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#19473 - 02/17/01 09:26 AM Mangled English for Corporate Identity
Geoff Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 819
Loc: Portland,Oregon, USA
Am I the only one here who's tired of seeing corporations inventing stupid names for their companies? For example, there's a drug and sundry store chain here in the US that calls itself, "Rite-Aid." By all rights, it should be a religious supply store. Are those high-dollar advertising people really THAT stupid? The local telephone company used to call itself "US West Communications," a name that clearly suggested location and purpose. Now they've changed their name to "Qwest." What in Hell, or Oregon, or anywhere else, is that supposed to mean? To my feeble old mind, it only means that they can't spell, and have lost all corporate identity! Your comments, please!


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#19474 - 02/17/01 10:18 AM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
We're about to get the marketing dept's [depth] "all insulted", especially because they feel they have some deeper understanding of society that the "commoner" can't see, but IS looking at...

My ol'man [Olaf] was a little p'd [Pablo] when he heard the term xerox as a verb, and it meant nothing to him that it was the process of xerography [Xerox] that was being done, or the fact that because it became such a common word (I'm sure the marketing dept [depth] at Xerox was happy) he had a job for 20yrs.

Geoff, I believe you have touched on one of the faster ways in which language develops new words... not that I'm disappointed with that...

http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=wordplay&Number=13883

(I thought I would leave AEnigma attached.... "My Olaf was a little Pablo", and those "dept's" do have "depth")


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#19475 - 02/17/01 05:03 PM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Geoff, I think these names are invented so that the companies can stand out in the slew of companies that are doing exactly the same thing.

Take for example a shoe stores. There can be hundreds of shoe stores in every city, thousands in one state. If they all called themselves, say, Oregon Shoe Store ... a) how could you tell them apart? b) how dull would that be?

Everything has to do with attracting the client. Again, with shoes...say you have a store that sells specialized shoes for people who have foot problems. Customers would more likely go to a store called Tender tootsies than one called Shoes for Problem Feet.

The same applies to your Qwest example. Telecommunications companies want to appear high-tech and up-to-date. US West Communications makes the company appear dated. When wooing new clients everything from your company logo to your receptionist has to make a good first impression.

I agree that misspelled words are an annoyance however since kids see these words over and over and believe the spelling to be correct.



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#19476 - 02/17/01 05:41 PM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>I agree that misspelled words are an annoyance however since kids see these words over and over and believe the spelling to be correct.

Absolutely! How are we expected to write Toys R Us when there isn't a character for the backwards R! [back to reading about ASCII emoticon, although I'm pretty sure it isn't there ... mumble, mumble]


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#19477 - 02/17/01 09:05 PM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
Geoff Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 819
Loc: Portland,Oregon, USA
Absolutely! How are we expected to write Toys R Us when there isn't a character for the backwards R!

The only good thing about Toys R Us is that I can go into one of them and have at least 50% of their clerks get my name right. The downside is that they think I'm a giraffe.


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#19478 - 02/17/01 09:13 PM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
Geoff Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 819
Loc: Portland,Oregon, USA

The same applies to your Qwest example. Telecommunications companies want to appear high-tech and up-to-date. US West Communications makes the company appear dated. When wooing new clients everything from your company logo to your receptionist has to make a good first impression.

They do this by displaying illiteracy and obfuscation? I am not impressed in any positive way.


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#19479 - 02/18/01 10:10 AM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Dear Geoff the Giraffe,

I agree with you in principle but I must say I'm a sucker for cute coffee shop names: Witch's Brew and Java Jive are two local ones.

However, the trend toward "short-and-punchy-wins-the-race" I find annoying. Southern Bell Telephone is now BellSouth! Bank of Boston is now BankBoston! Go shout elsewhere, corporate types. I too, am not impressed.

Then there's the local convenience store chain called "E-Z Serve." I had some Brit friends visiting last year - they couldn't figure it out


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#19480 - 02/18/01 12:54 PM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
Geoff Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 819
Loc: Portland,Oregon, USA
Dear Geoff the Giraffe,

Dear AS,
From our previous exchanges, you know only too well how hard I'm trying to resist the urge to make a pun about sticking my neck out!

Southern Bell Telephone is now BellSouth! Bank of Boston is now BankBoston!

I also note that Bank of America has discontinued its BA logo, perhpas because it's also the acronym for "Bare A**," and have replaced it with a piece of plaid. At least the two examples you cite reflect some hint of their true identity. Bell is inexorably linked with telephones, and Bank Boston says what and where, even if it's obfuscate. Still, obfuscation in the name of corporate "cuteness" is moronic, in this curmudgeon's not very damned humble opinion!


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#19481 - 02/18/01 03:14 PM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
I hate to see perfectly good names shortened.
American Telephone and Telegraph was elegant but they have just legally changed to AT&T.
OTOH, I guess QANTAS is easier to paint on the tail of an aeroplane than the full mouthful!
By the way, all you Aussies, is it true that QANTAS will give you a small discount if you know what the letters stand for, or is it just another myth or wishful thought?
Iknow! I know! waving hand madly in air to catch teacher's attention)
wow


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#19482 - 02/18/01 05:49 PM Re: Mangled English for Corporate Identity
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
AnnaS, I agree with you about the coffee shop names. Boutique names that use puns to refer to what they sell I also think are cute. Whenever I go somewhere English I always love seeing those.

For some reason, this NEVER happens in French. We have very basic names with no word play at all.


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