Five companies that underwent major rebrands

Facebook joins long line of organisations and corporations that switched names

Facebook on Thursday announced it is changing its name to Meta, joining a long list of well-known companies that have undergone major rebrands.

The new name is meant to reflect the technology company's shifting focus on its virtual "metaverse" world, which chief executive Mark Zuckerberg showcased during Facebook's annual conference on virtual and augmented reality.

Here are five other companies that taken on new names:

Google becomes Alphabet

FILE - This Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, reports earnings on Monday, July 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Search behemoth Google — worth more than $400 billion at the time — shockingly announced in 2015 that it was changing its name to Alphabet, a technology conglomerate.

“We liked the name 'Alphabet' because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search,” former chief executive Larry Page said in a blog post.

The “slimmed-down” Google allowed investors to focus on the strengths of the core search business.

Alphabet would take on some of the riskier ventures including genetic engineering and self-driving cars.

Just call us Dunkin'

Dunkin' Donuts launched the tagline “America runs on Dunkin'” in 2006 and, after months of testing over a decade later, dropped “Donuts” from its name and logo.

Growing pressure from coffee chains and changes in Americans' eating habits led the company to shift its focus to drinks, which Dunkin' Brands chief executive David Hoffmann said has a higher margin for profit than its food.

The 2018 rebrand, complete with a new, modern logo, was meant to reflect a more streamlined concept.

“By simplifying and modernising our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin’," Mr Hoffman said.

But doughnuts are still on the menu and the chain sells billions of the pastries every year.

Will the real WWF please stand up?

In 2002, the world's biggest wrestling company was forced to change its name after a legal battle.

The World Wrestling Federation, as it was then known, found itself in trouble with the World Wildlife Fund. The wilderness preservation charity had branded itself under the same abbreviation, WWF, 18 years before the Federation.

The World Wildlife Fund in 1994 insisted the Federation sign a legal document ensuring the wrestling company would limit its use of WWF outside of North America. In return, the Fund would not press further charges.

But the wrestling company largely ignored the agreement and continued to brand itself as WWF worldwide, going so far as to register a web domain nearly identical with that of the Fund. Following the wrestling boom of the late 1990s, Federation chief Vince McMachon's company landed in hot water again.

The charity successfully sued the Federation in 2000, forcing Mr McMahon to rebrand his wrestling empire.

Mr McMahon changed the wrestling company's name in 2002 to World Wrestling Entertainment, where it eventually came to be known simply as WWE.

Standard Oil gets broken up

Famed entrepreneur John D Rockefeller's Standard Oil company once controlled more than 90 per cent of oil production in the US. As a result, an antitrust suit was filed in 1906, with the company accused of raising prices where it had a monopoly and slashing prices where it faced competition.

The oil company was broken up into 34 different companies in 1911, primarily based on geographical region. Two of these successor companies are now the largest oil companies in the US: Chevron and ExxonMobil.

In 2000, Chevron acquired Texaco in a deal valued at $45 billion, becoming ChevronTexaco — only to drop “Texaco” from its name a few years later.

A year earlier, two of Standard Oil's largest offshoots reunited in a blockbuster merger.

Exxon, part of the Standard Oil New Jersey branch, signed a $75.3bn merger agreement with the New York successor, Mobil. Following this merger, the company rebranded itself as ExxonMobil and is now Standard Oil's largest direct descendant.

Livestrong nixes Armstrong

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas.Armstrong, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the cyclist who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career.  (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)

Following the biggest doping scandal in cycling history, the Lance Armstrong Foundation changed its name to Livestrong in 2012 to distance itself from the disgraced American cyclist.

Armstrong founded the charity in 1997 after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and before his first Tour de France title.

In October 2012, Armstrong announced he was stepping down as chairman of the foundation after the International Cycling Union stripped him of his seven Tour de France wins.

That followed an earlier report from the US Anti-Doping Agency accusing him of running the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

The foundation soon changed its name to Livestrong — the word inscribed on its signature yellow wristbands.

“All of us — especially Lance — wanted Livestrong to have a presence that was bigger than its founder,” board member Mark McKinnon said.

Updated: October 28th 2021, 8:57 PM
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