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December 5, 2005

Town Names for Sale: Is This a Naming Trend?

It looks as though the town of Santa, Idaho has cut a better deal for changing its name to than Clark, Texas did for changing its name to .

believes the SecretSanta.comians got their money's worth.

SantaClaus1.jpgFirst of all, Santa, Idaho, has only agreed to the name change for one year. Smart.

In addition to receiving $20,000 from the website operator, there is a possibility that this name change will become the subject of a documentary tentatively called Santa's Little Secret. If a documentary is made, the residents of Santa, Idaho, will share the profits of the documentary 50/50.

There is another town, this time in China, that is contemplating a name change. No, it is not , China, named after an indigenous auto brand.

Panda1.jpgChengdu, China, a city over 2,400 years old, is considering a name change for financial considerations of a different sort. The city's fathers believe that if they changed the name to Panda City, it would enhance the city's image and contribute to increased tourism.

What is the world coming to? Advertising is everywhere; the only place I haven't seen advertising today is on a toilet seat liner.

Would you agree?

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Posted by William Lozito at December 5, 2005 8:04 AM
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At what point does a publicity stunt like this "jump the shark"? (A term that may have jumped its own shark by now, I realize.)

I've linked to this on my own blog to try and get people to comment on it as well. I'm just wondering how much more ridiculous this community re-naming trend is going to get.

Thanks, Bill. Have a great new year.


Mike Bawden
Brand Central Station

The way I see it, this may move from the realm of the publicity stunt and into just marketing. What's to stop communities from doing this even after newspapers and blogs stop pointing it out?

New York's Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan about a year ago to have companies bid to be sponsors of the city: New York's official beverage, etc.

In my opinion, that's just a step or two past selling naming rights to arenas, which I personally find irritating enough. When they started building the replacement for the Boston Garden, we were told that Shawmut Bank was sponsoring it, so it would be called the Shawmut Centre. Shawmut got bought out by Fleet, so it was renamed the Fleet Centre before it even opened. Fleet got bought out by Bank of America, but they didn't rename it -- maybe the contract on the name had run out. So now it's the TD Banknorth Garden, and who knows what it will be called in ten years.

These structures are important to the people of a city. I'm not a sports fan, but the Boston Garden was part of the city, like the Boston Common, or the North End. The TD Banknorth Garden may as well be a shopping mall.

People who care about sports often think of arenas as shrines to the history of their respective teams. I have a hard time imagining a few generations of a family getting together to talk about all the thrilling memories they share of the Planters Honey Roasted Mixed Nuts Memorial Field.

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