After a multi-year saga, the NFL franchise in Washington, D.C. has a new name – the Commanders. The team had played for two seasons as the Washington Football Team. That was a temporary stopgap name to replace its old name, Washington Redskins, which franchise owner Dan Snyder had been under immense pressure to change, as it was seen by many as a highly offensive racial slur.
The Commanders became the latest in a long line of brands, companies, and organizations that had to change their names as a way to make them more successful and marketable and to distance themselves from scandal.
To determine surprising reasons brands changed their names, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed notable cases of companies and brands that changed their names because of a negative public image, a new marketing strategy, or because of another issue with their previous name.
Some companies change or tweak their names in the hopes of shifting their public image. A number of restaurants and food companies have changed names in the hopes of seeming healthier.
Others have tweaked their monikers as they grew. A number of notable internet and tech companies used somewhat strange placeholder names in their early stages, but then decided that names like BackRub, Cadabra, and Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web were just a bit too bizarre to make it big.
There are also some name changes in corporate history that were necessitated because of bad public relations. Many companies on this list were engulfed in major scandals – some involving fraud, racism, and even murder. After these stories broke, the businesses were forced to rebrand in order to distance themselves from the malfeasance and the public outrage that came with it. These are America’s most hated companies.