Saturday, November 30, 2019

No Accents Please, We're British

I learn that our overcrowded financial sector is to be stressed with the addition of yet another "digital" bank, only with one of the silliest names yet discovered. Competing with "Monzo" and "Revolut", the clearly bored-with-everything wizzkids at RBS are to launch a business called Bó.

Pic: Guardian 29/11/19
 Bó. How do you pronounce it? It cannot be the same as Bo on its own because in that case there would no point in having the accent. Is it meant to send a bit like Beau? Or the sound you make by slightly pursing your lips and trying to be a little bit French? Perhaps a hint of cockney, a link to Bow Bell, a way to forge a link to young people?

Presumably they first came up with plain and simple Bo. Yes, they thought, just two letters, we'll save a fortune on that expensive signage outside our branches (assuming we ever open any) and certainly on letterheads and business cards. And then an older and wiser banker, sitting at the back of the launch meeting at which all the youngsters were whooping and high-fiving, would have raised his hand tentatively and pointed out that once upon a time B.O. was something you most definitely did not want to be associated with. (Find out why by watching this ancient TV ad  and thanks very much to Mackenzie Rough for posting it).

I suppose someone by this time had registered the webdomains and so on, and they were stuck with those two letters so the only solution was the addition of an accent.

I wonder how many of their customers will ever bother to type that accent? I had to go through the hoops to get it into this column since Blogger does not support accents directly. I found it in the character set in Microsoft Word but a simple cut and paste produced some 200 redundant lines of rubbish html that Word insists on generating in any copy operation, so I copied it into a third programme, a simple text editor, and from there to the column you are now reading. I am not going to go through that palaver again, thank you very much.

Anyway, let me rivet the denizens of Threadneedle Street with a revelation of my own. I am about to launch a digital bank called Peep and if RBS would like to consider a merger in due course, I think I can come up with the perfect name for the new venture.

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