Just as celebrities continue to chase the elusive elixir of youth, brands too are constantly trying to look young and stay relevant in this high-churn consumerist world.
But there’s a danger of going too far, reinventing the brand in a way that makes it unrecognisable to its fans. There’s a lesson for us all that Bridget Jones’ Diary actress Renee Zelwegger has to share. Earlier this week she stepped onto the red carpet at ELLE’s 21st annual Women In Hollywood Awards in California without the slightest semblance of her former self.
Of course Zelwegger isn’t the first celeb to go too far at the plastic surgeon’s office. And plenty of brands have taken the knife to their best features. Although unlike Renee, brands have always got the option of reinstating their former appearances.
Here’s a list of branding face lifts gone wrong:
Back in 2010 the popular clothing brand gave its well-known navy and white logo a retouch. Customers were not impressed. A torrent of disgruntled fans took to social media to vent their frustrations with GAP later announcing on its Facebook page it was reverting back to the original logo.
2. The Royal mail
Consignia. What? Is that some sort of infection? Nope. It’s what The Royal Mail in the UK rebranded itself to in 2002. Needless to say it attracted much media attention, with the British version of Marketing Mag reporting the letter and parcel company was changing its name and look again to Royal Mail Group.
Head back a couple of decades and you’ll find Coca-Cola even opted for a name-change.
Ben Taylor, head of strategy at Vizeum Australia says: “So the story goes Coca-Cola changed to ‘New Coke’ in 1985 on the back of declining sales. The backlash and outcry showed a number of things: great brands can carry huge equity in people’s lives that goes beyond reason (a lot of people agreed the new Coke tasted better than old). The litmus test for rebranding doesn’t happen in consumer research groups, it happens in culture where opinions are voiced, shared and amplified.”
“Ironically, the re-introduction of classic Coke (old Coke) arrested the decline in sales alongside Cherry Coke. Ultimately, by trying to build a better product and change a brand, they awoke people’s true feelings for the brand, eventually gave them what they wanted and they became more happy as a result.
“So maybe the lesson is this: Brands help people make decisions about companies. People help companies make decisions about brands.”
In 2009 food brand Kraft introduced a new look.
US-based freelance graphic designer, Matt Cannon, was pleased when Kraft took baulked and went back to its old design. Writing for online design site, Graphic Design, Cannon said the worst part about the rebrand was the firework bit which “added an array of completely unnecessary colour to the logo”.
5. Pizza Hut
Home of the all you can eat salad bar, pizza and chocolate mousse, Pizza Hut had an idea to shake things up and call itself ‘The Hut’.
The move enlisted a gale of laughter from the media with the company issuing a statement that it wasn’t going to change its name after all.
“Pizza Hut is not changing its name. We are proud of our name and heritage and will continue to be Pizza Hut. We do use ‘The Hut’ in some of our marketing efforts,” said Brian Niccol, CMO, Pizza Hut, Inc, according to CBS News.
“To the loyal fans of Pizza Hut and pizza lovers around the world, we’re happy to tell you that nothing is changing, we’re still Pizza Hut, America’s Favorite Pizza.”
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