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From JETSET into EPIC-FU: Why We Did It

As some of you may know already, earlier today we launched a new website and rebranded our relatively successful web show JETSET into EPIC-FU. So far the response has been very strong in support of the new name and feel. There is also criticism and confusion, which is understandable. Name changes are a big deal and people get comfortable with things.

Say Hello To EPIC-FU!

In the run-up to the name change, the one thing we did not have time to properly consider was a communications plans to make our motivations clear. After all, there's really only the three of us doing all the production work, editing, and website design and development for JETSET and other projects. We've had some great support from Next New Networks helping us with the show's myriad distribution points. But the thought behind the name change needs to come directly from the show creators, myself and Zadi. We couldn't ask our partners to explain our decisions for us.

JETSET began as "The Jet Set Show" in June 2006. At that time the show was for a much younger audience, and the name was chosen specifically to sound friendly and snappy. Over the months we found that our sensibilities were suited for an older audience and we shifted the show's creative direction to suit. Things move awfully fast on the web. By September 2006 we were building an audience of teens. By December 2006 we were building an audience of college-aged people. The Jet Set Show had become JETSET -- we were looking for ways to make the surrounding look and feel grow up with our audience.

The past few weeks JETSET has seen phenomenal growth. In September we had over a million total views for the show. In October we did a million views for a single week. So, you might ask, what's the problem?

Intellectual property is the problem. We have big, big plans for the show, and the term "jet set" is everywhere.

Creatively we also had a strong concern that the name JETSET no longer served any descriptive purpose in defining the show. To borrow a phrase from the great Rodney Dangerfield, if I had a nickel for every time we were asked if JETSET was a travel show, I'd have a shitload of nickels.

We always described our show as the new pop culture. What we meant by that was the strictest definition of the new POPULAR culture. Fred Seibert summed it up perfectly when we were in New York -- for most people over 25, MTV defined popular culture through music. For the people growing up now, the Internet is the defining cultural engine. Our show was always about exploring that culture and talking about all the people who were empowered by a new kind of media. That is the new popular culture as we see it. And that is an Epic Fuck You to the establishment in all the best and most meaningful ways.

Logistically a name and brand change is a huge pain in the ass. But the longer you wait the worse it gets. We've waited too long as it is. Even though JETSET has a following in the online video world, it's still in the very infancy of its development. One of our goals as a company is to take our shows across all forms of media, new and old. As we embark on that process, all of us content creators have to make sure we fully own everything we create so that we never have any baggage to lug along when great opportunities come knocking.

With those thoughts in mind we want to get as much feedback as possible about the branding change, so please keep sending us emails, Twitters, Facebook messages, Myspace messages, SMS's, everything!

comments
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Schlomo Rabinowitz said:

I think the name change is perfect, especially when put into context of this post.

Personally, I never liked the name Jetset and could never wrap my head around why the show was named that given the themes that the show enjoys to push.

And now we can all feel like EpicFU OGs as we think about the show way back when...:)

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Clintus McGintus said:

Great follow up Steve. I'm sure a lot of people needed that. I'm just hella excited for all of this. It looks great, it feels great, it is great. And the hits keep on coming..... SmashFace in 08!

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Rick Rey said:

Plus, EPIC-FU just sounds so bad-ass!

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Kent Nichols said:

Nice. Congrats.

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drew olanoff said:

at the end of the day, the name of what you do is everything. you have to feel comfortable with it, you have to feel like it suits you.

and if this does, then rock the fuck on!@#@#

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jay dedman said:

Makes sense to make sure there's no problem with the name in your future success.. Ultimately, the name reflects the quality of th work and the people behind it. I think you guys got this covered.

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Aaron said:

I agree with Churck. I never got the title for the show and like the new title so much better. I'm always amazed and impress with you guys.

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veronica said:

I love the new name, guys! It suits you much better. Plus, "EPIC" works better as a knuckle tattoo.

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Rupert said:

I think it's great.
I know how hard it is to get a name right.
& this is perfect.
And much more suited to what you're doing than Jetset.
Go FU!

