[WARNING: Seriously Off-topic]
Email to head of GRADUATE HOTELS (Inc.) – no reply received
Changing the name of the Randolph Hotel will be a catastrophic marketing and branding failure.
1 The idea that there should be a hotel called The Graduate will be laughed at across the entire community of Oxford.
2 And I do NOT refer to Mrs Robinson of the 1970 film with Dustin Hoffman – which is bad enough ! (and only occurred to me as I was writing the previous line).
3 I mean that everyone in the Oxford community from 1st-week undergraduates to super postdoc PhD professors will cringe, recoil in shame and embarrassment, at the idea that anyone should name a hotel “The Graduate Hotel” – right at the center of the town and in perhaps its most prestigious space.
This screaming snobbism will be a source of shame to everyone in Oxford for generations – lowering the level of the whole city by incorporating this false component into the culture.
4 Does that name mean it is only for graduates ? Obviously the suggestion is ridiculous but of course it will also feature in everyone’s mind – all the time. The idea is ridiculous for this reason alone. I know it is only a symbol, but subconsciously you exclude most of your market. In any year, most of the graduates have left. The very concept is subliminally wrong.
5 Second, a MAJOR part of the Oxford tradition is that the more knowledgeable you are the LESS you vaunt it. Most people I know would be ASHAMED to go to a hotel called the Graduate Hotel. It is bad enough calling it the Randolph, which makes one think slightly of the failed pomposity of Churchill’s son – though perhaps not his dad.
I appreciate that the American way is to be upfront proud about what you have achieved, earned and created – and blazon your achievement in media and brand names as soon as you can – and I can like and respect that, fully, in the proud US context of achievement and properly-deserved self-advertisement of achievements – but the Oxford ethos will never be like that, and there is a good reason.
It’s about learning, not mere physical or organizational achievement.
It kind of emerges from Socrates’s “The more I know, the more that I know that I know nothing” – a guiding principle of the highest regions of inquiry, philosophy, teaching, education – of which Oxford will probably remain the world’s perceived epicenter. Thus by taking this robotically meritocratic stance in the middle of Oxford you simply dowse that subtle and excellent tradition in the mediocrity of a small town – an environment where, there being little outstanding intellectual activity, you perhaps have to drum up names for people to feel they have some kind of brain activity, or personal distinction.
Oxford is completely the reverse.
A good essayist could continue this diatribe for pages – but you get the idea.
a) You must either NOT change the name from the hyper-famous Randolph
b) OR you must find a really good name.
For (b) I am on hand to guide you. Do please respond and consult.
(signed by an Oxford resident)