Jewish World Review Feb. 24, 2004 / 2 Adar, 5764

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

Hi! I'm Ted! Fly me!


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | This February, United Airlines launched its new discount carrier, hoping to out-compete rivals Jet Blue and AirTran, with services from Dulles in Washington DC to Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, and Las Vegas. This new offshoot is called "Ted." Uni and Ted. Get it?


John Tague, executive vice president for United's customer relations told AdAge magazine, that "United chose the name Ted to emphasize that the service is an essential, integrated part of the company."


Well, I don't know. I remember Uniroyal's Uni Roy and Al spots from the seventies. Couldn't Ted have just as easily been named Uni? Last year, you'll recall, the Nashville Network, after many trials and tribulations, re-emerged as Spike, the first network for men, allegedly, though I had not been aware that men really lacked a network of their own.


So is this a trend?


I know that companies often name themselves after their founders- Ford, Kellogg, Tupperware, Disney, Warner Brothers, etc. But those were named for their last names, not their first. Imagine, for a moment, that Ted Turner had called his network Ted Classic Movies. It kind of loses its panache doesn't it? And if Disneyland had been Waltland? Well, the undertones of fascism would have become rather explicit, don't you think?


But the bizarre thing is, with Ted Airlines, and Spike Channel - these aren't even real names. These are names plucked from the air, or from focus groups, or wordplay based on the parent company's original name.


Maybe this is a reaction to capitalism's dada overreaching company names of the past twenty years. Names like Unisys, Cisco, Verizon, e-Whatever, AlBenTechTor, Nexium, Viagra-- What do those names mean? Nothing.


On the other hand, frankly, does flying on a plane with a nickname emblazoned on its hull make you feel any safer? As you're forced to remove your shoes at the security checkpoint, does knowing that you are about to board, eventually, the chummiest airplane that ever lived make you feel any safer? Do you even believe, deep in your heart of hears, that the airplane is your friend? I sure don't. No matter what it calls itself. I recommend instead, Fearful Entrepreneurial Airline Reality. FEAR, for short. Truth in advertising?


Well, give me a discount and a speedthrough on the strip search, heck, you can call yourself anything you want as far as I'm concerned.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

02/12/04: It really is a Small World After All
02/04/04: PT, I hardly knew ye
01/29/04: Soylent green is cattle!
01/22/04: Shoales to PETA: Please SHUT UP!
12/23/03: McLattes
12/16/03: Pledge rock
12/10/03: Bad Cat
10/15/03: Subpoena as business model
10/09/03: Milk?
09/29/03: Rejected by a dating site
09/09/03: Dead, Live!
08/27/03: That Wacky Deutschland
08/12/03: Puffery
08/08/03: Love that (other) Bob!
08/04/03: Is the free market doomed?
07/08/03: Hill Williams at Bay
06/30/03: The Amazing Red Faced J-Lo
06/25/03: TCB, KFC
06/16/03: Because it's there
06/11/03: The Matrix regurgitated
06/05/03: Here, Spike
05/07/03: When Hippies Retire
04/09/03: Your mommy could have told you that silence is the stoic's path to personal salvation --- hey, but who would have listened?
04/01/03: Hedging the war
03/28/03: Space: The Penultimate Frontier
03/18/03: Hour of the Narc
03/07/03: Home entertainment tips for pinkos --- no joke!
02/28/03: When Anorexia is a good thing
02/21/03: Aussie invasion!
02/11/03: This museum of my dreams would be no accident
02/03/03: Hasn't 'reality TV' always been with us?
01/30/03: Get tougher?
01/21/03: Spinning through the 'newscycle'
01/16/03: "G" for verbal violence?
01/03/03: Farewell to novelty
12/23/02: Neo-frontiers
12/18/02: A nation of hypochondriacs?
12/11/02: Cursed
11/08/02: Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events
11/01/02: "Extreme" annoyance
10/24/02: Snipers are people, too!
10/16/02: Hockey Therapy
10/08/02: Cupid, the parasite
10/03/02: How to have fun in Africa
09/30/02: If you are employed, you're part of the problem
09/25/02: "Up and comers," go away!
09/18/02: Collectibilitized
09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/14/02: IN THIS CORNER SUSAN LUCCI AND STEPHANIE ZYMALIST!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/31/01: I COPY, THEREFORE I AM
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2003, Ian Shoales