VCU branding expert on cancellation of Redskins trademark registration

Kelly O’Keefe, professor of creative brand management in the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, part of the School of Business, is available to discuss his view that the Washington Redskins should change their name, saying "they will have to act at some point." Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”

“The patent office is right,” O’Keefe said. “The logo and name are just plain offensive. The owners should use this as a catalyst to change the brand and change it fast. Fans will hate them for a while, but loyal fans won’t leave them over a name and it’s the right move. If they don’t act now, they will have to act at some point, so just get it over with.”

The VCU Brandcenter is the first graduate program in advertising to combine business-oriented communications strategy and brand management tracks with a creative program for art directors and copywriters in a business setting. It was formed to develop the skills of talented postgraduates, enabling them to enter the business world with a highly competitive portfolio of collaborative thinking.

O'Keefe has extensive experience consulting with businesses and others on branding strategies and has worked with such entities as Wal-Mart, Hamilton Beach, Honeywell, Home Depot and Sesame Street. He has spoken to reporters previously about such brand-related topics as AIG, American automakers, the marketing of "The Simpsons," Disney's purchase of Marvel, guerilla marketing, franchise filmmaking, re-branding the Sci-Fi Network, online customer reviews, Super Bowl advertising and product placement, among many other issues.



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Kelly O’Keefe
Kelly O’Keefe