Poor rebranding efforts are those that evoke a ’So what?’ or ’What does that mean?’ response, which suggests the logo and its communication have failed to connect. Recently, the global Pepsi rebrand evoked a largely negative response, but it is nowhere near as bad as when Coca-Cola launched New Coke in the 1980s and then promptly withdrew it and instead released Coca-Cola Classic. To tamper with a favourite in design and product formula is a recipe for disaster.
Chris Nurko, Global chairman, FutureBrand
The biggest blunder in recent times has to be Consignia [a short-lived rebrand of the Royal Mail], but the popular outrage was not just about the name, but also the treatment of it. If you work for an organisation with 300 years of heritage, you can’t simply replace it with a generic swoosh. It’s just wrong and it won’t stick. It will be interesting to see what happens to British Airways when someone decides to change the name. How do you retain the heart and soul of a well-known brand like this if you remove the word British? Cross my palm with silver and I’ll tell you.
Marksteen Adamson, Creative director, Arthur Steen Horne Adamson
Back in the playground you were either a Marathon man or joined those softy space cadets with their Milky Ways. Marathon mattered. It was big, strong, challenging, exciting (without sounding too camp) – everything those misguided brand strategists ripped out of it as they ignored their young fan base and Snickered at us. The product didn’t change, but the memories did, which is what happens when unsavoury branding leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Bryan Edmondson, Partner, Sea Design
How many times have we all heard a high-profile rebrand met with public outcry? The ’Wispa effect’ has seen the public claim ownership of the Gap brand, raised awareness of its long-lived aesthetic and encouraged columnists to tickle their keyboards. What other PR stunt or ad campaign could have triggered the same response? In my view, Gap’s recent about-turn shouldn’t be written off as a failure. After all, as sales go up, the client gets happier.
David Azurdia, Founding partner, Magpie Studio