1. . When Philip Morris became Altria
Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, found that its corporate name was too synonymous with the taint of tobacco-related death and disease, according to a study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco. In late 2001, the company announced it would change its name to the Altria Group, in an attempt to insulate other brands like Kraft from the negative associations, the researchers say.
2. Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC
In 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken began to subtly rebrand by shifting the focus to its initials, KFC. There were a lot of urban legends surrounding the switch – like the (untrue) rumors that it was because KFC’s chicken didn’t really contain chicken, or that the company didn’t want to pay royalties to Kentucky. The reason was apparently to remove the word “fried” from the name, which management felt gave the brandunhealthy connotations.
3. Datsun became Nissan
Whether or not you were alive in the 1960s and 1970s, the word “Datsun” might conjure up images of an old-fashioned car. The fuel-efficient Japanese brand became popular in the U.S. in the 1970s after oil prices spiked, but the company rebranded in 1981 as an effort to unify all its cars under one brand. Jim Hall, principal of automotive consulting firm 2953 Analytics in Birmingham, Mich., has estimated that getting rid of the beloved Datsun brand cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
4. Lucky and GoldStar Co., Ltd became LG Electronics
Korea’s LG started in 1947 as Lucky, a chemical company making cosmetics and plastics; it later started another brand called GoldStar, which sold electronics. The brand changed its name to LG in 1995 to elevate its brand for the Western market. It also adopted the same-initialed slogan, “Life’s Good.”
5. When BackRub became Google
Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s first big collaboration at Stanford was a search engine called BackRub. The engine operated on Stanford servers for more than a year before taking up too much bandwidth, according to the company. The next year, Larry and Sergey registered Google.com.
6. Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web became Yahoo!
Did you know Yahoo was originally called “Jerry’s guide to the world wide web”? The site was named after founder Jerry Yang, who invented the site with David Filo in 1994, while both were grad students at Stanford. In 1995, they got a little more serious and switched the name to Yahoo.
From the foregoing, there are different reasons for name change, and just like YAHOO, name change is not a TABOO