Xfinity Isn’t Awesome for Comcast Rebrand

A few years ago Comcast, one of world’s largest cable companies, rebranded some of its products to Xfinity and were ridiculed on many marketing blogs for the disaster it created. In 2010, Time Magazine actually ranked it #1 in its list of the worst corporate name changes.

Why was it a disaster? The X-name was considered a fiasco because it didn’t stand for anything. Strategically, no one knew what the rebrand was about. Bloggers indicated it was the classic case of trying to fix Comcast’s ailing reputation for bad customer service without changing the product or service and convincing themselves that a rebrand could distance them from brand negativity. According to Comcast’s marketing executives, the new brand would stand for “ever improving products”.

Two years later Comcast management admitted that the rebrand was less than successful in communicating that the Xfinity brand was the umbrella for new TV, phone and internet services.

Since the rebrand launch the company has spent well over $640 million in advertising to try to explain the brand to its customers. Has it been worth it? Yes and no, if that’s an answer. Branding expert’s opinions are still mixed. Many think that eventually the Xfinity brand will replace Comcast altogether. Some think that it will work given all the advertising support, but it shouldn’t have taken this long to get traction. If you ask customers about their internet service many still refer to Comcast and not Xfinity. The X-name is just too difficult to remember.

The cable industry’s subscriptions are slowing down and online portals are posing some competitive threats. Cable companies who bundle services are generally not beloved by consumers. It’s a love/hate relationship. Consumers need them but service and pricing are always going to be an issue. As the dollar shrinks in this tight economy many are rethinking their bundled services and trying to save money. It’s vitally important for cable companies to woo the customer and not lose them.

Good creative for Xfinity will help in selling the bundled concept of “easy” and the latest campaigns are starting to work, according to ad executives. While the tagline, “The Future of Awesome”, is appealing to some, it doesn’t help. For me, it’s a clever way to be relevant to some target audiences but I’m not enamored anymore with the hyperbole of “awesome”. It is overworked to the point that I’m not sure it is worthy of a tagline. But, maybe in the right circles it will “connect”. Maybe another $640 million will help generate more brand awareness. I still maintain that if you can’t spell a name or say it, you won’t remember or understand it. As for the tagline, which is generally used to give more brand clarity, “The Future of Awesome” just doesn’t compute.

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