An Adelaide icon waves goodbye

July 3, 2007

The State Bank building was built in Adelaide in 1988, and remains the tallest building in Adelaide. When the bank (not the building) collapsed in the early 90s, it became Santos House, and got branded with the Santos logo. It was like this when I first got introduced to Adelaide in 1994. It’s the building where Microsoft have their Adelaide office, and Level 2 hosts the user-group meetings that I run. At Christmas there are green lights in the shape of a tree, and it displays a cross at Easter time.

In the last few weeks, the word Santos has disappeared. It now shows the red W of Westpac. I suppose it makes little difference to most things. I’m happy enough to refer to it as Westpac House, or whatever its new name is supposed to be. But I’m saddened. Santos is a South Australian brand. The ‘Sa’ at the start of the word is “South Australia” (and interestingly, the NT is Northern Territory, like the NT in Qantas). It’s very disappointing that the branding associated with this important Adelaide building no longer reflects Adelaide. Something’s been lost.

I have similar emotions about the branding of the Arsenal stadium at Ashburton Grove. I appreciate that Emirates Airline have paid a fortune for the naming brand. But it’s a shame that this fantastic stadium, the third largest stadium in London (after Wembley and Twickenham) should have its branding rights sold, but to a company who doesn’t reflect London at all. At least Wigan Athletic’s JJB Stadium is named for a shop owned by the chairman of the club, a company which is based in Wigan.

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