Monday, April 27, 2009

Redundant Redundancy

No, not the type that so many employees are facing in the current recession - what I'm talking about today is redundant words in company names.

We live in an impatient age, and companies pander to this by shrinking their names. The model for this is of course International Business Machines, who shortened their long name to IBM and for a while became one of the most successful companies in the world (before making the deadly mistake of letting young William Gates keep the rights to the operating system he created for them).

Every business with a long name now routinely contracts it to something shorter, or just initial letters. So the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation becomes HSBC, and even the venerable Liu Chong Hing Bank ditches the Liu from its name as one syllable too many.

The problem is that this often throws out the meaning of the name at the same time. This is fine if you're a household name like HSBC or IBM, and everyone knows what you stand for anyway. But some companies then start re-exoanding the name to restore meaning to it. So today I saw a van with FedEx Express on the side, and our electricity comes from a company called CLP Power.

What this means is that we now have Federal Express Express and China Light and Power Power. Am I the only one who finds this rather silly silly?

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