Sometimes a company’s rebranding efforts make sense. Research in Motion was probably better off simply calling itself Blackberry, the company’s best-known product, and it’s understandable that Philip Morris tried to distance itself from ties to tobacco and cancer by renaming itself with a selfless-sounding but ultimately meaningless word, Altria. Meanwhile, sometimes a brand is basically forced to get a new name, like the poor chocolate manufacturer that had the misfortune of sharing a name with the terrorist group ISIS.
Still, to the casual consumer and even to some marketing experts, other rebranding campaigns seem misguided, puzzling, or just plain stupid. The latest questionable brand rename comes from Budweiser beer, which will be labeled as “America” on bottles, cans, and packaging this summer.
“We thought nothing was more iconic than Budweiser and nothing was more iconic than America,” said Tosh Hall, creative director at the company’s branding firm JKR, according to Fast Company.
Beyond the oddness of renaming a beer after a country, what’s not mentioned in the quote above is that the company in question that makes Budweiser is Anheuser-Busch InBev, and this company is not American. Since a 2008 merger, this global corporation’s headquarters have been in Belgium, not in St. Louis or anywhere else in the U.S.—and no amount of sponsoring “Made in America” festivals or slapping stars and stripes or the word “America” on cans of Bud will change that.
But Budweiser is hardly the only brand that’s been changed for reasons that are curious at best. Here are a few other examples.