Axon name change will help distance brand from calls of police brutality.
Who could forget the dude-cry heard ’round the world, the helpless cry of a University of Florida journalism student who tried to evade would-be police brutality by crying out, “Don’t tase me, bro!” before that exact outcome occurred. The line itself has become a meme, and has even been copyrighted by its original speaker, and yes, T-shirts are available for sale on his website.
Student victim Andrew Meyer stood at a mic to ask a question in a town hall-style forum of then Senator John Kerry. Some reports say that Meyer intruded on the event and simply began shouting questions, while others say his questions weren’t being answered and he therefore became more persistent.
Unsurprisingly, the court of public opinion turned to police brutality rather than college antics. Meyer was on the ground, pinned by officers, when someone decided to “tase” him. While Tasers are one of the weapons in the law enforcement arsenal that are supposed to prevent use of life-threatening force, there are concerns that its very non-lethal status has made police trigger happy with the device.
Change of name, change of perception
Now, the company who manufactures the device, Taser International, Inc., is changing its name in an effort to move public perception away from the law enforcement weapon and more in the direction of its software venture. Taser’s software division already makes up about one-fourth of its annual revenue, yet with the “household name” object of force, the company has concerns that Taser isn’t a highly marketable name for the tech sector. Even worse, some customers could think it’s a “knock off” company that is un-associated with the trusted law enforcement gear.
One stop shop
Taser, whose new name will be Axon, also sells body cameras, patrol car cameras, and the software that powers both of those types of items. The move to Axon is a step towards enticing police departments to go to a paid subscription model for their software. The namesake device will still be known as a Taser and still be manufactured by Axon, and as society has currently shown, it will probably still be Axon’s top selling product.