ISIS, ISES, ICES: What should you do if you’re confused with militants?

Reality, Parody, Tragedy, World Affairs, Satire, Conjecture by Andy Ebon

Not the International Special Event Society
Not the International Special Event Society

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been traveling for business. My consumption of news has been minimal, which is unusual for me. Prior to this, my pals in the Special Event Biz were celebrating their industry and association in the Emerald City of Seattle. The event was ISESLIVE 2014 (August 18-20; the organization is ISES (International Special Event Society).

And then, from total obscurity, a militant group in the Middle East rose to headlines, TV crawls, and social mediaISISWith each utterance of the militant organization’s name, ISIS, the homophone of the names, ISIS and ISES, became distracting and annoying to me (I couldn’t have been the only one… could I?)

In moments of fatigue and daydreaming, I thought,

“Could this become a Saturday Night Live skit turning name-confusion on its head. A scenario where terrorist group members become distraught because they aren’t getting noticed, but confused with a group of international event professionals who produce massive and creative events?”

My musings and somewhat demented humor were trashed by reality, when two American journalists beheaded for a world audience, with the aid of internet distribution. These events triggered different thoughts: Business-marketing oriented conjecture.

“How many existing organizations or companies use the precise acronym or name, ISIS? How many others use a spelling variation, such as ISES or ICES? Finally, how soon would one or more these entities feel compelled to change its name due to confusion, guilt by association, or being the target of ridicule?”

It didn’t take long for this headline to show up

ISIS-Softcard“ISIS Wallet becomes Softcard to avoid confusion with militant group

FYI: This headline is NOT parody. The spin doctors at ISES Wallet went to work, IMMEDIATELY.

Curiosity now piqued, I consulted the trusty resource, Wikipedia, looking up ISIS and found dozens upon dozens of entities using that precise spelling.

Further research found about eight organizations named ISES, including the International Solar Energy Society, and  International Society of Exposure Science.

Under ICES, I found any number of entities, such as: International Cake Exploration Societé, ICESInternational Cultural Exchange Services  “Promoting a more peaceful world by advancing international awareness and cultural understanding to thousands of exchange students from all over the world”… go figure.

There were more ICES groups;  but then I drifted into thoughts of pizza, and did a search for ITALIAN ICES. Lots of connections, there, but I digress.

Association issues, more than confusion issues

In cases of businesses with similar or identical names, there are processes for sorting such things out. Two or more companies, in distant states, with the same business name shouldn’t create much confusion.

The bigger issue is name-association negativity as experienced by ISIS Wallet™, which, despite owning a trademarked name, elected to change to Softcard to completely separate itself from the name recognition of ISIS, the militant group.

It will be a good day when the militant group, ISIS, is a distant memory.

Andy Ebon


Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

Education Expert

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