Some brands didn’t know they already had a good thing going for it. They decided to attempt to make a name change for various reasons, from HBO to Twitter, see some of the dumbest corporate branding ideas.
HBO -> HBO Max -> Max
u/PunchBeard: “They changed their name from HBO (Home Box Office) to Max; which anyone over the age of 35 associates with HBOs number one rival back in the cable TV days: Cinemax.”
u/OneSmoothCactus: “Anytime there’s a big corporate rebrand they should walk around using the new word in conversation for a week before they commit.
“Watch it on Max” is such an annoying way to tell someone where to watch a show. Might as well say “Hey check out this movie on Jeff.” What?”
u/jpiro: “Not really a rebrand, but when Oldsmobile went to the “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile” campaign, they basically alienated the only group of people who actually were buying Oldsmobiles at the time.
And now, nobody is buying Oldsmobiles.”
u/KBeeFree: “Tropicana; removing the famous red-white straw directly into the orange imagery for…an unbranded clear glass of orange juice in a generic-looking (white-labeled-looking) package.”
u/MattyBeatz: “I had a friend who worked in marketing and Tropicana was a client of his around this time. He’d share stories about people losing their shit in grocery stores on Sunday morning because they couldn’t find their orange juice on the shelves. They literally looked right past it thinking it was a different kind of OJ.”
ABC Family to Freeform
u/JumpyAlbatross: “I’m gonna be so real, I had no idea that it was a rebrand. I just thought ABC Family died around the same time I stopped watching tv.”
Comcast -> Xfinity
u/woogychuck: “I was involved in some of the meetings for that as a outside contractor. It was the dumbest move ever. 90% of the people involved knew it was dumb, but a handful or morons at the top really though Comcast’s bad reputation would just magically disappear with the rebrand.”
u/IWearBones138__: “I was a third party contractor who would sometimes get contracted out troubleshoot or install Comcast internet or cable. It was right around the time of the rebranding and let me tell you, it confused the hell out of every single person. The consumers, the techs, the bosses, nobody knew what to call anything for a while.”
The Sci Fi channel to “SyFy”
u/Silent-G: “It was for legal reasons. They couldn’t claim ownership of the name SciFi because it was too generic. Like, “The SciFi Network” would be fine because it’s obviously the name of a TV channel, like “Cartoon Network” or “Game Show Network”, but just “SciFi” would cause too many possible infringements.”
u/VonAether: “In 2010 the Gap paid an ad agency a bajillion dollars to rebrand. They came up with the name typed in Arial. The Gap announced the rebrand. They were roundly mocked for spending a gorillion dollars on something that it takes two seconds for anyone to create.
They decided to just continue using the old logo. The rebrand lasted six days.”
Twitter to X
u/aveganrepairs: “This is the answer. Twitter had a brand name so recognizable, it became a literal verb that was widely used in the cultural lexicon. Sure, Facebook had posts and statuses, instagram had stories, but the word “tweet” is synonymous with and unique to Twitter.
Companies spend millions on marketing to try and get something to catch on and stick like that, it’s like striking gold, any marketing exec would kill for it. Baby Huey Elon threw it in the trash like it was yesterday’s news for literally the most generic, garbage branding imaginable. It’s stranger than fiction.”
Sierra Mist becoming Starry
u/SerBrendanhouseSaint: “ It happened because the NBA lost Sprite as it’s direct soda sponsor, and Sierra Mist stepped in its place. However, the NBA did not want to be involved with the name Sierra Mist because it’s widely known as the “little brother” or the inferior sprite brand. So the NBA made them change their brand name.”
Netflix to Qwikster
u/TheRedGiant77: “That time Netflix tried to break off its DVD rental service into a separate brand called Qwikster. It lasted maybe 3 weeks before they dropped the idea because customers hated it.”
u/fastfood12: “I kept scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to find this answer. If I remember correctly, they didn’t even bother to make sure they owned the domain names and social media handles before making the official announcement.”
u/mlkmakesthecookiewet: “Land Rover dropping “Land Rover” and kinda going with just JLR (Short for Jaguar/Land Rover) but also only referring to each of their vehicles by name only, ex: Discovery, Defender, Range Rover.
I still don’t know if I explained that correctly because it’s that confusing and galactically stupid.”
Royal Mail (UK)
u/BigTurtleSmack: “Royal Mail (UK) has been around for over 500 years and couldn’t have a clearer name/brand. In the 00s they spent millions rebranding to Consignia.
They neglected to tell anyone about it and apparently consignia is Portuguese slang for prostitute. The British public was outraged and after a year they changed the name again.
The new name? Royal Mail.”
u/Zeabos: “Weight Watchers to WW
They tried to be cooler and hip and move away from “weight”. Turns out the only real value they have over the 10 million other diet strategies was their branding.”
u/bitchthatwaspromised” My mother worked in marketing (not at weightwatchers) with the person responsible for that change and she cackles every time she sees it because they were apparently a nightmare to work with and really annoyed her.
So now every time she sees WW she goes on a mini-rant about how stupid that change was and how it probably cost the company so much money in brand recognition and “they’re probably really annoyed at [person responsible] which serves them right””
ClearChannel to iHeartRadio
u/trimondo_blondomina: “Here in the USA, Iheartradio is the owner of the most radio stations here. They own over 850 stations. All of their music stations are standardized garbage. Generally, most people’s grievances against iHeart is that they bought good stations back in the 90’s and turned them into standardized garbage.
I’d argue they’re more a symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself. Also, the other major radio station owners are every bit as awful: Audacy and Cumulus have even more restricted playlists than iHeart does.”
Datsun to Nissan
u/SomeGuyInSanJoseCa: “Datsun had a great reputation while no one knew of Nissan in the US. People viewed Datsun as the equal of Toyota and Honda back then.
It costs a lot of money (like half a billion in the early 80s), and they struggled to change what people called it.”
u/JennyTouchedMyPenis: “I think SunTrust changing to Truist was a terrible decision. SunTrust is a better name and they have should told B&BT that Branch Banking & Trust is horrible and just needs to be dropped. No need to also ruin SunTrust.”
Kentucky Fried Chicken
u/MrSmeee99: “Kentucky Fried Chicken -> KFC I heard this happened because Kentucky wanted to charge businesses for using the name ‘Kentucky’ That is also why the Kentucky Derby was known as the ‘Run for the Roses’ for a number of years”
u/ST616: “It was because they thought the word “fried” had negative connotations.”
u/Emily_Plays_Games: “Mormons stopped calling themselves Mormons because their current leader had been on a personal crusade against the word since the 70s, despite the previous leader championing the “I’m a Mormon” campaign and the “Meet the Mormons” movie.
They want to be viewed as more mainstream Christian, because when you hear “a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” your first thought isn’t “oh Joseph Smith’s buried gold plates and magic underwear”.
Lore-wise though it makes no sense.”
u/Runes_my_ride: “Radio Shack to the Shack, they must’ve had a bunch of idiots running it the last few years it was around. They dumped Verizon for T-Mobile after they paid Catherine Zeta-Jones a ton of $$ for advertising Verizon. Changed up the logo & rebranded as the Shack.
We had a very successful franchise & it fell away very quickly. I still have old customers come up & say they needed something we used to carry just the other day & had to order it online & that they missed being able to just come in & get it.”
u/epicenter69: “Aunt Jemima > Pearl Milling Company
WHO was offended by Aunt Jemima? Seriously.”
u/xkulp8: “White people thinking they speak for blacks, that’s who.”