Xfinity Quasi Branding Part 2

Read part 1 here.

I really (really) wanted to avoid writing about the xfinity, excuse me, Comcast, rebranding effort. But they keep on shoving this effort in my face in television commercial after commercial. I compare it to marketing water torture or possibly bamboo shoots under the fingernails.

I still don’t get it. Ok. I do get it I just am unclear whether it was the right thing to do. And then I see how they are doing it … and … well … I get a little bit fuzzier on the smartness behind it. Having been in this “re-branding” situation too many times to count (I don’t have enough fingers and toes) I do know that inevitably you are coaching your client to either “rip the band aid off fast or pull it off slowly.”

I also know the absolute best example of a ‘rebranding’ is the Cingular to ATT rebranding. I admit. I thought when it was announced Cingular was going to shut down their brand and fold it into ATT, I pretty much thought it was the stupidest idea I had ever heard. Killing one of the strongest 16-34 demo brands and folding it into a dinosaur brand like ATT seemed … well … nuts. I knew the underlying hope behind it (resurrect ATT with Cingular attributes) but I just wasn’t sure it could be done. And maybe more importantly I didn’t believe anyone would be patient enough (and have enough money) to do it well.

Boy. Was I wrong? (yes)

Now. Let me begin by saying I cannot even fathom the sheer amount of dineros spent on the entire transition. The choreography behind the transition was beautifully crafted and implemented perfectly. It seemed on a quarterly basis they completely shifted entire campaigns (and I mean ENTIRE … in store displays, ads, brochures, whatever) easing us from Cingular to ATT. The transition was so seamless that even with the initial WTF shock, if you didn’t pay attention to the nuances you almost didn’t notice that Cingular was slowly disappearing and you were accepting ATT as Cingular (and subconsciously what ATT was bringing was this sense that “wow, Cingular has grown up into an adult like ATT.”). Awesome. Impeccably created and implemented.

Oh yeah. Having been behind a variety of massive marketing campaigns, I know there were a lot of teeth gnashing and angst over some details that seemed to slip through the cracks but the net result of the campaign is that today I am not sure 1 in 10 people will recall Cingular.

All this brings me back to xfinity, which is not displaying xcellent marketing sense at the moment. While everything Cingular/ATT did was explained and simple, xfinity is flashy and draws a “huh?”

I am hoping they may show us how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together at some point down the road (and I truly hope they do because cable companies don’t really need another black eye for an industry already getting battered in the ring). But. Once again. While I didn’t get WHY Cingular/ATT was doing what they were doing when they announced it I knew exactly WHAT they were doing every time I saw or heard any communications they had from day one.

Xfinity is doing xactly the opposite.

And I find it xtremely disturbing.

Ok. Xtremely aggravating.

xoxo. (gossip girl reference).

Written by Bruce