Marketing For (And Perhaps By) Dummies, Part 2

MilleniumThe Millenium Hilton is in New York City, not far from Ground Zero. The Millenium Hilton. Millenium, did you hear? When I was an independent copywriter/producer long ago, I learned how to spell the word “millennium.” It was the name of my company, after all. It derives from “mille” and “annus.” There are two frickin Ns, homey.

This joint has been around — and bugging me — since 1992, but according to Wikipedia, “the hotel’s builder chose to intentionally misspell the name with one ‘n’ on the outdoor signage and official literature…in order to make the name more distinctive.” Nope, I call that backpedaling B.S., my friends. Much more plausible is abject dumminess — but by the time anyone realized the mistake, it was too late to change. If it’s really so “distinctive,” why does almost nobody notice?

Photo by Parker Johnson.

More dummy marketing.


6 Responses to Marketing For (And Perhaps By) Dummies, Part 2

  1. I wonder if the “logic” was something dumb like (a) this will make it easier to trademark or (b) it will be better for SEO. Not that either is any excuse…

    • Tom Dupree says:

      Negative, David. With the Hilton name (already protected), you have a distinctive trademark, even if you spell the goddam word correctly. I still strongly suspect that sheer ignorance painted them into a corner.

  2. onewithclay says:

    Rhymes with Selenium?

  3. I was reading Mary Roach’s “Gulp” yesterday. In the chapter “How to survive being swallowed alive” she discusses medical patients claiming to have things (snakes, lizards, small mammals) living in their digestive tracts. An excerpt, including the footnote: “Often the patient has been given a cathartic to relieve his symptoms. As here, in the 1865 case report of a stomach slug, ‘The patient had taken an injection per anum* — *Meaning ‘by way of the anus.’ “Per annum,” with two ‘n’s’ means yearly. The Internet provides many fine examples of the perils of confusing the two. The investment firm that offers ‘10% per anum…’ and the Nigerian screenwriter who describes himself as ‘capable of writing 6 movies per anum’ or the Sri Lankan importer whose classified ad declares ‘3600 metric tonnes of garlic wanted per anum;… What’re the odds I would have read that less than 24 hours ago?

    • Tom Dupree says:

      I love it! That means this hotel is actually named the Thousand-Asses Hilton! Now we’re talkin distinctive!

      BTW, Mary Roach is da bomb. GULP is the only one I haven’t read yet, b/c the subject grosses me out. But then again, I read STIFF. I have thought many times while reading her that she is the you of nonfiction.

  4. Photograham says:

    I like the above from Bill F. My thought is that as we’re talking a once in a thousand years, most of us did not have to learn to spell “millennium” until the late 20th century. Maybe the developer learned to spell using the fonics method, didn’t catch the sound of the second ‘n.’

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