The Folly of Rebranding Weinstein


Unless you’re living under a rock, you likely know that The Weinstein Company (TWC) has ousted its cofounder and CEO, Harvey Weinstein.

Reason: Sexual harassment of the highest order.

Harvey has produced a plethora of notable movies, including The Crying Game, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, and Master & Commander.

Mr. Weinstein has succeeded in spotting, recruiting, and promoting talent, as well as in choosing stories that sell.
Timid Hypocrites

Alas, he also has a sinister, abusive side.

Women — Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Lauren Sivan, and Ambra Battilana Gutierrez (who wore a wire in 2015 for an NYPD sting), to name a few — are going, or have gone, on the record to spill the beans. Even Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have added their names to the list.

Weinstein’s oppressive behavior against women has been an open secret in entertainment and political circles for decades. But, because he could make and break careers, and has been a megadonor to liberal politicians, most notably Hillary Clinton, and liberal causes, especially abortion, his fellow travelers have looked the other way.

As the brave have risked everything to come forward, the dam of silence has broken.

Timid hypocrites who were claiming ignorance a few days ago (e.g., Meryl Streep once called Weinstein “God”) are piling on to out-virtue-signal each other by condemning the embattled movie mogul.

The Clintons and Obamas, Weinstein beneficiaries, have said nothing — until today, when, after five days of silence, Hillary expressed fake outrage (“shocked & appalled”) about her pal Harvey’s behavior, while keeping all his donated cash.

Shamed into joining Hillary in the chorus of manufactured disdain, the Obamas, whose daughter Malia had interned at The Weinstein Company, expressed this sterile gem:

“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status. We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”

Renaming Is Not Rebranding

Now, TWC wants to rename itself — as if this will make a difference. It won’t. Renaming is not rebranding. Any attempt to do so will be pure folly: Every article written henceforth about a renamed, retooled company will include “originally founded by Harvey Weinstein, sexual predator.”

Nevertheless, a scrubbing operation is in process. TWC is erasing Weinstein’s name from TV and movie credits. Amazing, given that, just last week, this guy was “God.”

To rebrand a company, one must first assess its current brand. What is TWC’s current brand?

Remember: a brand is an emotional connection to customers, unrelated to a product or company name.

The new brand — comprised of toxicity, hypocrisy, and misogyny — now overshadows any magic that once existed at TWC. So, changing the name will fail.

There’s only one solution for The Weinstein Company: Sell all the assets to another movie company, which can relabel those assets any way it chooses.
Parting Advice to CEOs

A name is not a brand. A name, like a logo, can represent a brand — but never constitute one. Renaming, therefore, is not rebranding.

TWC’s brand changed completely in one week. It’s name and logo did not.

Consider that when you hire a graphic artist to create a new logo, thinking that you’ve created or re-created your company’s brand.

Branding must be the CEO’s #1 priority. Is it yours?

Harvey Weinstein didn’t care about TWC’s brand. His distorted ego compelled him to engage in moral turpitude, putting his employees, company, shareholders, and career at risk.

This is a lesson for the ages, and a CEO somewhere is on the verge of ignoring it.
POSTSCRIPT #1: Bob Weinstein Dishes on His Lying, Cheating, Bullying Brother

POSTSCRIPT #2: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Expels Harvey Weinstein

POSTSCRIPT #3: CAA Banned Courtney Love for Warning Women to Avoid Weinstein

POSTSCRIPT #4: Harvey Weinstein Resigns from TWC Board (10.17.17)

POSTSCRIPT #5: Weinstein Company to File for Bankruptcy (02.26.18)


POSTSCRIPT #6: Female-led Group to Buy Assets of The Weinstein Company (03.02.18)


About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of two books:
Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line and
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


© 2017 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.

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