Limonana is a portmanteau of the Hebrew and Arabic words limon (Hebrew: לימון, Arabic: ليمون, meaning lemon) and nana (Hebrew: נענע, Arabic: نعناع, meaning mint), referring to its two main ingredients, freshly-squeezed lemon juice and mint leaves.
Limonana may have originated in Syria or Turkey. In Israel, the name came from an advertising campaign conducted in the early 1990s. At that time, public-bus advertising was in its infancy in Israel. The Fogel Levin advertising agency undertook a bus-only campaign to prove the effectiveness of this new medium. Fogel Levin advertised a soft drink called Limonana and printed its ads through the Galgalei Zahav (Wheels of Gold) company. The ads, describing the drink as a blend of lemon and mint, reported, "Rabinowitz drinks Limonana" and, "Ohana drinks Limonana", referring to celebrities of the time. The ad campaign created a buzz and consumers flocked to stores and kiosks to try the new flavor. Two weeks into the campaign, with consumers and stores clamoring for the product, the advertising agency admitted that no such drink existed. Spurred by customer demand, first restaurants and then soft drink manufacturers began to produce the flavor combination.
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