Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, March 12, 2021

Unless there’s an unusually high concentration of “Diff’rent Strokes” fans in Chicago, I’m thinking that the plan to rename the landmark Sears Tower to “Willis Tower” is going to unleash a big ball of hatin’ in the Windy City.

Nevermind that the building’s naming-rights holder, insurance agency Willis Group Holdings, is backing up its branding play by moving a bunch of its offices into the Tower. Or that Sears vacated the joint six years ago.

I find it interesting that one corporate tag is more cherished than another. I think that’s mostly due to sheer longevity: Sears’ name has been attached to the hemisphere’s tallest structure for nearly 40 years, so any change would be reviled, regardless of quality issues. This does prove out the effectiveness of grabbing the naming rights of major construction projects (chiefly sports arenas and other mass-market magnets) before they go up: Mindshare-wise, people form an instant attachment to the “birthname”. In fact, the association with the sponsoring brand tends to blur — I know that, for instance, Buffalo’s former Rich Stadium, the granddaddy of named-rights stadia, rarely ever conjured up the food-processing company that it was supposed to be promoting.

In any case, maybe Willis Group should hire Todd Bridges for the presumed renaming ribbon-cutting ceremony…

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/12/2021 12:27:08 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Pop Culture, SportsBiz, TV
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