We’ve just booked flights to Budapest so we can attend the wedding of an old university friend. The flights cost us nothing, because we paid for them using Avios. What are Avios, you may wonder? They’re a loyalty points system operated by British Airways, and they used to be called Air Miles.
Air Miles was a fantastic brand, because it told you exactly what it did, and everyone knew what it was. But the company decided to change the name to Avios because it wanted a name with more international appeal.
But how do you say Avios? Is the “av” pronounced like in “aviation” or like in “lavatory”? Is the “os” like in “boss” or in “toes”?
That’s already four possible ways of saying it, but we haven’t even considered stress yet. Is the stress on “Av”, as in “Av-ios”? Or is it on “i”, as in “Avi-os”? That makes eight possible ways of pronouncing this silly made-up word which means nothing in any known language.
So well done, British Airways. You destroyed a strong, cool, and recognizably British brand, and replaced it with an unpronounceable, meaningless non-word that nobody can identify with.
Still, our flights were free, so who can complain, really?