean clocks!" "Ajax Ghost Hunters, we hunt ghosts!" etc.) However, the Donald Duck short Cured Duck featured an "Acme Garage".
- In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Acme is headed by a Corrupt Corporate Executive, the movie's Big Bad, who, not coincidentally, counts Wile E Coyote among his hired goons, despite "My God, man what am I going to do with you? You've done nothing but screw up. You've walked off of mesas, been smashed by boulders, and run over by diesel trucks. And don't blame the equipment. The equipment is good. It's Acme equipment. You're a coyote. Be wily."
- In a Cartoon Network advertisement, Wile E sued ACME over their malfunctioning equipment, and was awarded a prime-time slot.
- Bounty Hamster spoofed this, by having an unnamed coyote recommend that Marion get a better catalog.
- In one Looney Toons short comic it was revealed that the ACME agent Wile E goes to to pick up his equipment is Bugs Bunny in disguise, which may have something to do with why they never work the way they are supposed to.
- The Acme Corp. for Garfield and Friends was Schlocko, purveyor of various Ron Popeil-type novelty items.
- Little Gem was also used a few times.
- The Pink Panther uses Acme products on several occasions.
- In The Replacements everything is made by Fleemco.
- Invoked with Krusty Brand products in The Simpsons, though the reason tends to be Krusty the Clown's willingness to approve every license handed to him.
- Subverted since Krusty Brand products are universally poorly made, dangerous and in some cases, cursed.
- There are also the Li'l Bastard products.
- Even Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers had an Acme product: the Acme Majestic Ultra-light All-Weather Fiberglass Volcano as shown in the episode "Gadget Goes Hawaiian".
- In The Proud Family they have Wizard Kelly products. Most everything is sold under the name of Wizard Kelly or Wiz.
- Which was a gag about basketball legend and successful businessman Magic Johnson, who owns everything from theaters to restaurants to a line of hair care products in the black community. He single-handedly convinced major corporations that there was money to be made targeting the black community.
- Pinky and The Brain live at Acme Labs. We don't see them making a ton of bizarre roadrunner-busting products, but turning lab animals into evil geniuses who want to Take Over the World... sounds about right.
- In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, most products and businesses have a sign or logo for AOL Time Warner, the actual parent company of Turner Broadcasting. Additionally, almost every store and service has the ending -lux (Javalux coffee, etc.)
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, everything is made by Misery Inc...unfortunately.
- Conglom-O from Rocko's Modern Life was either this, or a corrupt Mega Corp, depending on episode needs.
- A short on Oh Yeah Cartoons had a company called "Apex" that specialized in cartoon props and gadgets; the plot of the cartoon revolved around a fox and a weasel sneaking along on a tour of their factory to get their hands on some of these gadgets.
- A Disney's Doug (actually Quailman) episode features S.T.U.A.R.T., a company that makes all sorts of products which malfunction and fail on purpose just to annoy their users as much as possible.
A Warner Brothers Production
- Chuck Jones, creator of this trope's namesake company, attributes his usage to the large number of fly-by-night companies that named themselves Acme in order to be first in the yellow pages. Acme, which means "the highest point" or pinnacle, struck him as particularly funny. To this day, it is rather fun to call one of these businesses and ask if they have any products that can be used to kill a roadrunner.
- It's also noted that Warner Bros. animators may have used Acme brand drawing boards or camera stands.
- In fact, the peg-bars used by animators to hold multiple sheets of paper in place were Acme brand during Warner Brothers' most prolific Looney Tunes years. Since animators spent all day staring at "ACME", they incorporated it into the cartoons.
- A broadcasting company mostly made up of former The WB affiliates was named Acme Communications (1997-2012) in reference to the Warner Bros. usage.
Another Company Marketing Everything
- Amazon.com is pretty much this now, selling everything from greenhouses to groceries. They started as a straight-up bookseller.
- Sears, Roebuck and Co. invented e-commerce in the railway telegraph era; their printed catalogue was a one stop shop for everything one could every possibly want (and much one didn't)... at least until around World War II when demographic changes moved people away from rural areas to suburban zones. Heck, Sears even sold cars and houses.
- In western Montana, there are many "painted ladies" - 1900-era houses - which started out as Sears prefab houses and are still inhabited or used as storefronts.
- One of the products found in an early 20th century Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog is an actual Acme anvil.
- In early 20th century Canada it was the Eaton's catalog, well-known for including everything from diamond jewellery to prefab houses. It was multi-purpose, too, since (before they switched to glossy paper) last year's catalog was this year's outhouse accessory. The last remnants of the Timothy Eaton company were purchased by Sears Canada, which failed and was liquidated in 2017.
- Nowadays, most catalogues are speciality. To some degree, Walmart, Target (US) and a handful of remaining department stores fill the "general store" role. Many more have come and gone over the years (or are operating under bankruptcy administration), including notables like JCPenney and Montgomery Ward. Now-bankrupt Sears invented e-commerce in the railway telegraph era, only to be eaten alive by it once Amazon's Jeff Bezos became the wealthiest person on Earth in the Internet era.
- SM Prime Holdings is well known in the Philippines as one of the biggest retailers and property developers in the country, selling everything from apparel and other household supplies to real estate. Which is far cry from the fact that "SM" originally stood for Shoemart.
- Marikina Shoe Exchange is, as the name implies, a shoe retailer (through the Avon-esque multi-level marketing business model), but they have since diversified into selling other apparel as well as smart devices such as cellphones and tablets.
