So, another big brand has gone through a costly rebrand and received significant negative publicity for doing so. The American airline industry has seen many employees laid off and benefit concessions put in place, so is this really an appropriate time to spend millions of dollars taking aircraft out of service to give them a paint job?
We’ve compiled some of our favourite examples of companies rebranding that probably didn’t go quite as they had hoped.
- Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No its American Airlines who have, according to some, simply ‘beheaded the eagle’ with their new livery. This was an established logo that people had connected with for over 40 years, so it may take a while for people to get on board with the new image…
- In 1997 British Airways changed the livery of their planes from the well known and loved Union Jack and as part of this introduced world image tailfins. This was part of a move to demonstrate that they were a global airline as the new tailfins represented the network of routes they flew. In 2001, as a result of much dismay from the British public (and I’m sure the adoption of the Union Jack by Virgin Atlantic), British Airways reverted to using the more recognised imagery.
- Mind the Gap – or should that be “missed the gap altogether”? If you blinked back in 2010, you might have missed the image that temporarily replaced their long standing logo. The backlash was so strong that the brand reverted back to their original logo in 8 days. Quite an expensive exercise to undertake I’m sure!
- Abbey National – remember back to the days before Santander? They famously went through several iterations of logos, before it was officially “RIP Abbey” and “hello Santander!”
- EE – Once upon a time, not only was the ‘future bright’ and ‘the future orange’ but we should also ‘stick together’. I’m sure millions have been spent on launching the brand that was temporarily ‘everything everywhere’ then simply shortened to EE (after all Kevin Bacon can’t be cheap), but are people relating to the brand? As a former Orange customer, I do find it all a little confusing as I still receive a mixture of communications from the various iterations of the old Orange brand and EE.
- Consigned to Failure – the Post Office has existed in the UK in one form or another since Henry VIII established the “Master of the Posts” so it’s fair to say it is a British institution. I’m sure there are few marketers within the UK who don’t remember the catastrophe that was Consignia. The brand was officially launched on 9th January 2002 by Jon Roberts and was hailed as being ‘modern, meaningful and entirely appropriate’! Consignia was born, a cunning play on words and a mash up of ‘consign’ and ‘insignia’. So with a meaning of ‘to deliver’ and with a tentative link to something royal how could it ever fail? The backlash was unrivalled and it was greeted with scathing reviews. The BBC’s website famously referred to this as ‘the most notorious ever Post Office robbery – that of the name itself.’ Unsurprisingly a massive U-turn was undertaken and ‘Consignia’ was dispatched to the scrapheap and the Post Office was back. Embarrassingly, many in the UK were blissfully unaware that the Post Office had ever changed names.
- Aviva or is that Arriva? Norwich Union who? Their re-branding in 2009 accompanied a high-risk name change. The TV advertising campaign featured famous celebrities who had also undergone a re-branding.
- Bruce Willis – Walter Bruce Willis
- Elle Macpherson – Eleanor Gow
- Ringo Starr – Richard Starkey
- Alice Cooper – Vincent Damon Furnier
- Dame Edna Everage – John Barry Humphries
The rebrand from Norwich Union to Aviva at a cost of circa £9 million was one of the most expensive of recent years.
However, a poll conducted by Marketing Week saw 67% of marketers deeming the campaign to be successful at communicating the name change. That being said would the public also consider it be successful, or for that matter even care?