Earlier this year I wrote about two new and unrelated brands that share a name: Nokia HERE (yes, all shouty like that) and PayPal Here. Now comes word, via Coin Branding of Toronto, that Radio-Canada, the government-owned, Francophone counterpart of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is jumping on the brandwagon with ICI, French for “here.”
“Ici, tout est possible.” Image via Coin blog.
The new name comes from the network’s longtime on-air identification: “Ici, Radio-Canada.” The network’s domain name, currently radio-canada.ca, will change in October to ici.ca.
The announcement “swiftly met widespread condemnation and mockery, especially from those angered over dropping the word Canada,” writes Ian Austen in the New York Times. He adds: “Some online critics, particularly on English-language Web sites, suggested that Quebec separatism was a factor in the new name.”
Coin Branding’s Andris Pone points out that ICI “cannot possibly be a good choice” because the network’s government funding stipulates that programming be “predominantly and distinctively Canadian” and that it be “in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community.” Not only does ICI flout these requirements, the name is also “totally unrelated to the abiding message of the network,” Pone writes.
William Chambers, Radio-Canada’s vice president of brand, communications, and corporate affairs, “said it was all a misunderstanding induced by the network’s ‘enthusiasm’ for its new identity,” according to the Times story. He said the network’s abstract logo – Chambers called it “the gem,” but most people, says the Times, call it “the pizza” – will not change.