How Would You Rebrand Time Warner Cable?

A Competitive Environment for the Cable Giant to Rename Itself

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LOS ANGELES ( -- Time Warner Cable is pursuing a new brand name to distance itself from former corporate parent Time Warner, as Dow Jones reported at the end of last month. But what's the right new brand to go with?

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So, Ad Age wants to know: How would you rebrand Time Warner Cable?
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The effort, internally dubbed Project Mercury, would be a significant undertaking for the country's second-largest cable company, which has 14 million subscribers in major markets including New York City and Los Angeles. It would also be voluntary -- Time Warner Cable has no contractual obligation to change its name.

And establishing a new name would come at the most competitive time yet for Time Warner Cable. There's more pressure than ever from satellite providers like DirecTV and Dish as well as telcos Verizon Fios and AT&T Uverse -- creative brand names themselves, we might point out. And with cable industry leader Comcast on a parallel quest to brand online video through products like Xfinity and an industry-leading role in TV Everywhere, Time Warner Cable will need more than just a new name to stand out.

But a change wouldn't be without precedent in TV. Since Cablevision rebranded its cable service as Optimum in 2006, trying to give its consumer offering a less corporate identity, the cable service has grown significantly; it now serves 3.1 million customers. Several cable channels have undergone high-profile rebrands and survived too, most notably NBC Universal's Sci Fi Channel, which switched to Syfy to boost international licensing opportunities and saw an incidental ratings boom in the second half of 2009 to boot.

Time Warner Cable's agency partners include long-time creative agency Ogilvy & Mather, part of WPP; it recently consolidated its $158 million media account with Omnicom Group's OMD. A company spokesman said an internal team is currently discussing a possible rebrand, but could not confirm whether it would work with its existing agency partners or open up Project Mercury to outside branding firms.

So, Ad Age wants to know: How would you rebrand Time Warner Cable?

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