By Colleen Jenkins
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Officials at a North Carolina hospital have shelved a new "Cheat Death" slogan meant to encourage healthy habits after complaints from the medical profession and community.
"Our intent was never to offend or incite," Caromont President and Chief Executive Randy Kelley said in a statement on Monday. "We are committed to that aim and believe in it whole heartedly."
The slogan was announced last week as part of a rebranding campaign for the newly named Caromont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, about 20 miles west of Charlotte.
Local government leaders had called for the hospital to reconsider the slogan, saying it had a negative connotation and did not suit the conservative community.
"We were getting calls from employees who were embarrassed by it," said Jason Williams, a Gaston County commissioner who serves on the hospital's board.
"We were getting calls from some people who thought it was plain silly to ministers and religious leaders who thought the term was blasphemous."
Kelley had said the hospital was looking for an edgy way to motivate people to eat better and exercise more.
Caromont also planned to partner with athletic clubs and restaurants to offer "Cheat Death" workouts and menu options. Those programs could still be implemented under a different name, Caromont spokeswoman Dallas Paddon said.
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins)