Grit your teeth for concerts at the Comfort Dental Amphitheater

Posted on Wed Feb 3 2010

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So much attention has been fixed on the recent mega-merger of concert promoter Live Nation and ticket behemoth Ticketmaster—creating one massive "convenience fee"-charging entity—that this little gem almost went unnoticed. Fiddler's Green Amphitheater in the Denver area will be renamed the Comfort Dental Amphitheater in a deal between the Colorado-based marketer and Live Nation. The 18,000-seat amphitheater, the largest outdoor venue in the state, has Chicago, the Doobie Brothers and Tim McGraw scheduled to perform this summer. But no matter the quality of the entertainment, I defy you, any of you, to set foot in that newly named place without thinking about the root canals in your future and how many cleanings you've skipped lately. Comfort Dental, with 1.5 million patients in five states, will have its name grace the stadium for three years, and its execs said something about the "positive feeling" from listening to music carrying over to the brand on your "next dental visit." Naming rights are tricky—just ask any failed financial institution or bankrupt marketer—but selling this one to the public has to be like pulling teeth. Note to self: Must floss.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Insurer set to piss off 3 million people by renaming Sears Tower

Posted on Thu Mar 12 2009

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There's always backlash when an arena, ballpark or some other well-known building gets slapped with a new corporate identity. But Chicagoans are likely to set a new bar for bitchiness now that the city's greatest landmark, the Sears Tower, is being renamed the Willis Tower in honor of a big new tenant.
  Sears commissioned the building in 1970, sold it in the 1990s but kept the naming rights. Those rights expired in 2003 but weren't sold to anyone else. Now, insurance company Willis Group Holdings is swooping in. It's preparing to consolidate five local offices (almost 500 employees) into the 110-story building, and grabbing naming rights, too. "Having our name associated with Chicago's most iconic structure underscores our commitment to this great city, and recognizes Chicago's importance as a major financial hub and international business center," Willis chairman and CEO Joseph J. Plumeri says in a release.
  What Plumeri forgets is that few people outside his business have known or cared about Willis Group Holdings. Now, everyone will hate them. Plumeri may be hoping that whatever storm erupts over the Willis name will die down eventually. To help his cause, he should probably also rethink the idea of painting the building silver.

—Posted by Tim Nudd


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