Saturday, December 2, 2006

By any other name

Here's something that's been on my nerves for a while. For years, the Meadowbrook has underlooked the gorgeous American Ref-Fuel plant in Uniondale. Day and night, the bright gray exhaust billowing out of the plant has reminded us all of the wonderful day when everyone will burn their own refuse to keep warm.

But a few months ago, everything changed. Ref-Fuel was no more, replaced with a big Covanta sign. It used to be an axiom of marketing that if people don't know what your product is, you haven't sold it well. Now the rule is that you should take away names with any basis in reality and change them to invented words. Covanta is, of course, a company that turns refuse into fuel. Royal Mail used to deliver the mail in the UK. Now they're Cosignia.

When is it going to go the other direction? When will Covanta change its name to reflect its mission, and rebrand itself as Mr. Trashburn's? They could do the typical trick of inventing corporate mythology, too. Just explain that the company was actually founded by General J.P. Burntrash in 1867 but was now called Mr. Trashburn's.


Iain Turnbull said...

The "Consignia" name didn't last long - they went back to Royal Mail pretty quickly when they realised what a crap idea the re-branding was...

Dara said...

They should've gone with the runner up, "Terdfestia."