I’ll be the first to admit I’d been blissfully unaware of kgb.com’s existence until this year’s March Madness. That changed when, while watching Cornell dismantle Temple I experienced my very first kgb TV spot. I couldn’t figure out what they did, but that was beside the point. What got my immediate attention was the organization’s name: kgb.
I visited the company’s web site in hopes of determining who had founded the company and why, in god’s name, she or he had chosen the same three initials as the murderous Soviet secret police force. Alas, while I did learn that kgb was a leading text information source, I was unable to determine why someone would purposely chose a name associated with torture, assassination and any number of other heinous crimes.
It’s obvious that, despite the horrific name, the company has done well enough to afford a national TV campaign. But, at what cost? Would you want to run home and proudly announce, ‘Hey honey. Guess what? I’ve just landed a job with the KGB!’
And what about the business itself? Does it walk the walk in terms of living up to the original KGB brand promise? To wit,
– Are employees known as kgb agents?
– Are they message-trained to say, ‘We have ways of making you speak’?
– Do they round up competitors and ship them off to some far-away Gulag?
– Do poor performing kgb agents simply ‘disappear’?
– Does employee training include torture techniques?
– Has Joseph Stalin been named an honorary chairman in perpetuity?
Attracting and winning new customers is tough enough nowadays. Could you imagine having to explain why you represent a company whose name perpetuates one of the worst examples of totalitarian dictatorship in human history? Maybe it’s just me, but if I were going down the worst possible names road, I’d go for the jugular. Why settle for kgb when Gestapo.com is unclaimed? I checked. It’s available.
In fact, maybe one of kgb’s lesser-known competitors should rename itself Gestapo and wage a war to the death with kgb. They can even copy Nazi Germany’s blueprint and codename their campaign ‘Operation: Barbarosa’ just like Hitler did for his invasion of Soviet Russia in 1941.
As Lewis Carroll wrote, ‘It gets curioser and curioser.’