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A whole new U for MCA

This article was corrected on March 6, 2003.

MCA Inc. has officially changed its name to Universal Studios Inc. and – after a year of design efforts – updated its logo.

The MCA name has existed since 1924, when Julius Caesar (Jules) Stein and William R. (Billy) Goodheart founded the company, Music Corp. of America, in Chicago. The name change and new logo had been expected (Daily Variety, July 9).

The unveiling took place during the company retreat, which was held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena and run by Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., USI chairman Frank Biondi and president and chief operating officer Ron Meyer.

Branding strategy

By changing the name, the new management is incorporating a branding strategy now sweeping corporate America. The move not only extends a recognizable brand name, but also allows Seagram to put its own mark on its new company.

The name and logo change, however, actually started under the previous regime with Lew Wasserman and Sid Sheinberg, who had ordered a new logo to be designed inhouse. After a year was spent developing the design with inhouse graphics and a score, by Jamie Horner, completed, it was discarded. For print and audio-visual, the total price came in at approximately $800,000.

Starting over

Seagram then created a committee of 14 to design a new logo and hired an outside firm. Some insiders said the fee was roughly $500,000, while others said it was less than half that. The new logo was designed by London-based design house the Identica Partnership. The audio-visual portion, which will bow in front of the Memorial Day release of Steven Spielberg’s “The Lost World,” has yet to be assigned.

The company has slowly been changing its MCA units to the Universal moniker over the past year and a half with newly named Universal Consumer Products, Universal Theme Parks, Universal Home Video and Universal Records. The only exception will be MCA Records and MCA Records Nashville (Daily Variety, Nov. 22 ).

(Adam Sandler contributed to this report.)

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