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Kodak to drop its name from Hollywood theater

Sally Herships Feb 16, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: Here’s a familiar name you might not see in lights next week at the Academy Awards: Kodak. A bankruptcy judge says Kodak can — as it requested — end its $74 million naming rights deal for the Hollywood theater that hosts the Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is said to be considering moving future ceremonies to other high-profile venues, including downtown L.A.’s Nokia Theater.

You know, Nokia, the cell phone maker, isn’t doing so well itself. Concidence? Or the perils of pricey sponsorship deals? Marketplace’s Sally Herships has more.

Sally Herships: They call it the stadium curse. Remember PSI? Probably not.

David Rogers: They were an Internet service provider.

David Rogers teaches branding at Columbia.

Rogers: And obviously they didn’t last through the internet boom, that’s why you can’t remember the name.

PSI paid millions in the late ’90s to have its name put on the stadium where the Baltimore Ravens play. Then the company went bankrupt. And there are many other sad corporate stories: Trans World Dome, Wachovia Center, and Enron Field.

Prashant Malaviya: By now it should be clear that this is a gamble.

Prashant Malaviya teaches marketing at Georgetown. He says the millions spent by companies on sponsorship deals like these should have been invested more wisely — like in traditional advertising. And he says consumers don’t like show-offy companies anyway.

Malaviya: If they would just call it America Stadium rather than bank of America stadium it would take away all this show off nature of the corporation trying to put its big name out there.

David Rogers says it’s important for stadiums and other spaces to make sure a new name is the right fit. Because they may be stuck with the name for a while.

Take Harvard Law. The school sold rights all over a new building. One donor gave the law school $100,0000 in honor of his father. Harvard named the restroom after him. His name is spelled Falik. 

Rogers: So there is now the Falik men’s room.

Herships: No way.

Rogers: Yes way.

Even if Mr. Falik goes bankrupt, the law school bathroom can hold on to its name.

In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

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