- CD-R King in the Philippines was named after the optical recording medium and started off selling blank optical discs in the Philippines since 1997, but has since widened their scope to the point of carrying things not normally found in a gadget store like rice cookers and even electric bicycles. This became something of a running joke amongst Filipinos who humorously suggested even more unlikely things that could be sold at a CD-R King store like frozen fish or helicopters. And like Warner Bros.' Acme, CD-R King is also notorious for their products' hit-or-miss build quality. The store chain suffered a decline in recent years however, as people have shifted away from optical media in favour of flash storage and cloud-based services, on top of legal issues surrounding the sale of blank optical discs.
Another Company Making Everything
- The concept of one large company operating in multiple fields is known as chaebol in South Korea, where a few large family-controlled firms span multiple industries. There are also a few large companies spanning multiple sectors in Japan:
- Sony. Currently dealing in consumer and industrial electronics (including laptops, phones, camcorders, cameras and radios), home entertainment, media production (including TV, Film and Music), electronic components, industrial chemicals, video games (both games and consoles), batteries, toys, robots, banks, and life insurance.
- Likewise, Mitsubishi, known in the US only as a car manufacturer, does pretty much everything in its homeland. Just check the list of subdivisions on their Wikipedia entry for a quick-and-dirty rundown.
- Yamaha makes everything from pianos to motorbikes. Japan, like South Korea, is prone to have many huge conglomerates spanning multiple unrelated industry and product lines.
- The Tata Group in India, supplier of many products including automobiles, energy, and even tea.
- In a similar vein with Samsung, LG Corporation, primarily known as an electronics manufacturer outside of South Korea, also carries household care products, cosmetics, beverages (as a Coca-Cola licensee no less) and their own telecom provider.
- Ditto with the Lotte Corporation, primarily known as a confectionery brand outside of Korea, but is South Korea's fifth largest chaebol, engaged in industries as diverse as beverages, hotels, fast food, retail, financial services, industrial chemicals, electronics, IT, construction, publishing, and entertainment.
- The Walton Group in Bangladesh. While they primarily specialise in electronics, their product line covers things as diverse as desktops, laptops, RAM sticks, SD cards, home appliances, generators, elevators, batteries and even motorcycles. It wouldn't be that of a stretch for a Bangladeshi family's home to be decked out entirely with Walton-brand appliances, with one or more family members owning a Walton laptop and/or cellphone, and riding a Walton motorbike whilst they're at it, money permitting.
- Fujifilm is primarily an imaging company, but they have also dabbled into fields such as photochemicals, biotech and even cosmetics. It is through this diversification that kept Fujifilm afloat despite the world moving on from traditional film to digital media. Not to mention that they have also developed favipiravir, one of the proposed treatments for COVID-19 which is sold under the trade name Avigan.
- At some point Nokia was this, where they operated in various industries since its foundation, having first established as a pulp mill and later sold products like tyres and cabling, gas masks, footwear, televisions and chemicals. Eventually, they just settled with telecommunications especially cellphones, and later divested its cellphone business to Microsoft, who would then later throw in the towel in favour of HMD Global who now produces Nokia phones under license.
ACME in name
- A chain of Acme Supermarkets still exists in the northeastern USA. There's a chain of supermarkets in the Delaware Valley region called Acme, but they don't quite sell everything.
- Acme is the largest supplier of glass Klein bottles. If only Wile E. had had one of these, that stupid bird would be his in no time.
- The number one hit on Google for "Acme Labs" unfortunately doesn't count. Acme.com is owned by a software developer named Jef Poskanzer, and it mostly specializes in toy programs that amuse the site owner. A phase-of-the-moon app, some interesting Java graphics hacks, and a couple of different web server designs are long-standing marquee items; there is also a "chocolate registry" that lets you request chocolate from people, like a wedding registry. (And it has an anvil as a logo.)
Any Alphabetic Apex Alliteration
- Ace, Acme, A-1 all had the advantage of being generic enough to fit anything, were laudatory in tone and most likely to be alphabetically first.
- Google's holding company, Alphabet, would appear before its arch-rival Apple in any alphabetical listing. It'd also appear right before Amazon.
- AAmazing appeared briefly as a brand of desktop PC peripherals in the early 1990s. AAAnything to compete with the American Automobile Association for first spot on aaaany list.
- Funnily enough, in the Toronto phone book one can find companies named AA (whatevers), AAA, or (in extreme cases) AAAAAAAAA in an attempt to get ever higher on the listings. "Acme" would actually be relegated to the second or third page.
- This is the same in Brazil. You can find companies called 'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA A Dry Cleaner'.
- A blinds company in Cork once was known as 'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA blinds'. That's thirty seven uses of the letter a. They've since cut it down to just 'AAAA blinds'.
- Homestar Runner references this in the Strong Bad Email "your funeral", where Homestar reads from the phone book: "Aardvark Pizza. Abe Lincoln's Pizza Cabin. Acupuncture & Pizza."
- Conversely, Zenith had the same connotations of claiming to be "the high point" in some particular field of endeavour, but would almost invariably snag the last position on any alphabetical list. Not as desirable as being listed first, but still better than being buried three-quarters of the way into the body of the list. In fiction, it's sometimes tempting to name one company "Acme" and its direct rival "Zenith". In real life, there were at least two notable users of the Zenith naming:
- The Zenith Radio Company (Chicago, 1923). Had a few good ideas in its day (such as the original "space command" TV remote control) but was ultimately sold to LG/Goldstar (Korea) in Chapter 11 bankruptcy administration in 1999. The rubbish goes in before the name goes on.
- Subscribers to the original manual AT&T toll-free (freephone) services were often assigned numbers like "Zenith 1-2345". As there was no Q or Z on the telephone dial in the pre-SMS era, these could not be dialled as Telephone Exchange Names and had to be called through the live operator.