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Change the Name, Change the Perception, and Change the Effect

Changing names is a technique to change perception of the thing renamed. Very quickly the past images drop off, and the newly named thing; person or entity, becomes new. We perceive these changes subconsciously; and the ones doing the renaming are aware of this.

Kentucky Fried Chicken has been "KFC" since 1999. I don't think anyone says "Kentucky Fried Chicken" any more. KFC is short and hip. We don't have time for a lot of syllables. The word chicken is absent; we still get to eat them, just don't have to acknowledge that we do.

Radio Shack is now "The Shack." That brings up some kind of weird imagery for me on the seedy side.

Oil of Olay changed it's brand name to just Olay a few years ago; the word "oil" conveyed a message of heaviness, clogged pores, and unhealthy. Now everyone relates to Olay, and not many remember Oil of Olay.

On a far more insidious level are the following name changes:

Blackwater has changed its name to Xe. A very interesting change; the Xe denotes hipness to be sure, an X box kind of thing, fresh, sharp, scientific even. And, difficult to pronounce, which mirrors their hidden agendas: just what is Xe anyway, the subconscious struggles to identify. (Xe is pronounced "zee" which has nothing to do with x or e in any combination.)

Aspartame is the now cheerful AminoSweet. Still scientific sounding, giving it an authority that we are to trust, and much easier to prounounce. It's not ponderous like Aspartame, and has a little happy kick to it with the added word "sweet." Sweet is good, sweet is fun, sweet is impossible to resist. (As loathe as I am to link to a Jeff Rense page, here's an article the name change and origin of Aspartame.)

Wackenhut is now Geo Group. Wackenhut always sounded well, wacky. Nutty, kind of psycho. Geo Group is gentler, at least on the surface. Geo sends a signal of the world, in a pleasant National Geographic way; we're exploring, we're discovering, we're floating on a blue sea... it also has a bit of a scientific aura about it. And group: all together now. We're in this as one; bobbing along. Underneath that new name is a stronger and fascistic message: we are world dominators. (Wakenhut's presence is a strong one, and have been the goons of choice in protecting BP in the gulf. )

Last year the Obama administration worked hard at getting the message out about the swine flu. Which was, don't call it swine flu. It's the H1N1 outbreak, or virus, but not "swine flu." This is a sort of reverse tweaking of labels; swine flu was kind of cute. They even put out a swine flu plushie to help spread the word that getting vaccinated was the right thing to do. Others had aversions to the use of the word swine or pig; for religious reasons, as well as fear from agri-business that people would stop eating pork. H1N1 is clinical, clean, and serious. It's matter of fact, not cute, not offensive to one's beliefs, and not evocative of food that will poison you.