Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Corporate Re-Branding Fail: Flat White, home

In the news: Radio Shack rebrands as The Shack. Just be careful when you visit The Shack, that place doesn't look like it's weatherproof. I'm pretty sure Tandy, Radio Shack's affiliate in Australia, no longer exists, but it's probably for the best because they might be changing their name to The Tan right now. But how appropriate for an Australian affiliate of a chain who, though indirectly and minutely, is helping deplete the ozone layer. Now we can all bask in their glow and experience...
...The Tan.

I hate when big companies do this. Captain Snooze (a furniture/bedding chain in Australia) changed their name to Snooze last year. Not only did they instantly lose their ability to pull rank over other snoozers, but they also lost the one thing they had going for them:
Rod Quantock.
His portrayal of the Captain himself put a pajamaed human face on what was otherwise just another place to buy a bed.
And Snooze, sans-Captain, is just a terrible name for a business. Not only does it make you want to yawn, but it reminds you of the snooze button and those extra nine minutes of sleep you gave yourself this morning that didn't refresh you at all, but did get you to the tram stop about 20 seconds too late and you had to catch the next one, which was full and you had to stand right next to some dude's armpit, and you had to run to get to that meeting, and you didn't have time to get a cup of coffee on the way there and you couldn't even think straight much less contribute anything meaningful, and your contract's up for renewal next week and you were kicking yourself for the rest of the day ALL BECAUSE OF THE SNOOZE.

But corporate re-branding can, and does, get sneakier than this. I bought a jacket a few months ago from a shop I'd never seen before in Melbourne Central called RDX. It looked good on the mannequin. It was a duffel coat with a hood. It was almost exactly the jacket I pictured in my mind. It wasn't until I saw the business cards at the counter that I realised the RD in RDX stands for Roger David. Burn. It was only the hood and the duffels that kept me from running screaming from the store. I got off easily though: I know another guy who didn't realise what was going on until after he paid, when they handed him a Roger David bag. That brand is terrible shape if the only way they can get people in the door now is by not saying who they are.

But a positive has come out of my RDX experience. Every time I see somebody wearing the same jacket in public, we look at each other, nod, and we know the whole story.

Yeah. I know where you got that jacket. I know you had no idea. I know you had to sum up whether the jacket's radness outweighed its kind of embarrassing origins. I know you made the same choice as me. I know you still bought the jacket, but refused to be upsold anything else on principle. I know you thought nobody would know where you got it. Now you know, and I know that you know, that we were both wrong about that. Your secret is safe with me.


  1. ever considered writing a book? This stuff is tops. I'd definitely buy it

  2. growing up, captain snoooze on the television was my friend. But the shop is so expensive! I walked in there to buy a visco elastic bed last year, said "my limit is $2000". They said, "sorry we can't help you" and made me leave the store, because clearly I wasn't good enough for them. H8 them.

  3. Were they always expensive? Or has that just come with the new bland logo and non-silly advertising? He was my friend too :-(

    Thanks michelle and Grendel! But I'm happy sticking with the non-profit tag for now. Plus, writing one coffee at a time is a lot easier to manage than a whole bookful at once.