Philip Morris changing name to...Altria?
November 16, 2001 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Philip Morris changing name to...Altria? According to this SF Chronicle story, Philip Morris is trying to distance itself from tobacco by changing its name to Altria Group. Rumor has it the name is short for "Alternate Reality," which is where PM executives think they're living. (link via NextDraft.)
posted by me3dia (22 comments total)
I mean, come on, what the hell is Altria? Like we're going to forget who they are.
posted by me3dia at 12:56 PM on November 16, 2001

"Altria cigarette"
posted by edlundart at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2001

I guess Maligna was taken.
posted by geronimo_rex at 1:02 PM on November 16, 2001

Philip Morris management corporation, the parent company of Philip Morris USA (the tobacco division), Kraft, Miller, and PM International is trying to change it's name. The divisions will maintain their names. This is subject to shareholder approval. Still, it kinda creeps me out like the "We're Beatrice" ads from the eighties.
posted by machaus at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2001

The same thing happened here in Spain where the state-owned (!) cigarette company, Tabacalera, changed its name to Altadis before going public (strange similarity in names?). Being a smoker, I preferred them being public so I could tell non-smokers to stop hassling me because it was their company! Still, it made the health warnings from the goverment on the packet a bit hard to take seriously. Of course if you bought their cigarettes in Andorra you didn't have to worry about your health because there were absolutely no health warnings.
posted by Zootoon at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2001

Philip Morris management trying to change its name.

Sorry, I guess I should have made that a little clearer.

There was a diner in my home town called "Gold Eagle." It was run by mobsters, and they changed the name and ownership every year to avoid paying taxes. Everybody still called the place Gold Eagle. Won't most people still call Altria "Philip Morris," in spite of the name change? Most people still call it Anderson Consulting, even though they're now Accenture.
posted by me3dia at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2001

Why do they do it? Because it works. In place of facts, postmodernism gives us PR.
posted by yesster at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2001

> Rumor has it the name is short for "Alternate Reality,"
> which is where PM executives think they're living.

What's news? They've already spent the last fifty years on a planet where nicotine isn't addicting and cigarettes don't cause cancer.
posted by jfuller at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2001

Perhaps the name is also supposed to evoke images of an altruistic corporation.

posted by SilentSalamander at 1:40 PM on November 16, 2001

The logo (subject to shareholder approval):

posted by waxpancake at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2001

Anyone else get a kick out of the fact hat the CEO's last name is "Bible?"

"But mom, Marlboros are good for me. The Bible told me so."
posted by emptyage at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2001

What's that logo supposed to be? The blown-up CAT scan of the lung of a lung disease patient?
posted by SilentSalamander at 1:53 PM on November 16, 2001


The glyph is way too big compared to the logotype, and otherwise mismatched to boot. And what's up with that blue-red shift? Is that the before and after shots of someones bronchial tubes?
posted by silusGROK at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2001

Ah man... SilentSalamander beat me to it.
posted by silusGROK at 2:10 PM on November 16, 2001

It looks kind of a like distorted version of the wipala, the flag of the incas.
posted by signal at 3:29 PM on November 16, 2001

Today's New York Times has some information on the name change:
The company hired an image consulting firm, Landor Associates, which developed a long list of possible names and helped the company winnow it. Names on the short list included "Consumarc" and "Marcade," both of which carried connotations of the consumer marketplace and brand names, Mr. Parrish said. The corporate practice of adopting vague, faux-Latinate names can help companies shed their image problems, said Michael Thibodeau, creative director of the New York office of FutureBrand, a consulting firm based in New York and London. Love that "vague, faux-Latinate."
posted by Carol Anne at 3:52 PM on November 16, 2001

Somewhat related (showing how hated the PM name is): I was at a conference once where a guy from Philip Morris addressed the crowd. He started by saying something like, "I bet the guys from Microsoft are glad i'm here..." The point being that Philip Morris is the only company hated more than Microsoft. Maybe you had to be there...
posted by bradlauster at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2001

"Consumarc"? Good grief, no wonder they chose "Altria".

Which, by the way, is a delicacy among the post-punk rock restaurants on the Gulf Coast.
posted by dhartung at 6:23 PM on November 16, 2001

Good article on Landor Assoc. from Salon, circa 1999.

On Agilent:
Among Landor's rival name-slingers around the Bay Area, the choice of Agilent was immediately greeted with snorts of derision. "The most namby-pamby, phonetically weak, light-in-its-shoes name in the entire history of naming," declared Rick Bragdon, president of the naming firm Idiom. "It's like a parody of a Landor name. It's insipid. It's ineptly rendered ... It ought to be taken out back and shot."
posted by amanda at 6:58 PM on November 16, 2001

posted by verdezza at 7:30 PM on November 16, 2001

I read about this in Blather, whose comment is nicely done.
posted by aflakete at 1:44 AM on November 17, 2001

Altria Health Care Co Unhappy With Philip Morris Planned Name Change to Altria.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:21 PM on November 21, 2001

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