corporate portmanteaus
Posted: 21 May 2007 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]
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When and why did corporate portmanteau names like PriceWaterhouseCoopers and HarperCollinsPublishers (their italics) start? My guess is hip branding companies.

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Posted: 21 May 2007 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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venomousbede - 21 May 2007 06:58 AM

When and why did corporate portmanteau names like PriceWaterhouseCoopers and HarperCollinsPublishers (their italics) start? My guess is hip branding companies.

HarperCollins doesn’t do that with “Publishing” on their website. 

It’s clever marketing collateral.  Many of these companies started out as partnerships but due to time, splits, mergers, and aquisitions, they have become more about the name recognition than the original partnerships.

When I started working in tax software, there were the Big Ten accounting firms.  Then it was the Big Eight, then the Big Six and now the Big Five accounting firms, but they’re all pretty much still the same companies just combined and mutated.  Before the July 1998 merger when they became PricewaterhouseCoopers (lowercase w), it was “Price Waterhouse” (space and capital W) and “Coopers & Lybrand”.  Mr. Waterhouse got lowercased and Mr. Lybrand got kicked to the curb.

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Posted: 21 May 2007 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I was actually working for PW when they became PwC.  There was much speculation on what the corporate name would be (though not as much speculation as on whether we would keep our jobs); as I recall they paid a million dollars or thereabouts to some branding company that came up with that ridiculous unwieldy moniker.  We all had a good laugh (especially once we realized we were keeping our jobs).

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Posted: 21 May 2007 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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On the copyright page of my 1996 British Flamingo paperback edition of Martin Amis’s The Information it is HarperCollinsPublishers, for sure.
Lowercase ‘w’ in PricewaterhouseCoopers is right, Myridon, thanks.

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Posted: 21 May 2007 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Now I think about it, Standard & Poor doesn’t exactly sing its own praises. Or Moody’s, come to that, lol.
I was wondering which was the first company to go this nomenclatural route?

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Posted: 21 May 2007 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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venomousbede - 21 May 2007 09:58 AM

On the copyright page of my 1996 British Flamingo paperback edition of Martin Amis’s The Information it is HarperCollinsPublishers, for sure.
Lowercase ‘w’ in PricewaterhouseCoopers is right, Myridon, thanks.

Sometimes we need to establish a reference place and time to have a sensible discussion (^_^).  Up to 1990, HarperCollins was “Harper & Row” and “William Collins & Sons”.  The US Trademark database shows a trademark for “HarperCollins” filed in 1990, but no “HarperCollinsPublishers” (or even with a space) but you’re looking at a HarperCollins Publishers UK book so they may not have used that mark in the US.
But now we’ve established HarperCollins-no-space in 1990 predates PricewaterhouseCoopers-no-space.

Oh, and I keep forgetting we’re down to the Big Four now since Arthur Anderson got caught up in Enron.

I still pronounce KPMG as Peat Marwick.  Some of the accountants used to call it Peat Marwick Mitchell & Main as they couldn’t remember which M it was that got kept through the mergers (it’s Marwick).

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Posted: 21 May 2007 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ll try and do better cites in future and be more specific :)
I meant the first ever corporate portmanteau in my last post.

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