Michael Cronan, a San Francisco-based graphic designer and marketing executive who placed his stamp on popular culture when he created the brand names TiVo and Kindle, died on Tuesday.
Mr. Cronan had a storied career, and it shows in his various obituaries. But it was the final passage of the New York Times obituary that resonated with me:
For all his devotion to marketing and branding, Mr. Cronan felt that sometimes the demands of commerce went too far, as in the often-changing corporate names attached to sports stadiums and concert halls.
“There was a time in American life where going to a sporting event or a concert was sort of magical, because a lot of these places had these fun names,” he told The Denver Post in 2010. “But these days, with the amount of people craving advertising exposure, the sponsors have found a way to sell everything. They’re selling our nostalgia, and it’s sad.”
Shouldn’t some parts of our lives and attention be off-limits from corporate intrusion?
Absolutely. It’s confusing at best. I recently watched a documentary about these unique rollout glass visitor observation rooms at the upper reaches of Willis Tower. Where’s that? It is, of course, the former Sears Tower in Chicago, and I guess I missed the news that a British insurance broker had acquired the naming rights three years ago. Then there is the venerable Candlestick Park, aka 3Com Park and Monster Park. It’s back to Candlestick now, but it will suffer the ultimate indignity when it is reduced to rubble later this year. Sad indeed.
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