Zurich Insurance has removed its ‘Z’ logo from certain social media channels and is considering scrapping the icon entirely as the letter becomes a symbol for Kremlin support.
The Swiss insurance giant, whose logo is a large white Z on a blue background, is removing the design from anywhere it could be “misinterpreted” after the letter became a staunchly pro-war and pro-Vladimir Putin symbol in Russia.
“We are temporarily removing the use of the letter ‘Z’ from social channels where it appears in isolation and could be misinterpreted,” the insurer told The Telegraph, adding that further steps may have to be taken as its icon becomes associated with war.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely and will take further actions if and when required. The Zurich brand has been around for 150 years. It is a trusted brand and we have proven our ability to change and respond to challenges over time.”
At the start of the war the ‘Z’ symbol was used by only a handful of people to show their support for Russian soldiers, but it has since gone mainstream and is no longer just a letter of the alphabet.
After rising to prominence following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, the letter has appeared on Russian army vehicles, roads, cars, buildings and t-shirts in a public sign of support for Vladimir Putin and his campaign.
Earlier this month a Russian cancer charity organised for children and their mothers to line up in a giant ‘Z’ in the snow to show Kremlin support. Separately, during the Gymnastic World Cup in Doha, Russian athlete Ivan Kuliak wore the letter ‘Z’ on his kit at the medal ceremony. Videos on social media have also shown Russians wearing identical black sweatshirts emblazoned with a white ‘Z’ and shouting support for Putin and his war.
Zurich has turned away from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine and is no longer taking on new domestic customers in the country. It is one of Europe’s biggest insurers with a market cap of $66.5bn (£50.4bn).