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New Comcast TV remote takes curious design cue from Apple

Those who buy Comcast's fancy new XR5 v4 remote will find a new take on a familiar slogan on the back of the device, reminding them that the remote was "designed by Comcast in Philadelphia."

Comcast in Philadephia has unleashed a new remote with a branding cue taken from Apple in Cupertino. Marguerite Reardon/CNET

On today's episode of brands behaving bizarrely, we virtually head to Philadelphia, where Comcast has put together a branding strategy that's a bit of a head-scratcher.

I think we all get that brands need to put their marks on things so it's clear which smartphone people are carrying or which media company is overcharging them for TV and Internet services. Sometimes, it can be difficult for companies to come up with branding efforts all by themselves, and Comcast's latest branding faux-paus seems to be an imitation of another company, one that sells the iPhones and iPads you might be reading this story on.

It seems to be a pretty blatant ripoff, too, perhaps even glaringly so considering it shows up on a device that looks exactly like every other TV remote control out there, a device where the only real innovation was adding a TV input button that lets you switch between input options on your TV.

Seriously, Comcast just now added an option to change TV inputs in the X1 remote, something that's been available on almost all remotes for decades, and decided to boast its fancy new remote by proudly claiming that it was "designed by Comcast in Philadelphia." Apple products, of course, bear the phrase "Designed by Apple in Cupertino."

Neither Comcast nor Apple responded to a request for comment.

Maybe it's meant to be ironic. Maybe Comcast was taking a pointed jab at Apple by slapping Apple's customary hardware slogan on such a basic device (why it would make such a job, we're not sure). Or maybe it just seemed like a nifty line. Who knows?

This post was designed by Anthony Domanico in Minneapolis.