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HOWTO Be Associated With Princeton University

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The Princeton address yeilds a fair amount of cachet, most notably due to the Ivy League university and the expensive town. Companies and individuals always want to be associated with the word “Princeton.” There is a local train station, located outside of Princeton in the township of West Windsor, called Princeton Junction. Eventually, people living in this area of West Windsor decided their mailing address should be Princeton Junction because it sounded better. When I talk to people not familiar with the area, I might say I’m from Princeton or I live near Princeton. I actually live in a township called Plainsboro, which with West Windsor, also borders on Princeton

Now Merrill Lynch has the same idea. They’re renaming their money management business after the town of Princeton. The university doesn’t like entities using their name (even though the school appropriated it in the nineteenth century when it no longer wanted to be known as the College of New Jersey — which is the newer name for Trenton State College). I remember having trouble locating the Princeton Ski Shop because it was not, as the name indicated, located in Princeton.

Merrill Lynch is claiming it is appropriating the Princeton name for its funds because of the company’s history in that town. As it turns out, the company is not located in Princeton, it’s located nearby in my town. The University is not happy about the money management company’s decision, and they’re hoping the success they’ve had stopping other companies from using the name will help them block Merrill Lynch.

Should the university try to protect its name as a brand? Many towns across the country are called Princeton. I’ve seen old maps where the area is marked as “Princetown” (and the nearby Lawrenceville is called “Maidenhead”). What’s in a name?

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published February 2, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar claire

Princeton should get over itself. If its name were unique, it would make more sense for the university to refuse to let others use it. But it’s the name of a TOWN for god’s sake. Nobody owns that, except maybe the town itself.

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avatar Paul

This is hilarious! I grew up there. I always remember driving up to Newark airport (along Route 1) and about an hour out of Princeton there was the “Princeton Office Park.” Don’t know if it is still there, but it always gave me a chuckle.

Funny too, that you are from Plainsboro and say you are from Princeton. After I moved away from NJ, I always told people that I was from “central NJ” — because the reaction I got in the midwest and west from “being from Princeton” made me feel like people thought I was going to devour their children.

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avatar retireat30

Claire,

What is in the town other than a university?

This is clearly them trying to steal prestige from the university. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they just call the program by the name of the town they are actually in?

Where they got it from is irrellevant. It is a brand name, and Merrill is trying to steal it. What’s the big deal if I call a water or coffee brand “coke” anyways? Coke derives from cocaine. They should get over themselves too.

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