Stuffed to the brim full of turkey and my personal favourite - pigs-in-blankets - and slumped in front of the festive telly, I saw this ad to announce that Norwich Union is changing it's name...
I thought, that's nicely put together and well thought through - a name change ad that has a bit of intelligence and uses examples we can relate to, to give us a reference point. Yes, these celebrities changed their names to help them along, so why not a company?
It all seemed to make sense, and I'm sure it wasn't just the warm glow of the yule making me feel all docile and agreeable, because as the ad concluded I was jerked out of my Christmas haze by the actual name they were changing to.
Now, I know the name Aviva has been around for a while, but here we are talking about changing a household name, a recognised name, to another one of those made up company names.
I've heard of Norwich. It's a place. I've heard of Norwich Union, they feel like they've been around for longer than I have.
Aviva is confusing, and meaningless on a massive scale. My only guess is that they employed Vic Reeves as brand consultant, and he came up with the name inspired by his Shooting Stars catchphrases Uvavu and Eranu - (you can listen to them here and here).
You can read a bit more about it in this report from The Times.
In that Times article, Norwich Union/Uvavu say “We have 27 markets around the world and thought: Wouldn't it be good and sensible to have the same name around the world.”
Well, why indeed? It seems like one of those unquestioned rules of modern business, that companies and brands should always rationalise their name across the world.
But why? Sure, it might be right for some, but it doesn't make sense for everyone. Are companies just doing it for their own corporate ego? And why the desire to name them with meaningless names that have no human reference. It feels like businesses don't feel like they should fit snugly with the consumer anymore, they are taking business-speak into the real world and forcing upon their customers.
I can't help but think that as business becomes bigger, more centralised and less human, in the long run it will have a negative effect on their relationship with their customers - no matter how much they spend on nice adverts.
PS for the purposes of illustration, I found this picture of aviva...