Happy April fools day, a couple of days ago. Seriously, the e-newsletter is no joke. In this issue we look at brand, marketing and design mistakes and the fools that made them.
When we perform a branding or re-branding exercise, our work is scrutinised, poked and looked at from every angle. Our concepts often go to focus groups. While the idea of a parent holding a child close is not a bad idea, the execution, well, deserves that the designer is executed!
I love this, simple enough, the sun setting over a pagoda. You can just imagine the designer totally immersed in creating and delivering his concept, never swaying from his/her vision. And then somebody approved it. It just makes me happy. But it does look painful.
Coke, but not as you know it
Possibly the most stupid idea ever, yes in April 1985, Coke decided to take a 99 year old massively popular recipe and change it. After the public went ballistic, to say the least, come July of the same year, the product was withdrawn. Typically, Coke has tried to put a positive spin on the disaster on their own website. If it ain't broke...
For the love of the domain
Choosing a domain is a hard task at the best of times. It often feels like there is nothing left to choose from and you start inserting hyphens and considering suffixes like .idiot. Take care, there can be hidden messages in domain names. These companies really did choose these domains, clearly not seeing those hidden messages.
Try this for size: www.speedofart.com – it takes a while to work it out, but it's Speed Of Art. How about www.penisland.com – is it a website for a mystical place populated by penises or an island full of pens. Hard to know.
If you want to see more, here's an extract from my book, Know Your Onions: Web Design.
If you are launching an international advertising campaign, it might be a good idea to go through a localisation process. Electrolux innocently focused on the machines attributes of 'sucking' and the power inherent. However, our pals across the pond's interpretation of the word 'suck' is less than complimentary.
Mind the Gap
Gap, the fashion retailer decided their perfectly good logo needed a re-design. The new logo, launched in 2010 did not go down well. The public spoke – no they shouted – and the new logo quickly got withdrawn. "There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we'll handle it in a different way." Marka Hansen, president of the Gap brand in North America. The original GAP logo isn't the best in the world, but the re-design is one of the worst.
Still not right
The 2012 Olympic logo is without doubt original. A very bold step in the field of corporate identity for the world's biggest sporting event. Using one of our biggest and most respected branding organisations. The logo left was divisive to say the least. We were told that we would come to 'understand it and love it'. Did that happen? Setting aside the Lisa Simpson references, it just didn't work. thank goodness the event did.
The critics were wrong
British Council, one of our highly esteemed clients, went through a re-brand in 2004. The old logo (right), designed in 1985, did not stand up to application to new media. The circles 'broke down' at small sizes, so something had to be done. The new and current design is built on the early principles of circles and the abstract Union Jack flag, and updated for the modern age. Here we are in 2017, and despite the press slamming it as 'un-British' at the time of launch, it stands up as a strong and clear, recognisable mark.
Equity and how to keep it
It's easy to make mistakes. Especially if you have too much of an internal focus and don't stand back and take a look at your project from other people's perspective. Here's a couple of tips:
• Leave your taste at home, what you like may not be what your clients/customers like.
• Listen to your agency and other stakeholders, they will have a subjective view and less of a hidden agenda.
• Even if you are embarking on a complete re-launch, consider your brand equity. Look at two approaches; evolution or revolution.
• Get somebody who is qualified to check your solution, even if you don't like the results.
We are always happy to advise, the sooner the better. The earlier we engage with a project, the more likely we are to spot the risks and opportunities. Right back to helping you develop your brief, even if we don't get the work in the end.