Funocity Blog

The Importance of Research: Earnst & Young’s Problem with Sexy Boys

There have been plenty of cases where companies have rebranded or launched new brands without doing sufficient research.  The Chevy Nova may be the most prominent example, but we have a new one to add to the list: Ernst & Young.  The financial services company, in an effort to appear young and hip, has rebranded itself “EY”.  Apparently, the company never did a Google search for “EY”.  If they had, they would have learned it is the name of a magazine featuring scantily clad young men.

A Google search could have saved the grief of calls from reporters asking the company about the new branding and whether it was a mistake.  It also unintentionally pits one of the world’s largest financial services firms against the arguably larger market for sexually explicit content. This is the reality of the online world: real estate is tight as brands work to nudge each other out. It also reflects the challenges with how we interact and find content online.

Most of us will use a Google search to find relevant content, and Google is constantly working to refine the search algorithm to display the most relevant results to us. It bases results on location, past browsing history, and source quality among hundreds of other factors.  Did they believe that the rebranding could out leverage the teen magazine with the sheer weight of the company?

The response from Ernst & Young has been surprisingly mundane. From the Huffington Post:

“We are aware of the images in question,” said Amy L. Call Well, a communications director for the accounting firm, in an emailed comment to The Huffington Post. “It will be apparent to individuals looking for EY, the professional services organization, that the images are not related to us.” Link here.

Wise or not, the Ernst & Young brings up a simple lesson: a quick Google search can save an incredible headache at launch.

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