When Brands go Bad

15th December 2015

Branding has always been a vital part of the marketing package, however many companies treat it as the ugly sister to advertising and design, never asked to go to the ball!


To deliver the right message, a company needs a brand image which is as clear as a reflection in a mirror. Branding is all about who you are and where you wish your business to go. Remember, it’s a jungle out there and branding is something every business needs to get right, but beware even the biggest businesses make branding mistakes.


We’ve examined many of the world’s top brands to pick out our top three branding mishaps.


Pizza hut and it’s distinct lack of pizza

When Brands go Bad

In 2009, Pizza Hut decided to ditch its fifty year old name sake and re-brand to ‘the Hut’. The fast food chain received hundreds of complaints from fans calling the company’s new name ‘obscure’ and some even remarked that it put them in mind of ‘garden sheds’. Pizza Hut quickly reverted to its original name and now denies its flirtation with ‘the Hut’!


Royal Mail and the move to Consignia

When Brands Go Bad

The name ‘Consignia’ seemed like the perfect choice for the head honchos at Royal Mail when looking to rebrand in 2001. The company spent £1.5 million changing their image to fit this new name, but questions soon arose. What did Consignia even mean? Deriving from the term ‘consign’ it was seen to represent everything that Royal Mail offered customers, however it was clumsy and in many ways, too clever.


One of the first rules of branding is that if you have to think about the meaning of a logo or word before you can relate to or understand it, you’re doing something wrong.  By 2003 Royal Mail had spent a further £1 million reverting to the imagery and name we know and love. Second rule of branding; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…or at least don’t rip it to shreds and start again!


If you’re going to rebrand, actually rebrand

When Brands Go Bad

In comparison to Royal Mail’s complete overhaul, in 2008 Pepsi decided to play it so safe with their rebrand that many didn’t notice the difference, and those who did, chuckled. Pepsi spent a cool $1million on changing the white wavy line in their tricolour logo to, well a slightly different white wavy line.


When the design world questioned the change, Pepsi defended their new logo by suggesting they had added a ‘white smile’ to their cans, something that many, including Forbes Magazine, just couldn’t see. When re-branding, logos and names come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s important to ensure that any changes are meaningful, rather than wavy white line wasteful!