In advertising, as we all know, sex sells. But CEX pays.
Berkeley BART station, Jan. 26, 2011.
CEX—or CeX, as it’s spelled elsewhere—opened about six months ago in Berkeley, and this was the first I’d heard of it. But the parent company is almost 20 years old: It was founded in the UK in 1992 and spread to Spain in 2002; the first US store opened in 2007. According to the website, CeX stands for “complete entertainment exchange.” The original name was “Tottenham Court Road Computer Exchange,” which was pretty obviously not better than CeX.
According to one Yelp review of the Berkeley store—which is located a couple of blocks from the UC Berkeley campus—the sex/CeX homophony is not unintended. They call it that, wrote the reviewer, “because once you have CEX you come back for more!”
I’m willing to bet that logo’s spermlike design is no coincidence, either.
Amazingly, the About Us section of the US site is a duplicate of the UK original, which features the most flavorful, least corporate-sounding corporate copywriting I’ve seen in a long time. A sample:
Just think, if CeX were a kid, we'd almost be old enough to start college. Except we’re CeX, so we’d probably be skulking around the back of the bike sheds instead, playing Jet Set Willy on our hacked iPhones and re-enacting Bully for real. “But Sir, it’s only a game!”. And then having to write 1000 lines in detention: “I am not Jesus nor am I a Cylon”.
But honestly, folks, it’s been a blast. We’ve got the greatest job in the world and we’d like to thank each and every one of our custies for making it possible for us to spend all day surrounded by the stuff we love. Cheers, all. And hold on tight – we’ve plenty of neat-o ideas for the future and hope you enjoy the ride.
“Skulking,” “custies,” “neat-o”: Now, that’s a voice that resonates. The page is signed by founder Robert Dudani, and I don’t doubt for a minute that he talks exactly like that.
About the domain: CeX owns cex.co.uk and webuy.com. The owner of CEX.com appears to be waiting for an offer he can’t refuse.