Shares of Earthsea stock plummeted today on the news that the megabrand, known primarily for its magical realm and theme park, will change its name to Waterland effective immediately.
Shareholders expressed concern over the move, with some arguing that confusion about the name could hurt sales and prevent people from choosing the quirky, family-focused vacation destination. Others suggested that similarity of the new name to the failed Waterworld, an ambitious effort in immersion experience that misfired in the mid-1990s costing investors millions of dollars, could send the wrong message to potential tourists.
According to an anonymous source within the company, the name change was included as a provision in the will of Ursula K. Le Guin, the corporation’s founder and longtime CEO. While the entertainment firm’s new leadership was not bound by the rebranding clause, the board nonetheless voted to adopt the new name in recognition of Le Guin’s final wishes.
A grassroots movement among shareholders has begun to form in response to the announcement, with several proposals already having been submitted for the company’s next ballot. While the measure proposing a return to the company’s original name has the most support, other branding proposals include Dirtlake, Aquaglobe, and TerraH2O.
As for now, however, plans are moving forward to update signage, marketing materials, merchandise, and ceremonial incantations with the new Waterland brand. Assuming the name change is not reverted by shareholder vote at the annual meeting next January, Earthsea-branded memorabilia could become the next hot collectible on the market.
Waterland will retain the stock symbol GED.