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The Meta Formerly Known as Facebook. Rebranding in business, culture and, well, this very radio show

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Jeremiah Owyang
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Philip Morris became Altria. Apple Computer became Apple. Radio Shack became The Shack (and then went bankrupt). The New Britain Rock Cats moved to Hartford and became the Yard Goats. Tribune Publishing Co. became Tronc (and then became the Tribune Publishing Co. again). Dunkin’ Donuts became Dunkin’. The Washington Redskins became the Washington Football Team. Last month, Facebook became Meta. And next year, the Cleveland Indians will become the Cleveland Guardians and the Washington Football Team will become… something else.

And that’s all just this century, and it’s all just companies and sports teams.

Let’s not forget Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Puffy or Snoop Doggy Dogg/Snoop Lion/Snoop Dogg or John Mellencamp/Johnny Cougar/John Cougar Mellencamp. Or His Royal Badness, The Artist Formerly Known as an Unpronounceable and Untypable Symbol. Or, just, David Bowie. Or, just, Madonna.

Sometimes a logo gets old or an identity gets stale or a color scheme gets out of date. Sometimes a company or a sports team needs to put its past behind it. Sometimes people go to a doughnut shop mostly for coffee. Sometimes a computer company mostly sells iPods and iPhones and iPads.

Sometimes rebranding is the only solution. Or a terrible mistake. Or even just an interesting challenge.

This hour: rebranding, from Google to Kanye to, yes, The Colin McEnroe Show.

GUESTS:

  • Patrick Dugan - Creative director and chief copywriter at Adams and Knight
  • Irene Papoulis - Teaches writing at Trinity College
  • Mike Pesca - Host of the independent podcast The Gist
  • Garett Sloane - Technology, digital, and media reporter for Ad Age
  • Brendan Jay Sullivan - A writer, producer, DJ, and food history TikTokker

Join the conversation on Facebook (or whatever it’s called) and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe, Eugene Amatruda, Cat Pastor, and Dylan Reyes contributed to this show.

Jonathan started at WNPR in 2010. He is as likely to produce a show on America’s jury system as he is a story on all the grossest parts of the human body. He's as likely to host a podcast on minor league baseball as he is to cover a presidential debate almost by accident. His work has been heard nationally on NPR and locally on WNPR’s talk shows and news magazines.
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