In a previous posting, I objected to British Petroleum's effort to rebrand itself as "BP" and "Beyond Petroleum."
An excellent example of this is how the corporate media have gone along with British Petroleum's sleazy marketing ploy to call itself "BP." This marketing scam was created for two purposes.
1) British Petroleum didn't want the portion of the US populace that doesn't follow the news to know that a foreign corporation had bought major US oil companies.
2) Using "BP" allowed them to run these fraudulent "Beyond Petroleum" commercials where British Petroleum had the nerve to actually present itself as an alternative fuels company, a presentation even more offensive given the fact that British Petroleum joined with other Big Oil corporations to lobby against alternative fuels and public transportation while pushing for wars for oil here and in Britain.
This rebranding effort generated a lot of controversy at the time as a greenwashing technique for an environmentally hostile corporation.
Rebranding is an increasingly common deceptive corporate marketing practice. Rebrandings involving name changes are the most extreme, and the most extremely dishonest. However, less drastic rebranding efforts involving changes in logos and ad campaigns also can be used to try to deceive the public about a corporation whose practices are controversial.
Perhaps the most infamous examples of rebranding include Philip Morris's rebranding as "Altria" and Blackwater's rebranding as "Xe." The brand makeovers didn't change the behaviors of the corporations involved, which is exactly what one would expect.
(It should be noted that not all efforts to change logos and ad campaigns fit in the rebranding mode. Often, you will see a product that says "Same Great Product with a New Look" or something similar, though it doesn't have to be this explicit. This is an example of attempting to update and strengthen a brand, not trying to repudiate it when it starts representing things that are undesirable.)
That takes us to the
The "new and improved" GOP is the same as the old one. It's just like detergent.
The teabagger Astroturf "movement" also has been involved in rebranding campaigns. Teabaggers and teabagging were the original labels given to this brand by the HMO and health insurance lobbyists who created it. However, it bombed on TV when teabaggers proudly proclaimed themselves as such, while reporters and anchors were visibly uncomfortable trying to repress laughter.
The writers for the teabagger scam realized that they screwed up the script and would have to do a bit of rebranding. So, they changed the name to "tea partiers" or "tea party movement" and then made up a whopper about liberals making up the name "teabaggers." The corporate media, whose owners and advertisers were pulling the strings for this whole scam, dutifully went along with the rebranding.
One of the main organizing tools that was used by the puppet masters was white supremacy. The right flock in this country is so angry and afraid of having a half black president that they are willing to believe any rumor about President Obama without question.
This is ironic, given the fact, that Obama is supporting a similar rightist, corporate agenda as the teabagger movement. In terms of policy, the right has every reason to be thrilled with the Obama administration and the Democrats. Their "opposition" is pushing a slightly watered down version of their agenda. However, racist fear mongering always trumps reason with the sheeple on the US right.
However, the very same racism that provides much of the social glue for the people suckered into the Astroturf teabagger "movement" makes Teabagger Inc. approved candidates electable in general elections. So, it's off to the second major teabagger rebranding: pretending that their movement isn't racist.
The NAACP's condemnation of racist elements within the teabagger movement was perfectly reasonable, yet it encountered an enormous backlash. The organization violated two of the strongest taboos of our media's political culture. They criticized racism, and they refused to go along with one of corporate American's rebranding campaigns.
When given a choice between actually living up to their rebranding campaign and distancing themselves from the racists, Teabagger Inc, for the most part, went on a wild intimidation campaign. Shirley Sherrod refused to follow the usual script for people of color in the Obama Administration when the right fringe vilifies them. Should stood up for herself.
The wave of racist hysteria among the teabaggers in the midst of this showed that the need for bigotry to motivate the sheep overruled the rebranding campaign. Ms. Sherrod showed us that we can stand up to these incredibly evil people and the moneyed interests that finance them and work very hard to control their message.
There needs to be broader resistance to the right's rebranding efforts. The left needs to stop referring to the mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan as "contractors." We should stop saying that "race" is a problem in this country when racism is the real problem. We should resist all the rebranding campaigns and the bullshit that is slung during them.