Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great Explorers and Their Cunning Branding

It's going to be 85 today.

It is said that Erik the Red misleadingly named Greenland in order to lure settlers. True, portions of Greenland are green, but for the most part, Erik was a con man real estate speculator. I've also heard that they named Iceland in order to ward off settlers, as in, "We're keeping this paradise a secret." (I'm boring the American readers right now, who regard Greenland and Iceland as part of Canada or Denmark or someplace where they wear wooden shoes.)

Years ago, when Central Florida was being discovered by wealthy Northeasterners, they were in the same situation as Erik. They needed more people down here to make their little dream of paradise a reality, so they branded everything with the name "Winter." Winter Garden, Winter Haven, Winter Park, Winter Springs. And the people came, and they were all, "Damn! Someone needs to invent air conditioning! Why didn't you name it 'Sweltering Hell Hole'? or 'Place of Many Bugs'? We're going home. Send us more oranges."

And then the great explorer and con man real estate speculator Walt Disney bought up a bunch of land really cheap and the people came back to see what Walt had built. And they were all, "Damn! It's 85 degrees in December. Let's move here." And now everything is named after an imaginary village in Tuscany.

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