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Sunday, 13 January 2008

image for Kate McCann Rebranded
The McCann twins today

News emerged today that award winning Lisbon based design agency E-Nova have been retained by the Find Madeleine fund to undertake a ground up rebranding exercise of key elements of Team McCann in order to increase their appeal in the Portuguese marketplace.

Rui Carvalho, Creative Director of E-Nova, today explained the details of the exercise. At a Lisbon press call this lunchtime, he outlined the orthographic and marketing principles leading to the move.

"Portugal is a beautiful country with a warm and accepting people" he began, "Tourism is vital to the economy of the Algarve and increasingly the Lisbon coast. However we can see that in the case of the McCanns, the sentiment was turning and we needed to act to increase the warmth that the Portuguese people demonstrate when talking of the McCanns"

The most significant element of the exercise is the rebranding of Kate McCann. Carvalho, himself a linguistics graduate said The first problem is the K, we don't really have K's in Portugal, its use is very rare, in fact it is licensed exclusively to "Super Bock" so naturally the Portuguese were asking, "What makes this woman so special that she can spell her name with a K?"

"Normally when words are adopted from English we transliterate by using "Qu" instead of K, the word Kiosk for example becomes "Quiosque" in Portuguese, so we began by doing the same for Kate.

However the "ate" part of Kate's name also didn't fit in well with the Portuguese natives so we changed that too to reflect the phonetics.

Kate will now be known in the Portuguese market as "Quét"

The name "McCann" also has implications according to the focus groups we questioned. Portugal lacks a fondness for any words with double consonants, so we began by losing one of the Ns. To further integrate it into the Portuguese language we dropped the other N too and replaced it with "ão"

The name McCão has further benefits because it sounds like Macao the former Portuguese colony so already has an intrinsic approachability for the Portuguese people.

Carvalho finished by saying that the agency also proposed that Sean become João, but the focus group felt uncomfortable with a 3 year old being called João McCão.

The retention of E-Nova was brokered by The McCanns' Lisbon based lawyer, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, he stated this afternoon that "Had Quét accepted my offer to negotiate a plea bargain she wouldn't have had to undertake this rebranding exercise, but seeing as she is potentially going to spend much longer in Portugal, the need to appease the local people was approaching with some urgency. He went on to stress that the exercise is not being paid for by the Campaign fund but by private backer "Brian Quenedade" of Latium plc.

The move follows the sea change in lexicography that has been effected by the Madeleine case, words such as "arguido" have entered English parlance, and evolved to become dearguidificate, dearguidification and dearguidificated. Somewhat unusually these bastardized words have been accepted back into Portuguese as desarguidificar, desarguidificação and desarguidificado respectively.

A crack team of linguists from the Technical university of Lisbon are currently working around the clock to agree a suitably ridiculous translation of "pants of ganga" to adopt back into Portuguese after an errant online translator coined the term in English.

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