Monday, February 21, 2011

Gauging the impact of "The"

Jeff Lapatine, our friend and former colleague at Siegel+Gale, muses on the value of the word "The" in names.

Jeff's excellent blog-post is on the S+G site here: http://www.siegelgale.com/blog/what-the/


Jeff points out that "the" sometimes enhances and ennobles a name – as in "The Hartford" or "The Lone Ranger" – and other times clutters up a name – as in "The Facebook" or "The Superman" – which was the Man of Steel's original title.

When I started at Chase Manhattan, the old-timers called it "The Chase..." and similarly at Aetna in the 1990s the old-timers called it "The Aetna." Over time these institutions dropped the "The" and became just "Chase" and "Aetna" to bow to modernity and to proclaim their iconic stature.

"The" is a small, inconsequential word – but as Jeff explains, its inclusion in a name is a big, significant decision.

The Brandsinger

18 comments:

Thomas said...

The inclusion of the word "The" in this reference makes my technical mind compare the difference between "Apollo" and "The Apollo" as in "space exploration" and "musical hall." A simple pronoun (unless I'm mistaken) can make a world of difference.

brandsinger said...

Nicely put, Thomas. Great example.
You are the man.

Synthesiologist said...

Very good food culture

Alan Brew said...

The importance of the definite article is interesting. Without it a subject would have a general meaning, while the same word has a specific and identifiable meaning adding the article. Hence, “Donald” could be a duck, but “The Donald” is a distinctive hairstyle.
On the other hand, both “Queen” and the “The Queen” are uniquely specific.
The King’s Speech, the name of the movie that will probably sweep the Oscars (no article) this weekend, makes it clear that it is about a monarch, The King (King George VI), his speech problem, and the particular speech he was coached to deliver. Clever title.
And, if one is giving The Rolling Stones their full name, we should not forget The Beatles and The Who.

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brandsinger said...

Thanks, Alan. You have shared the truth.

-The Brandsinger

Anonymous said...

Or "The Pendleton Round-up," to distinguish it from mere generic round-ups. Puts a real hat on it.

brandsinger said...

Yes, and just plain "Madonna" distinguishes her from, ahem, THE Madonna.

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