You know that big observation wheel by the Thames. The tall one near Westminster Bridge. The whirly thing with 32 glass pods that rotates every half an hour or so. Yes, you know the one. So, what's it called?
I'll have to hurry you...
OK, I bet you said The London Eye. And you'd be wrong.
The big observation wheel by the Thames is actually called The Merlin Entertainments London Eye. Catchy name, huh?
It used to be the British Airways London Eye, of course, which somehow didn't seem so bad. But now it's owned by Merlin Entertainments, and they've selfishly insisted on plastering their brand all over the name instead. The Merlin Entertainments London Eye. I'm sure there's a marketing boss somewhere who firmly believes this to be a good thing.
Most of us will naturally go on calling it the London Eye, ignorant of the naming rights battle that's lumbered it with six additional syllables. But pity the organisations and websites forced to use the full extended title, because it's official, and that's what official folk have to do.
Visit London, for example, must proudly invite the world to visit The Merlin Entertainments London Eye. As marketing drivel goes, their opening sentence below is pretty appalling. Throw in the official name of this attraction and their jargon is almost impenetrable:
There are no such ridiculous extensions to the names of Merlin Entertainment's other UK attractions. Nobody is forced to visit The Merlin Entertainments Legoland or The Merlin Entertainments Alton Towers Resort. No London tourist spends good money to visit The Merlin Entertainments Chessington World of Adventures or The Merlin Entertainments Madame Tussauds. Neither do queues form at the ticket offices of The Merlin Entertainments Thorpe Park or The Merlin Entertainments Warwick Castle. It's only the poor old The Merlin Entertainments London Eye that suffers.
Thankfully this attraction's shorter, more familiar, name continues to take priority in general use. Even Merlin Entertainments themselves sometimes resist crowing their name when they write about their beloved London Eye. But you have to wonder why this renaming was ever thought necessary (I suspect that no other sponsor was interested) because it patently hasn't worked. After six months rebranded as The Merlin Entertainments London Eye, 99.99% of the population haven't even noticed. Count yourself amongst the enlightened few.