Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, January 31, 2021

words and pictures
I’m going to use this week’s Media Monday to wash the disagreeable presence of Elektra out of the collective consciousness. Jennifer Garner is a talented actress (and a hottie), but really, the movie is a waste of celluloid.

So I present the Word & Pictures Museum’s virtual exhibition of Elektra: Assassin. Even though it covers just the first issue/chapter of the entire book, it’s enough of a taste to show that you’re better off spending your time and money on this, instead of a movie ticket.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/31/2005 09:38pm
Category: Media Mondays
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With the announcement of former Baby Bell SBC’s merger aquisition of AT&T, Dow Jones reports that the combined company might ultimately adopt the older AT&T name:

Given the cost efficiencies, it would be desirable to fuse these into one brand at some point or two brands maybe,” Alan Siegel, chairman of branding consultancy Siegel & Gale, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc.

“You use the best name … and you don’t get involved in ego,” he said. AT&T is “an iconic name. It’s got an amazing heritage to it. It’s got tremendous strength.”

While SBC has a name that’s strong in the markets it serves, it isn’t well- known in the rest of the country, let alone in foreign markets. “It just cannot compete with the century-plus strength of the AT&T brand,” says Rob Rich, an analyst at research firm Yankee Group.

The notion of the acquirer donning the acquired company’s identity isn’t as unusual as it might seem:

It wouldn’t be the first time an acquirer took a target’s name. When America Online bought Time Warner Inc. in 2001, it became AOL Time Warner, until it dropped the tarnished AOL part in September 2003. Chase’s 2004 acquisition of J.P. Morgan gave the tony investment bank top billing in the renamed JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Here are a couple more such examples, just from my memory (and past blogging):

- WorldCom morphing into MCI and moving its headquarters to MCI’s digs, albeit well after buying it

- NationsBank taking on Bank of America‘s name

- First Union taking on Wachovia‘s name

I know in more than a few such instances, taking the plunder’s name is a rather cynical maneuver: The buyer had done such a rotten job with customer service and other areas that their brand equity was practically beyond repair. So the quick fix is to re-boot under a brand that’s suddenly newly-owned, and has an established track record. I know this was the case with the First Union-Wachovia deal.

The notion of wayward corporate children eating their former parent companies, then assuming their brand identities, seems somehow perverse. But it keeps things interesting.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/31/2005 09:04pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business
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There’s a blood drive at the office this Tuesday. As usual, they’re offering little freebies as enticements to donate: A t-shirt, various coupons, etc.

There’s a twist this time around: Your pint of red enters you into a drawing for a $500 gift card from Home Depot.

Is that a big enough incentive to make someone roll up their sleeve, especially if they never usually give blood? Five bills worth of plywood, fixtures and the like is nothing to sneeze at. I have a feeling all those “I can’t stand needles” excuses will fly out the window.

If so, it’ll be a marketing jackpot for the blood bank, which traditionally has problems getting donors.

I like Home Depot, even though I don’t have much use for 90 percent of their offerings (since I rent, not own). I was planning on giving anyway; I’ll cross my fingers on winning the big prize. Maybe I’ll give it away, like I’ve done with past blood-giving swag.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/31/2005 07:49pm
Category: General
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It sounds like the first draft of a Dead Kennedys song. But no, Club Med is planning to build a tourist resort in, of all places, former Communist isolationalist stronghold Albania.

It’ll be amusing to see Albania being pitched as a prime holiday destination to the Euro-tourist market. I suppose a beach is a beach…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/31/2005 07:11pm
Category: Business, Society
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I’m sure some people’s idea of Hell on earth is being sans telephone access, even for too many consecutive minutes.

Those people would probably have shot themselves had they spent any time in Mink, Louisiana, which just today got landline phone service hooked up, one of the last rural areas in the U.S. to have gone without.

It seems like a quaintly outdated development: In an age where wireless phones and VoIP/Internet phone service are making traditional phone lines superfluous, this little corner of Louisiana is finally joining the 20th (or 19th?) Century. Geography made the new-tech phone methods just as cost-ineffective as old-style phones, but still. I’m betting this newly-installed phone network will be abandoned inside of 20 years.

Super-obvious joke, incoming:

“We started in early 1970 trying to get a phone,” [resident Alma Louise] Bolton said. “We’d talk to the phone company but they’d never call back.

How are they going to call you back if you don’t have a phone? Could it be that Mink never got phone service for all these years because of missed callbacks?

Anyway, there is a downside to getting the hook-up:

“It wasn’t 15 minutes after that phone was in before a telemarketer called me,” [resident Elaine] Edwards said. “But that wasn’t really a problem. I just told him I wasn’t interested and hung up.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/31/2005 06:47pm
Category: Tech
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