Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Nasty corporate name changing !

What do multinational corporations do once their dirty record gets around and people start seeing them for what they are?

They change their names, of course.

Philip Morris is leading the way.

What have they done in response to years of bad exposure for knowingly selling dangerous products? Decided to sell healthier products? Stopped marketing to and addicting kids?

No, they changed their name to Altria and picked a new logo, hoping that when people see Altria has made their food, they won't realize their money is going into the pockets of the same people who told us all that cigarettes are safe and nicotine is not addictive.

Recently, Philip Morris spent $250 million to gloss over their image. The campaign highlighted the company's charitable contributions and downplayed the deadly and addictive tobacco products that built the company. Well, luckily the people aren't that easily fooled. All that money spent and the Reputation Institute ranks Philip Morris second to last in public opinion. Rightly so, because tobacco still makes up 61.2% of the company's $90 billion income. (so who the hells last i say - mmm on a mission to find out)

In case you were wondering what Altria means: "Altria, as you know, means nothing, and can't be any derivative of altus [meaning 'high'] --altr-- is a nonexistent stem. But it sounds pretty good, doesn't it? And has no suggestion at all of emphysema or lung cancer," according to a Latin Professor quoted by

Yes, it seems Altria isn't synonymous with lung cancer and emphysema in people's minds the way Philip Morris is. But don't worry, to all of us who know what they've done, they'll always be Philip Morris. A reputation like their's can't be lost with a new name.

Who else is doing it?

According to Enterprise IG, 3,602 U.S. corporations adopted new names in 2001.

  • After a ValuJet plane crashed over the Florida Everglades in 1996, killing 110 people, the airline became AirTran Airways.

  • ChemLawn/Chemgreen, the nation's largest landscaping company, is becoming TruGreen LandCare.

  • Tricon Global Restaurants, owners of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut is becoming Yum! Brands.

  • Binladin Telecommunications Group, a telecom equipment maker owned by Osama bin Laden's Saudi relatives is now Baud.

  • Agricultural Insecticide and Fungicide Association, a lobbying and trade association representing the nation's 78 pesticide manufacturers will hide behind the friendlier CropLife America.

  • Benton Oil and Gas Company, who drill for oil and gas in Russia and Venezuela, will be Harvest Natural Resources.

  • Nuclear Engineering, who dispose of toxic and radioactive waste, will distance themselves from the bad record of anything nuclear, with the name US Ecology. Yes, US Ecology will bury the toxic waste near your house now.

mmmm the next one needed a change !

  • HomeShark, an online mortgage and real estate listings provider, is now the more empowering iOwn.

  • Dun & Bradstreet asked to be known as D&B, although it retained the full name officially.

  • Peptide Pharmaceuticals switched to Novar.

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers, became Monday, yes Monday.

  • Andersen Consulting renamed itself Accenture.

  • Monsanto Specialty Chemicals, a spin-off of Monsanto, who is destroying the entire planet, is now Solutia.

And word is that Enron is looking for a new name. Imagine: after screwing millions of people out of billions of dollars, they are looking for a new name.

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