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Mubi - a branding story with a twist

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Vince Bridgman

MUBI - the curated online cinema

So why is it called MUBI?

I recently listened to an interview with Efe Cakarel, the founder of curated film-streaming service MUBI, on the excellent Monocle 24. Cakarel's amazing idea (and the story of how he and his team developed it) is fascinating.

But for me, one aspect that really stood out was how the name 'MUBI' came about.

When it was launch in 2007, it was called TheAuteurs.com. This made perfect sense; the service curates from the world's most interesting independent, left-field, art house films. Such films are typically made by 'auteur' directors; directors whose vision and influence is so complete, effectively they are 'authors' of their films. 

The trouble is, most people don't really know what auteur means, let alone how to spell it or say it. The founders loved it, most of their potential audience didn't get it. And this became increasingly apparent as the service grew across the world.

This is when, in 2010, the company made the BIG decision to change the name. Their objective was to address the language issue by choosing a name without meaning. They also wanted a name that was so short that people would have no trouble pronouncing it, in any language.

And so MUBI was born, or reborn; a two-syllable name with no specific meaning, though it's rhyme with 'movie' is neat and crosses many borders. 

It's a great example of why the name of your business shouldn't be about you (the owner). It should be about them (your customers).

 

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