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Brand Diddy

June 20th, 2008

Check it out world, Sean Combs changed his name yet again! Or… did he?

Last week, the rapper, record producer, actor, clothing designer and entrepreneur formerly known as Puff Daddy, Puffy, and P. Diddy, said he was changing his current name, Diddy, back to the name that stared it all, Puff Daddy.

Except, he didn’t say that at all.

Reports of the name change surfaced on the Internet after Combs collaborated with O’Neal McKnight on his remix of “Check Your Coat.” The lyrics that started the rumor: “They call me Puff Daddy … he’s back. Yeah, you heard me right, too. I said Puff Daddy. I’m about to be back on that Puff Daddy sh–.”

He then posted a message about the track on his MySpace page that began, “This is your boy Puff Daddy!!! Yes Puff Daddy.”

But just when I thought it was safe to break out my old Puff Daddy t-shirts, Combs issued a statement to his fans (again on MySpace) saying he did not change his name.

Combs’ skills on the mic are sub-par at best, his production achievements are a product of his ear for ’80s rock samples, and his dancing, well… remember the 1997 MTV Music Video Awards performance of “Missing You?” Yet, he’s a worldwide icon, all because he knows how to make headlines.

Combs has created such a worldwide mega brand out of himself that he has the luxury of changing his name every time it rains. If a corporation or business changed its name and re-branded six times, it would implode. Yet, Combs, through countless publicity stunts, always finds a way to reinvent himself and grab the attention of fans that might’ve jumped ship had he kept one moniker for longer than two years.


Give it up to Combs for hyping a name change only to deny it days later. It just goes to show, it doesn’t matter what they call you, but that they call you. Brand Diddy has achieved fame and success in the past decade because Combs knows the importance of staying in the news. If he sees a drop in sales (or if he’s just bored) … he fakes a name change to put himself back in the public spotlight and to get his fans to buy his cologne, wear his clothing, listen to his music or drink his vodka.

What’s more, this is the kind of action we’ve come to expect from Combs. While a re-naming of a national corporation would indicate signs of weakness or internal change, when Combs does it, it’s just “Diddy being Diddy.” It’s crazy, but by changing his name, he’s actually reinforcing his brand.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for Combs. Personally, I’m preparing for this summer, when Combs takes a page out of Prince’s book and asks us all to call him “unpronounceable symbol.”

Posted Under: Branding, Public Relations
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