Business, Media

Richard Branson abandons worn-out Virgin brand for something a little better

By Andy Rice 16 July 2010

Looks like entrepreneur and private island-owner Richard Branson is finally ready to admit it: Virgin isn’t the best possible brand name for a world-dominating empire. Because if his schnookums is going to get to launch her very own magazine with daddy’s money, guess what it’ll be called?

Maverick, that’s what. Yes, we agree that’s a pretty kick-ass name.

That is, if Branson and 28-year-old medical graduate (but medical residency dropout) daughter Holly actually go ahead. They and their partners seem happy to talk about all the awesome advertisers they’ve lined up and how great the whole thing is going to be – but stop short of actually committing to the October launch date they’ve floated.

As you would expect from a Branson startup, Maverick (doesn’t it just roll off the tongue) will have a gimmick: it will be available only on as an application for the iPad, initially, and is later to be rolled out on the Android and similar platforms. Branson and company believe that traditional publishers have been doing it wrong all along (a sentiment with which we may agree), that people will pay for their product (which we doubt, but you can never discount Sir Richard’s selling prowess) and that advertisers will jump at the opportunity (which is probably true, if sad because those advertisers won’t be seeing real value, we don’t think).

So much for the platform. What will the magazine be all about? Well, you know, stuff. Like, maybe, technology? And some other cool new stuff? Having done a superlative job in coming up with the name and a pretty good job at getting the attention-grabbing gimmick right, the creativity seems to have run out before the team could cover the inconsequential details, like what they’ll actually be writing about.

Not everyone is cool with the name. Maverick the country magazine, has already made some pointy enquiries on hearing about the Branson venture. MaverickMagazine the poetry magazine may also have a thing or two to say about it.

Here at The Daily Maverick we haven’t yet made up our minds whether we approve or not. It’ll probably depend on the ratio of naked flesh to political analysis that Holly ends up deciding on.

By Phillip de Wet

Read more: Advertising Age, Mashable, Marketing Magazine

Photo: Front cover from Maverick Magazine no. 9, by Sally Shorkend.