Naming Rights for the Kwiki-E-Mart

I missed this a couple of months back, but Scotiabank recently bought the naming rights to three Canadian movie theatres, including the Paramount on Burrard Street. I believe that’s a photo of them disassembling the old Famous Players sign. The move is associated with a new loyalty card program:

“Cineplex approached Scotiabank about naming rights of some theatres and our response to it really was ‘interesting, but we need to have a reason to be there’.…We determined that we had some good common interests. Cineplex had a need to build a database and change the business model they had…and we had a need at Scotiabank to find a way to reach younger people–and by young people I mean 14-to-30-year-olds–in a much more relevant way.”

As I’ve said before, I’m not a believer in naming rights. It’s a particularly bad move when the building has already existed under another name. Nobody’s calling the golf ball in False Creek “The Telus World of Science”, and everyone will still refer to the cinema on Burrard Street as “The Paramount”.

It’s interesting that naming rights are being applied to smaller and smaller structures. How long before the local corner store gets renamed to “The Budweiser Cash and Carry”?

Coincidentally, a Coca Cola rep recently swept through our little village and dispensed free Coca-Cola-themed signs to the local bar and one of the grocery stores. Just a variation on the naming rights theme, I guess.

I read about this renaming project via this very angry rant. That dude needs to move.


  1. You’re right too. In every conversation I’ve had with anyone about that theatre, they still call it the Paramount.

  2. The hockey arena in Kamloops used to be called Riverside Coliseum and was eventually renamed to SportMart Place. Everyone absolutely hated the name at first and vowed never to call it that, but half a decade later that’s what everyone was calling it. It’s now been changed to the Interior Savings Centre, apparently, and I’m sure the same thing is happening.

    As annoying as it is, naming rights does make sense for large companies. In The Telus World of Science’s case, I doubt anyone will switch to using that name, since it’s so unwieldy, but I don’t think they’re aiming for that. Even if people aren’t using it in speech, the full name still needs to be used each time anyone refers to the building in a formal matter – advertising brochures, radio spots, special events, etc. It’s still good advertising for the brand.

  3. In Edmonton SilverCity West Edmonton Mall changed it’s name too. I’m a scotiabank customer and am in the process of penning a long letter of complaints and changing banks. This tips the scale for me. More ads, same insane prices, and I paid for it. Why are you wasting my money buying theatres (even if it’s with their ad budget).

  4. Just read the new comments. The Colosseum in Edmonton was changed to Skyreach centre; it stuck. Then Rexall Place; it too stuck.

    The Telus World of Science in Edmonton has stuck (though Edmonton Space and Science center wasn’t as memorable as Science World).

  5. Yeah, I was thinking about this after writing the post. I think the difference-maker is how frequently the name is used in the mainstream media. So, sports fans would hear the new name of a stadium constantly, and be kind of indoctrinated to switch names.

    On the other hand, a movie theatre simply wouldn’t get much coverage, so it’d be harder to introduce and reinforce the name change.

  6. As Darren points out, I think the small businesses are covered by the free (I assume) signs and supplies from their main vendors. It’s not so much a renaming as a branding, but sometimes it’s so prominent, it’s hard to tell. When I first went to Brussels, I wondered why the second and third bars I saw were also named Jupiler (which I first misread as Jupiter). More examples: cafés in Europe are branded by their coffee dealer, independent restaurants in the US by their soft drink provider, bars have all the neon signs and annoying decorations (with several brands trying to outdo each other), and even doctors write on pads and with pens branded by the latest pharma representative to visit them.

    Heck, now that I read the Jupiler article that I link to above, they are “sponsoring” the soccer leagues in two countries–just imagine if baseball had the Budweiser and the Coors leagues instead of American and National leagues. Wait, Nascar already has the Nextel Cup, but that’s just Nascar.

    I really dislike it all, from small shops to the large venues. The idea of tying an ephemeral brand to a physical locality is pretentious and inisidious, especially those that are renamed from some historical name (although giving a memorial name to the entertainment venue was almost as bad in the first place, but at least it wasn’t commercial). Just another reason I’m glad that I don’t follow any sports nor attend large concerts.

    I think that advertizing should somehow be limited to the product and its qualities, and be restricted to certain media sectors. For example, I hope I never see or or, to be nice,

    One downside to the branding of places is the loss of uniqueness and local flavor. Who knows or cares where the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater is located (there appear to be several in the US). One can only hope that headlines such as “Two people shot after show at HP Pavilion” will make marketers respect the real world.

    Equally disturbing in this story is how the bank plans to share its “database” with it’s new partner, but that’s another rant.

    Also note that Paramount is just another brand from another time, but at least it was a related company, as if you could buy GM tires for your GM car.

  7. Ya, I still call it the Paramount… on purpose, because the idea of one corporation naming the theatre of another corporation drove me nuts!

    And the official name of the golf ball is even more unwieldy than you think – it’s actually “Science World at Telus World of Science”… seriously, check out their signage and promo materials (and the top of their website:… Even worse was when they had the Body Worlds exhibit there… it was called “Body Worlds at Science World at Telus World of Science” (i.e., the word “World” in there THREE times!)

  8. As of this weekend movie listings were still identifying the theater as the Paramount.

    I find venue naming pretty crass these days. It used to be that donors were happy to contribute and have it identified on a plaque or something inside. Now it just seems like a bunch of spoiled brats who think more of their own name than they do the venue or the things that happen there.

    Sadly, the modern state of corporate citizenship casts contribution as a two way street rather than as mere contribution to a community. The community has to ante up the return on investment right away, and its luminaries and otherwise notable citizens can be happy with the odd bench or park named after them.

  9. Wow. How clued out am I. I live about 2 blocks away from the Paramount, and walk by it with some regularity, and I didn’t notice.
    To be fair, I never really called it the Paramount. I call it “The new one”. That’s because I’m working on old and crochety. Whippersnappers and their newfangled theatres.

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