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Mark Schoneveld said:

When I started out my videoblog "Cheap Dates" we thought it was all in good fun. Then we got sponsored. We got more exposure. Then we got discovered... by the guy who trademarked the words "Cheap Dates" on anything Intertubes-related. Great. We were already 12 episodes in. And by then, our sponsor (the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation), picked out new name for us... "Illadates". Not as amazing. Not as double entendre. By that point it was out of our hands once money, trademarks and lawyers were involved.

Bottom line -- please pardon me for restating the obvious -- if you haven't already, get EPIC-FU trademarked! It's your brand, baby!

Good luck! I dig the new name. You guys rock!

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Aaron said:

You're all grode-up. I haven't found the name change confusing at all, if anything I'd say it's boosting viewership. It's just so damn... EPIC. It's awesome you guys are finding success doing it your own damn way. Cheers.

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Christian Adams said:

Coming from a branding standpoint Epic-Fu doesn't roll off the tongue like jetset. While jetset is a dime a dozen it is what you make of it. There are tons of businesses out there with the same name, but it is the ones who focus on their strengths (in this case content) who take it to the next level where brand becomes more relevant. Keeping it simple and not over analyzing is sometimes what works best. I won't go off on branding, but I will have to go against the tide on the name. Either way I will continue to be a fan of the content because regardless of the name you guys produce great shows.

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Heath said:

Good luck, I hope the rebranding goes well and I know you will continue to produce quality stuff

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herb said:

I like it. You folks always are thoughtful and I'm always curious about what you discover about the new pop culture---your my guide and I'll follow your lead. Epic Fu forever!

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Sunny Gault said:

I love it. I think making big changes are just part of the process in creating a successful brand. We're going through similar format changes right now as well. Congrats to a fresh start... it looks great guys!

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danielmcvicar said:

by any other name you smell sweet Steve

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(Sassy) Sonya Buyting said:

Wow! I love the new name, but even more than that now that I've read your reasoning - I love what you represent. And I'm glad to hear you're keeping your options open - the old and new. Right freakin' on!!

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Ulrich Christensen said:

Now I haven't watched all of your old episodes, but to me the name JETSET wasn't exactly fitting. I was puzzled at first (but accepted it), because of the established meaning of the word:

" 'Jet set' is a journalistic term that was used to describe an international social group of wealthy people, organizing and participating in social activities all around the world that are unreachable to ordinary people."

That description did not seem to fit with the show. Even though you try for some sort of elite (the top of the crop), it is not exactly the same thing as the term meant. The show is instead about the best in pop culture accessible to everybody.

The new name EPIC-FU does have a meaning fitting for the show as you describe it to have, and more importantly the name is used for something in the show as part of the theme. The name JETSET was largely unused on the show (only self-references by name), so it was replaceable.

Now I am very much interested in seeing, what you make of it down the road.

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Trula said:

The new name is just so right . Thanks for taking the time to explain.

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erin said:

So good - fun name - nice break-thru.
Guess my JET SET sticker is a collectible now :)

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Jason said:

Jet Set wasn't a good name. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about Epic-FU, but it does have a reason behind it. I do like the name Zadi Diaz though, and she is the face of the brand, and it's a nice face ;) So I think you should just call it Zadi Diaz, she's half the reason I watch anyway...

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Chuck Olsen said:

Nothing much to add but F-YEAH!

I'm such a huge fan of you guys, Jet...er.... EPIC FU is probably my favorite show-type-intarweb-thing out there. You cannot be stopped from commanding all forms of media now or not yet invented, in perpetuity throughout the universe.

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Nick Schmidt said:

I like the name change.. Fu
I petty the fu who doesn't
Fu's up, ho's down

What about RSS feeds.. Did you have the change all them? I may have to do that for myself..

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Will Pate said:

The fu is strong with these ones...

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MediaMisfit said:

In Steve we trust!

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andy cochrane said:

congrats on the new beginnings!! love the new direction (or new focus) and the new site ROCKS. huge congrats.

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jason carlin said:

Awesome name > Shitload of nickels