Xfinity: Can Comcast's New Brand Shake the Shoddy Image?

Or is it just an Xpedient gimmick?

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Comcast's re-branding effort, which will plaster the new name "Xfinity" across cable products nationwide, launches Friday. Some say the move is just a trick to make the company—whose reputation for “shoddy customer service, clunky technology platforms and rising prices” has driven people to compare it to Hurricane Katrina—seem cutting-edge. Wouldn't a Comcast by any other name have customer service just as horrific?

Perhaps, say business and tech pundits. They are amused and confused by the company's choice of name, as well as the timing. (Comcast is planning to buy NBC, as the Wire has covered here, here, and here.) The consensus is that in order to truly rehabilitate its rep, the company will need to make real investments in improving customer care. Will Comcast make changes where it counts, or will this “Xfinity” rebranding be all flash and no bang?

  • Not the Same Old Company Comcast's Dave Watson assures us;in a blog post that Xfinity "represents the future" of the company, and will be all about offering customers more: "more HD, more speed, more choice and more control."

  • Re-Branding Now Irrational, Unnecessary; "Shareholders should be asking, 'Why?'" says Time's Sean Gregory. The 11-market rollout of the Xfinity brand will be quite pricey, and company earnings more than doubled, to $955 million, in the fourth quarter.

  • Makeover May Be an Attempt at MisdirectionThe re-brand was first announced the day before Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was scheduled to testify in Congress on a proposed merger with floundering NBC that some say smacks of monopoly. Is Comcast trying to keep the gawking public focused on its glittery new space-age name and logo while it goes through with an ominous mega-merger that has raised the venomous ire of Al Franken?;
  • What About Customer Service? VentureBeat's Cody Barbierri soberly points out that "fixing customer service and technical issues"--which have long been the company's "Achilles heel"--"should be the main focus." A new name won't mean much if it doesn't come with new, better business practices.

  • ...Sounds Like a Porn Company Gizmodo's Brian Barrett snarks it up, calling Xfinity "the worst, pseudo-pornographic, retro-futuristic garbage marketing dollars can buy." The Consumerist's Meg Marco agrees, and helpfully redesigns the logo to match the new name's carnal connotations.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.