Carphone Dixons: A mouthful of a monolith

Posted on by Mike Evans

So Dixons, Britain's No.1 purveyor of washing machines, televisions, computers and associated technology, has wed Carphone Warehouse, Charles Dunstone's hugely successful mobile company that has already branched out into consumer electronics. For all I know, it is a marriage made in heaven and I hope it will breathe new life into the marketing of electronics in this country.

I just have one quibble from a marketing and image point of view: Why Carphone Dixons? This is an uninspiring mouthful that really doesn't do a lot for the image of a thrusting new retail giant. Even Dixon's Warehouse would have been superior to this designed-by-a-committee moniker. 

Come to that, I have long wondered why Carphone Warehouse stuck to its original title long after the dedicated carphone was dead. Originally, at the dawn of the cellular age, phones were so big that the only place to put them, with an adequate supply of juice, was in cars. In those days, in the eighties, carphones were the thing. Ten came enormous brick portables that powered communications in Wall Street and the City. Eventually, Carphone Warenhouse was flogging tiny Nokias and Samsungs, then modern smartphones. Nary a car phone in sight these days.

I suspect the decision to retain "carphone" and "warehouse", two uninspiring concepts by any standards, was nostalgia on Charles Dunstone's part. Yet to combine the worst of all worlds in the new company title is inexplicable. It would have been a good opportunity to think up a new 21st century brand image. I suspect this will come, sooner rather than later, when shareholders, the City and the public have come to accept that the two familiar brands are now cohabiting.

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