Insights / branding

Epic Fail: Rebranding Disasters

I’ve often wanted to use my imaginary superpowers and transform myself into a fly so I could sit on the wall and witness the madness and thinking that goes into bad ideas and campaigns. It could be fun, so long as I’m not swatted into oblivion. That might sound a bit harsh, but after reading this, you’ll probably agree and say to yourself: “What were they thinking?!?”

I stumbled upon an article on MSNBC appropriately entitled “Make the logo bigger: 10 rebranding disasters” and I got a good chuckle out of it. I also learned a few things, which is why I feel this is Mason blog worthy.

The article references some of my favorite brand blunders, most recently the Tropicana orange juice packaging fiasco. If you don’t remember, PepsiCo decided it would be a good idea to change the entire look of the Tropicana orange juice carton. The result? The new look created confusion amongst the public. Hordes of unhappy customers bombarded PepsiCo with emails, phone calls and letters complaining about the new look and requested a change back to the familiar packaging. Power to the people – the efforts worked! PepsiCo reverted back to the existing design and all is happy in the world of orange juice. You can read my original blog post on this specific issue by clicking here.

The MSNBC article goes on to cite some recent rebranding disasters, including London’s new version of the Olympic logo, Radio Shack trying to be hip by referring to itself as “The Shack“, Capital One desperately tried to update its look with the overplayed, boring swoosh design, and in a poor effort to “start fresh”, Comcast changed their name to Xfinity in 11 of its U.S. markets. Seriously?

I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of rebranding efforts for all kinds of clients, ranging from smaller local businesses to major national brands. It’s what we do and we’ve some great success stories along the way. The one thing I’ve learned is that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Many companies get overexcited and feel that a new name, a new logo, or a new “mission” will “fix things” and help them dominate the market place. I’m not quite sure what the reasoning is in some cases, but it couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth. I couldn’t have said it any better than the article itself.

“The lesson? A successful rebranding involves overhauling a company’s goals, message and culture – not just changing a name or logo.”

Case closed and I couldn’t agree more, but I would like to hear some personal stories or alternative thoughts on this.