Belgium chocolate maker ISIS needs to change its name again

Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:55am EDT
 
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By Robert-Jan Bartunek

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Late last year, a Belgian chocolate maker changed its name from Italo Suisse, because the company no longer had any real association with either country. Now it's changing the name again - because the new name it picked was ISIS.

ISIS, of course, is also the acronym derived from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the jihadist group that arose in the Syrian civil war and now has invaded parts of Iraq. The group changed the name to just Islamic State in June, but the chocolate maker was suffering by association.

The company dates back to 1923 and chose the original name because its founder learned his trade in Italy and Switzerland. By 2013, its managers had decided to call it something else.

"We chose ISIS as that was the brand name of our pralines and tablets," marketing manager Desiree Libeert told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. "Had we known there was a terrorist organization with the same name, we would have never chosen that.

"We had international customers saying that they could no longer stock our chocolate as consumers had only negative associations with the name," Libeert said.

The company has now changed its name to "Libeert", the family name of the company's owners.

The company makes more than 5,000 tonnes of chocolate each year, with a turnover of about 35 million euros ($44.17 million).

(Editing by Philip Blenkinsop, Larry King)