I saw that eBay has unveiled a new logo and re-branding. A bold, dramatic new logo and brand? Ummm, no; same colors and name with a friendly lower case san serif font. Zzzzzzzzz -the bold, pioneering Internet phenomenon has just spent millions to put me to sleep. They waited 17 years for that?
Microsoft, JCPenney, CA, Polycom, Cisco and on and on have decided to switch to clean, warm, friendly new logo fonts that just scream, “We’re hip and modern but still warm and approachable!!!” [I’d mention the Tropicana re-branding apocalypse a few years back but that team sleeps with the marketing fishes now and it’s bad luck to speak badly of the dead]. A minor logo change for a few million (or more), bucks plus all that effort to change every sign, collateral piece, business card, etc. must be the super-secret marketing ROI tactic for which we’ve all been waiting. Look, many brands need work to improve how customers and prospects perceive them but I’d estimate that 1/10th of 1% of brands really need a logo change/update to accomplish it.
Am I angry about this new wave of friendly san serif-fonted logo projects (and do I feel that “depraved indifference” marketing should investigated and prosecuted)? Well, I’m certainly shaking my head about the millions and millions being spent on these efforts but I can’t be too mad because I have friends at Lippincott, Siegel + Gale and other branding shops and they need to eat too, right? I am disappointed that so many trained corporate marketing leaders so predictably take the lazy (but expensive), logo refresh route when they know the real solution lies elsewhere.
Full Disclosure Notice: I also actually went to the MoMA’s exhibit, “50 Years of Helvetica” and watched the documentary so I guess I’m at least a closeted san serif fan [Q. Can I love the font itself but hate how it’s being used?].
Anyway, when I see these and other “re-branding to appear to be doing something” exercises they all bring to mind a wise saying I heard back in the 90s: “A dead fish floating down a river shows movement, but not progress.”
A river of expensive dead fishes indeed.