Brand Naming Humans Proves Promotional


The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto called it “a marketing stunt that takes branding to a new extreme.” What’s the news? Humans have now been branded.

Four Canadian citizens legally changed their surname from “Dunlop” to “Dunlop-Tire.” Each wacky Mr. or Ms. Dunlop-Tire pocketed $6,250 – their share of the $25,000 in prize money offered by Goodyear Canada Inc., which markets the Dunlop tire brand in Canada.

For the company, this brash stunt generated more publicity than half a dozen ad campaigns, and cost a relative pittance. When the company announced the contest, the story was picked up by international media and became part of a bit on Conan O’Brien’s late night TV show.

Sure, marketers have slapped their names on everything from coffee mugs to sports stadiums. But human beings?

Jason Dunlop-Tire of Winnipeg doesn’t seem to mind being a walking advertisement. Do people laugh at his name? “I don’t care,” replies the 24-year-old. “I have the money and they don’t.”

Traci Dunlop-Tire, who lives in Calgary, said changing her name wasn’t a big deal. As a Dunlop, she was already, shall we say, tired of tire jokes. “I did it for the money,” she said, “but for the amount of laughter I’ve gotten, it’s been well worth it.”

Goodyear has plans to get maximum mileage from its four new members of the family. The company has the right to feature them in advertising and other promotions. Even so, the new big wheels are free to change their name back to plain old Dunlop at any time, with no penalty.

We sense a dangerous trend here. Is the world ready for Suzie Starbucks-Coffee? Kenneth Kraft-Macaroni? Michael Dell-Computer?

Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop

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