Naming In The News

Brand Spanking

Experts Scold the CW Logo

People Hollywood Daily
August 23, 2006

Ever since the unveiling of the CW logo, critics have been croaking louder than Michigan J. Frog. "Why enter the market with a three-legged horse?" asks William Lozito, president of Strategic Name Development, who contends that viewers won't get the CBS + Warner Bros. origin of the name and therefore won't know what programming to expect. Rob Frankel, an L.A.-based branding consultant, agrees: "For the first year, people will think it's the country-western channel."

Point taken, says the CW's Executive VP of Marketing and Brand Strategy, Rick Haskins. "I wasn't here when they came up with the name, and I'll be honest: I wanted to change it," he admits. Even so, Haskins is comfortable with the network's recognition factor. "There's a 48 percent awareness of the CW among our target audience of 18- to 34-year olds," he says. "I think people know what we are." His ultimate goal? For the CW to simply signify great TV. "How many people really know what ESPN or VH1 stands for?" he asks. "The brand itself transcended the name."

As for the color of the network's logo — which The Washington Post called "a mélange of baby-puke green and Jolly Rancher apple green" — that may work in the CW's favor. "It's an off-color choice for TV and should act as a strong differentiator," says Jeff Swystun, global director of Interbrand. Of course, the logo aesthetics are just part of the equation. "The brand won't be the saving grace of the [network]," says Swystun. "It really will come down to innovative, entertaining programming."