Rebrands 2012: The good, the bad and the ugly

Rebranding is never a simple task; everyone wants to entice new business whilst retaining their existing customers. The best rebrands can convey an organisation’s redefined proposition and the worst can destroy reputations.

As such, I’ve picked three of my favourite rebrands of the last year and highlighted some that perhaps controversially, i’m not too fond of.

The Best Rebrands of 2012

1. CooperVision


CooperVision, one of the world’s largest contact lens manufacturers, stepped away from cold and literal representations of water to unveil  ‘a refreshing perspective’ as their revised brand promise, using bold watercolours in their marketing materials to convey this. Whilst the whole ‘sight is more than just about seeing’ connotations may seem obvious, they are also effective (and won the organisation a 2012 Rebrand 100 Award).

2. EAT.

eat-rebranding-3_0 eat-rebranding-4_01

‘Smart’ fast food chain EAT. unveiled a new look in November featuring beautiful hand painted illustrations and a new concept store on The Strand complete with digital menu boards and an open kitchen area. Attention to the details surrounding the brand places a real emphasis on customer experience, proving that less is sometimes more. The logo has merely been tweaked but a revised hand-crafted style, savvy new colour palette and simple, stylish typography keeps the brand down-to-Earth. Cups that remind you what you are drinking are also very useful.

3. Disney Princesses

Last year, Disney released a video rebranding the term ‘princess’ in its advertising, capturing what it means to be a ‘princess’ today by promoting virtues such as bravery, trust and loyalty to young girls. Though a tad cheesy, the message is an important one for the brand, aligning with Disney’s new releases such as Tangled and Brave. Criticism for the campaign comes from those arguing that Disney still markets sparkly pink make-up to girls that are arguably too young to be wearing any. The rebrand is however, a bold move; and who says being strong and liking the colour pink should be mutually exclusive?

The Worst Rebrands of 2012

1. Waterstone’s


In two years the Waterstone’s brand identity has moved from Baskerville in caps, to regular type with an apostrophe, to FS Albert Pro (bottom left); and now back to Baskerville, excluding the apostrophe. Exhausting.

The rebrand to FS Albert Pro was only used in a handful of shops back in 2010/11, and even then only in store, meaning that external signage and internal materials were misaligned. The removal of the apostrophe when the brand reverted back to Baskerville has created a new wave of controversy. Though MD James Daunt claims this is a digital-friendly move, dropping the apostrophe seems patronising to internet users (surely we all know you can’t use apostrophes in urls?) and disrespectful to the brand. After all, brands like McDonald’s and Sainsbury’s have managed the digital move and retained an appropriate use of grammar.

2. WeightWatchers


There have been lots of comments about the new WeightWatchers US rebrand looking like it was made in WordArt and with jokes about the font having put on weight.  The graduated shading tries to imply a transformation of sorts which captures the brand ethos, though i’d argue that the bland greyscale couldn’t be less inspiring to those in the WeightWatchers programme. The old logo was tired, but this was not a solution.

It’s also difficult to overlook the lower case ‘w’ in the middle highlighting a particular expletive.  Juvenile I know.

3. Microsoft


Microsoft’s first rebrand in 25 years steers away from the old corporate look to bring something softer and friendlier to the table, aiming to incorporate its other products such as XBox, Skype and Windows 8 more clearly under the brand. However, the coloured windows are so closely identified with the Windows products that incorporating them into the brand is confusing. This is more of a disappointing rebrand than a bad one. Given the transformation Microsoft has tried to make with the release of new products such as Surface, the new in-house designed, mish-mash of the old and the new, Windows style logo with flat coloured squares feels more like they’ve given up than embraced their aims for progression: to me it feels dated already, unable to let go of its past.

Agree? Disagree? Sit on the fence?…let me know what you think.

By Rhiannon Hulse

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