Category Archives: Brands in the news

Rebranding American Airlines

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AA new logo AA before after plane in new liveryI have to admit that I have a soft spot for AA, and have enjoyed the benefits of ExecPlat status for many a year. I can’t deny the operational and service problems they have had of late, which of course mold the brand experience for most passengers.

I want to like the new logo and livery, but I’m struggling. AA was like Ford and IBM to me – they had an almost timeless logo which required only minor modification. The new livery feels unbalanced with that heavy handed design on the tailfin.

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SAAB and its “new” logo

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saab_logo_round for bonnet and wheel saab_logo redoSaab’s “new” logo isn’t really new. It’s the result of pragmatics, convoluted ownership history and licensing restrictions.

Without going into too much of the historical trials and tribulations of the company that has come back from bankruptcy, and currently has yet another owner (NEVS), the bottom line is that the griffin is gone. At least from the cars. The crowned griffin (half lion, half eagle) logo, is currently in use by Saab AB (the aerospace company) and Scania (the truck company) who did not grant the rights to it on SAAB cars.

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Chevy, right turn?

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chevrolet_ns_“Chevy runs deep” was always more of a tactical tagline to mark the brand’s centennial (it turned 100 in 2011), designed to tug at the nostalgic heart strings of American consumers. There is no doubt that the brand is a cultural mainstay in the US, immortalized in pop culture from west coast to east, but the line never had the legs to become a brand slogan – and certainly not a global one – with an eye to a very different 100 years to come. The line was difficult to translate and its meaning impossible, given the lack of heritage in many of its markets. It was at least anchored on the brand name, a definite plus.

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Avis drops “We try harder” after 50 years

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Was it absolutely, positively necessary to ditch the “iconic” slogan after all these years (see this AdAge article for the story)? True, there are times when a brand refresh is called for – ideally because of some compelling new insight which can be appropriated by the brand.  Sadly, that’s not the case here. “It’s your space” – both the tagline and the thought – is generic. If the target is business users, this sounds more appropriate for a hotel chain, or, come to think of it, pretty much anything. But the inside of a rental vehicle?

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The latest folly from Pepsi

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As this article in AdAge makes abundantly clear, Pepsi is in a mess.

Before looking in more detail at the new Pepsi campaign, it should be noted how, as ever, The Humpty Dumpty, clear-as-mud nature of “positioning” makes this article almost laughable, as the word is tossed around with the usual abandon. The subheading illustrates how ridiculous the term has become: “After Fielding Biggest Consumer-Research Push in Decades, Brand Settles on ‘Now’ Global Positioning.” A global positioning of “Now”? Elsewhere, Brad Jakeman, Pepsi president of global enjoyment, cites “Moments of Connection” as Starbucks’ positioning. “Moments of Connection” is not a positioning (statement). It is a brand idea. One which belongs to the Oreo brand.

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Brand on the brink?

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Liberty Media’s recent offer to acquire Barnes & Noble is an intriguing one. Liberty is a new-age media conglomerate with interests in QVC, Sirius XM Radio and premium cable network Starz.

B&N operates more than 700 bookstores and 623 college outlets across the country. The traditional book business has been troubled in recent years, with increasing competition from online retailers like and discounters such as Wal-Mart. Like Borders, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, B&N has had to shutter stores. The company was put up for sale a year ago.

Liberty’s statement about B&N was illuminating, both as to the enduring power of the brand and the evolution of the market: “Barnes & Noble is the established leader in bookselling and is at the forefront of the transition to digital.” Rising online sales, changing reading habits and the arrival of the e-book have all contributed to the seismic shift in the market – confirmed by Amazon’s recent announcement that, after less than four years of selling e-books, it is now selling more of them than printed books.

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