Hey, amigos, this isn’t going to work

As I just mentioned in the previous piece, those expansive Spaniards at Banco Santander are well on the way now to dropping the Abbey brand and replacing it with their own.

Part of the plan, unsurprisingly, involves building consumer awareness of the Santander name, so that there’s as little consumer mystification as possible on S-day when the Abbey logos are all replaced.  Quite right and proper.

The bit that isn’t going to work, though – despite the valiant efforts of the TV commercial voice-overs – is persuading us to pronounce their name “SantandAIRE”, with the emphasis on the last syllable.  Trust me, compadres, we’re going to call it “SantANDer”, with the emphasis on the middle syllable and an “…ur”, not an “…aire”, at the end.

I don’t say this just for the pleasure at sniping at the Spanish, although I must admit that travelling a lot through Spanish-owned BAA airports this summer has rather brought out the Espanophobe in me:  BAA is now by a million airmiles the worst, most loathsome, despicably cynical, customer-hating business operating anywhere in the UK, and in saying that I include both Ryanair and Thames Water.

My point is that like many things in branding, advertising and marketing, naming can only be done with the consent – sometimes active, sometimes passive – of the consumer.  Santander can try as hard as they like to programme “Santandaire” into our heads.  I’ll happily bet you a delicious dinner for two at any Ferrovial-owned BAA airport that three years from now they’ll still be “SantANDer.”

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