Famous rebranding failures, successes, and yet to be seen
We can all probably think of a logo rebranding that we hated more than one that we liked. When a company decides to rebrand, it can be very good, but as we have seen in the past, they can go very badly and with much more infamy than a successful logo. Let’s take a look at some infamous logo rebranding disasters and why they didn’t work, and some winners and why they succeeded.
This is probably the most infamous rebranding in the past 10 years, which resulted in a $30 million sales loss in just a little over a month! The new look came and went so fast, just under 2 months, that probably most consumers never saw or remembered that short-lived brand shuffle. Luckily for me, the designer in the next office has an actual before and after carton on her credenza… sort of like a shrine to bad branding. As you can see, there are really no recognizable elements from the old packaging on the new. After spending millions on an ad campaign for the rebrand, the backlash from consumers was swift and merciless. It seemed that no one in marketing considered how attached consumers were to the old look with the iconic straw in the orange. The new look was so far removed from the original that consumers didn’t realize it was Tropicana and walked right by it, or mistook it for a cheap store brand. Lesson learned, the straw in the orange came back and still graces the refrigerator cases at your local grocers to this day.
Pepsi has gone through many brand changes since coming to fruition in 1903 as a drink to aid in digestion. Originally called Brad’s Drink, Pepsi has struggled to find its face. The newest logo change came after 5 months of design and a million-dollar price tag (I would have done it for a half million). Pepsi’s launch faced an onslaught of negative reviews from critics and consumers alike but unlike Tropicana, the new branding has stuck around. Their major competitor Coca-Cola has not gone through as many rebrands, but they are also struggling with slumping sales.
The New Diet Coke.
Sales of bottled water and sparkling low-calorie water continues to increase, while diet sodas are taking it hard in the gut. As I’m writing this article, interestingly enough Coca-Cola just unveiled their new Diet Coke campaign with a plethora of new flavors, new logo, and a new slimmer can (no pun intended), but still holds 12oz. The rebrand and flavors are aimed squarely at the finicky millennial market. Each flavor has their own tongue-in-cheek tagline. Zesty Blood Orange “Because Zesty is Besty,” Cherry “Because Cherries aren’t so innocent” (I’m not going there), Twisted Mango “because sane mangos are boring,” Ginger Lime “because ginger and lime are friends” (I thought Mary Ann and Ginger were friends), and regular Diet Coke “because it’s fizzing delicious.” President Trump loves his Diet Coke, but now he’ll have 4 additional flavors to choose from for his 12-a-day habit. The new cans are desperately trying to scream, “we are young and hip.” We’ll see if this new look will succeed or fizzle out like Coke Zero, which was replaced by Coke Zero Sugar, strangely, both with identical ingredients.
First of all, I didn’t really think that Uber was around long enough to need rebranding, but the powers that be wanted everyone to know that they were not just in the people moving business, and that they were evolving. I’m not sure I’m getting all that with the new logo. I still have trouble identifying the icon when looking for my Uber app and have passed right by it. Some have compared it to a Packman, some to other unmentionable apertures. The design process was kept in-house overseen by CEO Travis Kalanick, who is not a designer, but “read up on it.” What was universally panned at the launch has become normalized over time.
Master Card – Thumbs up!
After a rebrand that failed badly in 2006, the new logo revealed in 2016, hit a home run. One of best-known icons since its inception in 1968, the 2 intersecting circles have been updated with brighter colors and is still recognizable even without the wordmark. The consistent use of the simple overlapping circles through the years maintains consumers trust in the brand. Something that Tropicana learned the hard way.