New brand, same old stuff

By: Tom Rupp
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A long time ago we used to call it advertising. Remember when cigarettes ads aired on TV and radio? A big issue today is ads on our YouTube videos and other internet channels. Advertisements help keep this paper, and multitudes of other media outlets, going.

Then the buzzword concept became “marketing.” About 30 years ago, marketing was all the rage. Churches even got in on the bandwagon in an attempt to get more people to come through its doors.

Lately the new buzzword is “branding,” which basically is still advertising and marketing, called by a new name. Even individuals now have a brand, according to this new temporary philosophy. A new fad waits somewhere down the road.

A while back the organization named Campus Crusade for Christ seemed to decide that the name held them back from effectiveness, or something. In the spirit of the age they changed their name to “Cru.” It’s cool, it’s hip and it doesn’t change a thing about them.

But hey, that’s the way the mentality works. American Protestant churches even got in on the action throughout the past 20 years or so, changing their staid, traditional names to one-word experiences such as “Destiny,” Relevant,” “Excite” and so on.

The story goes that Snake Hill Baptist Church wanted to change their name because of what they perceived to be negative connotations. But Baptists, being reluctant to change, could only go far as to rename it Reptile Heights. It sounded uptown.

A name change is just that and pretty much nothing else. I have heard of two big businesses changing their names recently.

Weight Watchers, for whatever unknown reason paid some group a lot of money to rename (excuse me, rebrand) themselves as “WW,” as if people are so busy or distracted that they cannot even be bothered to pronounce the other 12 letters. Their name lost weight.

And now it comes out that Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t want to mention the donuts anymore, even though they are a donut shop. Just call them “Dunkin’.” They now identify as Dunkin, and would appreciate it if you don’t use that other D word anymore.

I don’t know a whole lot about pretty much everything (and neither do you), but I do know this – if I make too many trips to Dunkin’ Donuts, I will have to join Weight Watchers. Maybe Rave Church hosts meetings.

Tom Rupp is a resident of Folsom and a weekly columnist in the Folsom Telegraph. You can reach him at