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Short life for longest day

London, Nov. 6 (Reuters): Monday may feel like the longest day of the week, but as a brand it never even got out of bed.

Launched on June 9 — a Sunday — by global accounting leader PriceWaterhouseCoopers as the new label for its consulting business, “Monday” lasted 51 days before being unceremoniously ditched by new owner IBM.

So it was goodbye “Monday” and welcome back PwC Consulting, which at least gained in descriptive clarity what it lost in snappiness. And presumably, PwC did not have the time to spend all of the $110 million it pledged to the name change.

The case illustrates how sensitive a company can be to the brand image it generates. “Monday” was designed to evoke new awakenings and the concept of “smelling the coffee”.

“Sharpen your pencil, iron your crispy white shirts, set the alarm clock, relish the challenge, listen, be fulfilled, make an impact, take a risk,” as the advertising slogan ran.

PwC chief executive Greg Brenneman touted the brand as “a new identity on which to build our company’s future”, but it will mainly be remembered as the source of a fat profit for Wolff Olins, the consultant that advised on the rebranding.

“It was potentially not the luckiest choice,” Jan Lindemann, brand valuation expert at consultants Interbrand, told Reuters.

“Everyone has different connotations, you thought of ‘Happy Mondays’ and ‘I Don’t like Mondays’ (a band and a song, respectively). But with enough support behind it, maybe it could have worked. I guess we’ll never know,” Lindemann said.

At least the “Monday” brand got off the ground, however briefly. Some never make it that far.

Enron Corp., the Houston-based energy trader that collapsed in the autumn of 2001 amid a huge accounting scandal, narrowly avoided a start to life even more embarrassing than its end.

Originally, the company was to be called “Enteron”, loosely derived from the names of the InterNorth and Houston Natural Gas companies that merged to form it. But Enteron also means alimentary canal or intestines. Once management got wind of that, the name was dropped.

“Monday” is probably not even Britain’s all-time least popular brand. Postal operator Royal Mail Plc spent 17 months labouring under the name of “Consignia”, a made-up name criticised for meaning nothing to the public.

That rebranding exercise cost half a million pounds ($781,000) at a time when the company was chalking up billion-pound annual losses and was shedding thousands of jobs.

Also, Britain’s discredited rail network operator Railtrack, forced into administration by the UK government last year, is to rebrand itself Network Rail. If that doesn’t work, it could always consider “Tuesday”.

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