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Muzak Faces the (Lame) Music, Rebrands as ‘Mood Media’

You know someone’s got the branding game down when the public sees the name of the product and the company that makes the product as interchangeable. Examples include Ziploc, Kleenex, Tylenol…and the sadly defunct Muzak.

We don’t know about you guys, but every time we encounter that particularly lame genre of light, mostly instrumental tunes heard in elevators, doctors’ offices and pharmacies around the world, the word “Muzak” comes to mind.

Yet Mood Media, the “multi-sensory marketing/brand marketing/neuromarketing”(!) agency that bought the struggling company in 2011, recently decided to put the name down for good. Why?

The agency’s CEO acknowledges that the decision marks the “end of an iconic American brand”–and that’s just the problem. He told The New York Times that Muzak “is often perceived as an epithet for elevator music”, implying that the public would be more likely to dismiss Mood Media altogether if it retained the Muzak name.

See, Mood Media wants to consolidate its many varied “sensory” services under a single heading. The agency provides its clients with “sights, sounds and even scents” to enhance the user experience. Some examples of its products include “interactive kiosks” created for retailers like Walmart and Carrefour that allow shoppers to virtually sample products while listening to upbeat pop music and enjoying “aroma marketing” scents designed to encourage a particular mood (we assume that mood is “spend money!”).

What do we think? When your brand has a name as ubiquitous as Muzak, should you drop it altogether (even if it has kind of a bad reputation)?

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