Back in April, we blogged about YouTube’s announcement of a new service offering set to roll out later in 2015. This October, they launched their subscription-based service in hopes of capitalizing on the huge success of the original YouTube powerhouse. For $10 a month, you get ad-free viewing, the ability to watch saved videos offline, and eventual access to members-only original content.
Good deal? Sure, some users will be into it. Some won’t. But can we just talk about the service’s branding and the power of association in branding for a minute? It’s called YouTube Red, and that’s problematic for a few reasons.
A YouTube exec mentioned during a press Q&A that, “Choosing a name for a product is a challenging thing” and that users and fans in their studies associated red with their brand, love, and the red carpet. I agree, branding can be challenging, but does that mean you should give up and name it something that also reminds people of…
The better competing service Netflix?
While Netflix and YouTube Red are not direct competitors, they do play in the same playground. As subscription-based services at a similar price point offering original content, a lot of people will already associate the two brands without them blatantly competing for the colour association in your brain (and Netflix winning).
The popular AIDS organization by the same name?
(RED) has raised $325 million and impacted 60 million lives to date in the fight against AIDS. A huge part of their success has hinged on partnering with some of the world’s most powerful consumer brands. So they’re not only using the same name as another organization, but it’s an organization that has made dramatic strides in fighting a global pandemic in partnership with the likes of Apple, GAP, Nike, Coca Cola, Starbucks and Beats Electronics.
A certain (NSFW) website called RedTube
Is it weird that I’m writing about porn in a blog post? It feels weird. But I think it’s weirder that branding experts sat around a table and didn’t think that YouTube Red was a little too close to RedTube.
Your brand means everything. Association is a powerful tool. Association can work for you or against you. A few positive associations don’t cancel out the glaringly bad ones. The YouTube Red branding is pretty much on par with naming your baby girl Katrina in 2005.