Isis re-branding: The organisations with the same name facing an image problem
A US mobile payment service has changed its name to avoid confusion with the militant group
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Thursday 04 September 2014
Isis is re-branding. Not the Islamic militant group, that is, but the company who unfortunately shares the same name.
The US mobile payment platform Isis has now re-named itself Softcard in a bid to distance itself from the group, which recently beheaded two American journalists and threatened a British hostage with the same fate.
Isis fighters have been committing brutal acts and violent mass executions across swathes of Iraq and Syria, much to the widespread horror and revulsion of the world.
In a blog post on the company’s website, Softcard CEO Michael Abbott said that no matter how coincidental, the company has "no desire" to share a name with this group. "Our hearts go out to those affected by this violence," he added.
But Softcard is far from alone in the branding challenge it faces.
In fact, there were 46 girls born in Britain who were named Isis, according to the BBC, most likely in homage to the Egyptian goddess of fertility.
The US metal band Isis said it had been receiving abuse comments on line from people apparently mistaking them for the extremist group.
The band’s unfortunate title forced them to change the title of their official Facebook page from Isis to ‘Isis the band’, which has over 170,000 likes.
The Isis effect spread further than their name, with former drummer Aaron Harris telling ABC News fans had emailed to say they felt “reluctant” to wear the band’s T-shirts now.
Meanwhile, Ann Summers was forced to apologise after launching an ‘Isis’ underwear range, saying the name had been chosen six months ago and it “was too late to change it.”
The list of things named Isis stretches on - Oxford’s The Isis Magazine was established over a century ago in 1892, long before the al-Qai-ida off-shoot came to prominence, while the International Student Internship Scheme shares the same acronym.
However, the Institute for Science and International Security has taken a different approach to dealing with its acronym – by asking the media to please stop using its acronym and "choose another alternative" instead.
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