Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The names may change but the players stay the same

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.
By Laviyah E. Nahum (KNN Staff)

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.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, 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? See:

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