Rebranding is so much more than just changing a logo; it’s a company reacting to the culture surrounding it and transforming to cater to that culture. The word “Identity” in Brand Identity should not be taken lightly, a company must literally upgrade their entire persona to stay current with the times. The tricky part is conveying the original essence of the brand, product and service. The key is making sure everyone still recognizes and accepts the company in their new skin. It’s not always successful. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna’ do what everyone thinks I’m gonna’ do and mention the inevitable Gap disaster on this list. At least they had the intelligence to listen to the world’s collaborative feedback, quickly cut their losses and revert back to Plan A.
It’s painful to watch a great brand dive off into the deep end and just keep swimming. We can learn so much from what not to do by looking at other brand’s mistakes. Sit back, grab some stale popcorn and enjoy The Top 10 Worst Corporate Brand Redesigns.
While Tropicana has now reverted back to their original inspired designs, these hit shelves for a long period of time. The company was attempting to make the brand feel more “down to earth” but the result of the project was a transformation that was so far from the original that it felt like a generic store brand as loyal customers passed it by on the shelves.
The original MasterCard icon was a classic mark with a strong foundation. It has 2 circles that play off of the negative space of each other with strips resulting in a minimal optimal icon that feels like 3 simple shapes. Rebranding is about simplifying, and this logo adds unnecessary elements that don’t translate well. It has some very poor uses of shadows, transparency and gradients. Finally, it’s completely off balance to the right making it look chaotic and unfinished.
8. Sierra Mist
Sierra Mist answered their already mediocre (but in it’s own right, fun) brand by updating the green color, adding a photo like forest in the background and making it blurry and hard to look at. Enough said.
When Anderson Consulting rebranded into Accenture, they spent a whopping $100 million to implement the changes. You would think there would be more heart in this logo for that type of cash. It turns out mistake number one is the fact that they let a Marketing Firm name them instead of a Brand Agency. The mark feels meaningless and random although they claim it is supposed to represent the name, which apparently means “accent into the future”. Let’s be real, it’s a greater than symbol and nothing more. Luckily, much of their marketing relies on stunning photography that has helped leverage their strengths.
6. NBC Universal
NBC Universal decided it was time to refresh their iconic brand. When I look at the new logo my first thought is always the same, where is the freakin’ peacock? The peacock is a globally recognized icon and deserves more than an unstyled wordmark replacement. It’s a shame to see a company completely miss an opportunity to leverage a classic.
5. Animal Planet
The latest Animal Planet logo has no significance at all. The animal and globe have been removed from the previous brand and an “A” and sideways “M” now dominates the type. The new wordmark is hard to read and is a horizontal scaling disaster.
Being one of the innovators of the Internet is hard to live up to and AOL proved it with this Rebrand fail. Throwing away their catchy yet professional logo, they now have an awkward negative space wordmark (with a period) that seems to spell “Aol.” instead of AOL. This logo has had mixed reviews, but in my opinion looking at it is worse than listening to 56K dial up sounds.
Myspace was once the leader in Social Media, but the culture surrounding the service grew and the company failed to recognize that. They waited too long to refresh instead of growing with their users as the service expanded and giving them something new. Mysapce tried to counter their loss of revenue with this new design. Off balance and awkward, the new logo has nothing iconic about it and includes a bracket instead of the word “space”. The former chief executive of Myspace even spoke out admitting that marketing should have relaunched the site as “an entirely new brand”.
In a comment piece for the CNN Money website, Mike Jones said that Myspace faced “a variety of organizational challenges” under parent company News Corp, but said it was ultimately held back by failures of marketing. – Source Don’t even get me started on how bad the website design was.
Over a 5-month period and $1 million later, this is what Pepsi Company ended up with. The whole campaign was a visual failure and received heavy negative criticism. This one may have made #8 on this list for its bad choice of design but the plot thickens. The most memorable part of the dreadful rebrand was “Breathtaking,” a 27-page document purported to be the thinking behind Arnell Group’s revamping of Pepsi-Cola’s logo. Littered as it is with marketing jargon, images of yin-yangs, mobius strips and Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.
“Breathtaking” theorizes consumers will feel a gravitational pull elicited by the new logo, one that will lead consumers to fill its shopping carts with Pepsi. At its most extreme, the presentation compares the re-imagined Pepsi globe logo to the Earth’s magnetic fields and the sun’s radiation. “Emotive forces shape the gestalt of the brand identity,” – Source
Here is a look at a few of the bizarre images from the document:
Completely off focused research tactics and complicated, frenzied planning. Pretty sure they weren’t drinking Pepsi in 3000 BC.
“Retain the best of PepsiCo’s history and shape the next PepsiCo bottle into an icon for the brand.” Seriously?
1. Kraft Foods
The original Kraft logo is not an award winning design but it stood the test of time and felt like a true American icon. The new logo has thin typography in 2 different strokes and the fonts are lost. The tagline is written below it in a contrasting font. The red “swoosh” and flamboyant “firework” icon are meaningless and provide nothing to enhance the brand image. The worst part is the “firework” adds an array of completely unnecessary color to the logo. I decided to put together a palette of the entire color scheme of the Kraft logo just to see if it’s as bad as I think. The results were a bit shocking:
If the original brand holds strength under its belt and possesses a simple 2 toned color scheme then cosmetic surgery is not needed. I believe Kraft should have approached this project with simplicity in mind while paying homage to the brand’s iconic history.
On a more positive note, next time I will be talking about The Top 5 Best Corporate Rebrands soon, so stay tuned. What corporate brand redesigns would you add to the worst list? Let us know!
FYI – This Poll is complete. Check out Part 2 of the Top 10 Worst Corporate Rebrands with Poll Results.