The Zika virus, which has been spreading across South America and has people in the US panicking, has had an unexpected fallout in faraway India. Tata Motors was all set to launch its new hatchback, rather unfortunately named Zica, when news of the virus outbreak started grabbing headlines last month. Tata realized that it would be hard to market a car that was named after a virus killing thousands of people, and decided to rebrand Zica.
The company had launched a month-long campaign to rename the hatchback. Netizens from across the world were invited to re-christen Zica, and after 37,000 votes, the company settled on Tiago. The remaing of the car was “the right and responsible action following the hardships caused by the virus outbreak across many countries”, Tata said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time that an innocuous brand name has been taken over by events beyond a company’s control. ISIS’ rise in the Middle East had spelled trouble for thousands of businesses named Isis. Isis, incidently, is also an Egyptian goddess, and businesses had a hard time dealing with the changing connotations of their brand name. Version 0.3 of Linux distribution’s elementary OS, which was originally to be called Isis, was renamed Freya, and fans of rock band Isis had said that they now felt uncomfortable wearing the band’s branded T-shirts.