Introducing a new logo helps keep a brand fresh, relevant, and gives the company an excuse to go after publicity. Most of the time, logo redesigns are a positive thing that show a brand is forward-thinking, but sometimes that effort can run amiss.
Just last week, independent lodging site Airbnb had this very issue with its new logo. Part of an overall site redesign, the logo certainly gathered more attention than was probably expected. Some online drew similarities between the new logo and human genitalia, while others pointed out that the logo was too similar to an existing logo for an IT automation company.
Airbnb isn’t the first company to make some missteps with a logo redesign. Here are three others that didn’t go quite as planned.
In 2009, orange juice brand Tropicana updated its logo and packaging in an effort to move into more modern territory. The result was a much cleaner looking package that meshed with the packaging trends of the time.
But what the brand didn’t anticipate is that consumers who had been loyal to the brand could no longer easily spot Tropicana's products on shelves. Ditching the iconic orange-with-a-straw image in favor of a more streamlined glass of orange juice, the packaging fit in a little too well. Sales plummeted a whopping 20%.
Within a month, Tropicana ditched the new logo and packaging in favor of the tried-and-true orange-and-straw.
Yahoo has undergone some major transformations with CEO Marissa Mayer at the helm. As part of its rejuvenation, Yahoo wanted to introduce a new logo.
In an effort to build buzz, Yahoo led a 30-day campaign that showcased a new logo every day. At the end of the month, Yahoo revealed the final logo to lackluster response. The Internet was talking, but mainly because the new logo wasn’t different or special enough to get anyone really excited. The reveal basically resulted in a bunch of lukewarm social media sentiment -- probably not the big deal Yahoo was hoping for.
Retail chain JCPenney attempted to undergo a rebranding with the hire of former Apple exec Ron Johnson as CEO in 2011. The new logo took a dramatic turn from a simplistic red font to a geometric box with the initials JCP in the corner – a nickname Johnson planned for the entire brand to take on.
Whether or not the logo was a major contributing factor, it certainly didn’t help the retailer any. Johnson was only in charge for 17 months, but that time saw JCPenney plagued with layoffs, stock slides, and a crazy $552 million Q4 sales loss in 2012.
The logo and name change seemed to confuse loyal customers, especially because the company wasn’t consistent with using the new logo and still brandished the pre-2011 look in some stores and marketing. Logo awareness for the brand dropped by 28% from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, Mike Ullman took the reins and reverted the logo and name back to the original.