The company formerly known as Siemens Healthcare, as august and sterile as they come in the German healthcare business, is being rebranded as "Healthineers" in advance of a public stock offering. At best, it's cringe humor, right down to the Teletubbies-style dance music (above, described by the Financial Times as "writhing spandex horror") from the launch event.
Siemens tried to express a grand vision with this corporatespeak-laden statement from CEO Bernd Montag:
"Our new brand is a bold signal for our ambition and expresses our identity as a people company – 45,000 employees worldwide who are passionate about empowering healthcare providers to optimally serve their patients."
But it's hard to get past the fact that the name Healthineers evokes Disney's Imagineers or, worse, Mouseketeers. Maybe if Siemens hired Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as spokespeople? (Unfortunately, Annette Funicello died in 2013.)
Comments from a Facebook thread I was on this morning included: "I wonder how much the re-branding consultants charged for that name. I wish them luck," and, "I thought it was an Onion article when I got it."
"This is an embarrassment. There's nothing else I can say," wrote one commentator. "I feel bad for everyone involved. And all the employees who were most likely forced to attend should have started a riot and razed the entire place to the ground. Literally throwing money out a 20th story window is a better use of it than any spending on this garbage."
The key response, though, is Reuters columnist Olaf Storbeck, who defends the rebranding like so:
Users of Siemens' brain-scanners and plasma protein analysers will care little about the brand name. They will mostly remain unmoved by the sight of people dancing in orange and blue bodysuits at the brand's official launch. They are unlikely to hum along to the Healthineers theme song as they slide patients in and out of Siemens' MRI machines. Staff will notice, but beyond being a bit embarrassed, they are unlikely to leave in droves.
Which is to say, they're not saying they're stupid, or that their customers are stupid. They're saying that we're stupid, and we are.
Here's the official logo-with-epic-music-ending-on-a-quiet-tear thing: