#642: The Brainstorming Meeting for tronc Inc.

June 3rd, 2016

On June 2, 2016, Tribune Publishing announced its new corporate identity.

The nation’s third-largest newspaper publisher and owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times is now tronc Inc., “a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels.”

This is the only way the brainstorming meeting could have happened.

The scene: A branding digital strategy innovatorium in a downtown Loop office. The walls are all made of glass, even in the bathroom, and seven of the 12 designers have those bouncy ball chairs that supposedly strengthen your core.

Three men are in a conference room that has been rebranded as a futurarium thinkregion. The two taps on the water cooler dispense different temperatures of vitaminwater zero. Everyone is wearing Google Glass.

MARKETER 1: Floob.

MARKETER 2: No, too ethnic. Gneer.

MARKETER 1: What is this? 1991? Blomp.

MARKETER 2: I think the NYT’s eyeing that one. How about Skango?

MARKETER 1: Flipple.

MARKETER 2: Dlang.

MARKETER 1: Nooblesnif.

MARKETER 2: Dorgo.


MARKETER 2: Ugh! I am completely out of ideas for this corporate rebrand!

Marketer 2 bangs his head on his desk in frustration. A long, resounding TRONC sound fills the room.

MARKETER 1: Wait, do that again.

Marketer 2 looks at Marketer 1 for a moment, then repeatedly bangs his head on the desk. TRONC. TRONC. TRONC.

MARKETER 1: … Tronc.

MARKETER 2: Tronc?

MARKETER 1: Tronc.

MARKETER 2: Tronc!  That’s it!

MARKETER 1: I mean, it has everything we’re looking for. Edgy… compelling… unique…

DESIGNER IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM GOOGLING THINGS: Actually, it’s already the name of a company that makes luxury handbags.

MARKETER 1: Compelling… fun… sounds like the name of a time-displaced caveman from a 1950s Superman comic book…

MARKETER 2: Ferro was strangely specific on that point.

MARKETER 1: And it can stand for TRibune ONline Content, like we mashed together the first parts of three words.

MARKETER 2: Like when the National Biscuit Company became Nabisco in 1971 or people started referring to the American Oil Company as Amoco in the late 1960s!

MARKETER 1: What a perfect naming conceit for a future-leaning 21st-century digital media company! If we make our logo be the Nick Jr. font carved out of circuit boards, it will be perfect! Celebratory layoff of journalists for all!

A small dance party breaks out. Marketer 1 does a poor version of the Roger Rabbit to Marketer 2’s beatboxing. The designer is suddenly shirtless and has glowsticks.

MARKETER 2: Nts nts nts nts…. Wait, wait. There’s a problem.

The dancing stops. The designer tucks away his glowsticks.


MARKETER 2: Capital letters.

MARKETER 1: You mean the stylization technique used for centuries to identify proper nouns?

MARKETER 2: Yeah. Do we want capital letters? I mean, they’re so… grandma.

A brief pause while they consider.

DESIGNER: My grandmother did capitalize things.

MARKETER 1: OK, we’ll do it all lower-case.

MARKETER 2: Like a child first learning to write big-boy letters! Of course! It’ll show that we’re… um…

MARKETER 1: Open to new ideas! Like a child!

MARKETER 2: And forward thinking! Like a child!

MARKETER 1: And… and…

DESIGNER: A content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels!

ALL THREE IN UNISON: Like a child!

MARKETER 1: I mean, we’ll have to keep the Inc. capitalized so it’s visually grating.

MARKETER 2: Of course. So, Tribune Publishing, a trusted name and brand identity that dates to 1847 and was spun off into its own corporate entity in 2014, is now tronc Inc.

MARKETER 1: tronc Inc.

MARKETER 2: tronc Inc.

The designer walks up to put his arms around the marketers’ shoulders.

DESIGNER: tronc Inc.

MARKETER 1: Oh for God’s sake, put your shirt back on, Jerry.

And with that, a revolution starts throughout the industry. The Sun-Times Media Group becomes stoma, the Chicago Reader becomes CHIREA!!!, and the RMS Titanic was saved from the iceberg by a last-minute shift to the corporate brand of tanica PLCC.

This has been the last story told under the corporate identity of 1,001 Chicago Afternoons. Come back Monday for the first content generated and monetized by leveraging the innovative technologies of thouagoftnernoo Inc., a Delaware Corporation.

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I might have been slightly inspired by this Toast article about the Animaniacs

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