Monday, Feb. 08, 2010

It's the Sears Tower

It would be nice to attach your company's name to the tallest building in the western hemisphere, especially when the building's namesake hasn't occupied the space for more than 17 years. But when Willis Group Holdings decided to buy the rights to rebrand Chicago's Sears Tower as the Willis Tower on July 16, 2009, the London-based insurance company had no idea how strongly the Windy City felt about its 110-story icon. Local news outlets ran stories about angry residents. More than 97,000 Facebook users joined the group People Against the Sears Tower Name Change, and thousands more signed the online petition It' Willis executives shouldn't have been surprised by Chicagoans' strong sense of tradition. Residents are still mad at Macy's for changing the name of its local department-store chain from Marshall Fields — a move that happened nearly three years ago.