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A Rose by Any Other Names Smells the Same


Iowa City Press-Citizen

May 21, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Iowa City Press-Citizen.]

Marketing experts have long known to discount Juliet's naïve assertion that a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. Instead, great time and care -- and often a lot of marketing money -- goes into the naming of any product.

As such, the various attempts to re-christen the rain forest project -- Iowa Child, Iowa Environment-al/Education Project, Iowa Environmental Project and the Environmental Project -- hint at the different marketing strategies for convincing Iowans that they need a $155 to $180 million rain forest in their midst ("New name, partner for project," May 18). The "rain forest," however, remains the most neutral way of referring to the enterprise.

The one name that does interest us is that of Siemens, a German-based technology company that will serve as the project's "technology partner." We would be more interested, however, if the Earthpark officials offered some specifics about the partnership's financial details. Instead, developers say the company will provide the project with products, services and design input.

Two of the proposed sites -- a list that no longer includes Coralville -- already have the necessary $25 million for hosting the project. The pledges -- and presumably the Siemans partnership -- bring the project closer to the $50 million needed for a matching federal grant. But that goal is still a long way off.

Developers say they will announce a host city in early June, have funding in place by December and will then begin construction of Iowa's version of the Eiffel Tower, Space Needle and Gateway Arch. ... Come to think of it, they may want to keep some variation of those names in reserve if Earthpark doesn't work out.