As we enter a new decade, it is important to reflect on the past decade’s marketing and see what we should, (or more importantly, shouldn’t) use to help us in the coming years. The last ten years have given us some genius takes on branding whilst other examples have made us shake our heads and turn away immediately. Here are some of the biggest branding hits and misses from the past decade, put together by Creative Spark.
Donald Trump Campaign Logo
It goes without saying that Donald Trump isn’t massively popular within the world of politics – no matter what branding he may use. However, he certainly didn’t help his case when the Trump campaign had Mike Pence joining it as his running mate. The campaign launched an official logo and the results were unsurprisingly poorly received. The logo tried to represent the American flag by using red stripes and having Trump’s and Pence’s surname initials in the top left corner in blue text. However, the T moved in and out of the P, which many people saw as representing sexual activity. Of course, the logo was immediately removed once the horrified responses came flooding in. It could, however, be argued that the design was good for communicating to potential Trump voters as it mirrored his shocking policies. This has led us to debate whether it is important for a logo to be objectively good, or can it be effective even if it’s bad?
In January 2019, Slack, (a cloud-based instant messaging platform) revealed a brand-new logo designed by Michael Bierut. Previously well known for its multicolour hashtag logo, most consumers liked the original design. Bierut then changed the hashtag into a proprietary symbol: a multicoloured pinwheel consisting of shapes they named “lozenges” and “droplets”. A mixture of the new shape and the elements it consisted of led many people to describe the new logo as a “penis swastika”. It goes without saying that anything which slightly resembles this is going to get horrific responses. Bierut then went on to say, “with products like Slack, which people encounter every day and are so ingrained in their lives, changing the branding is bound to cause dissonance and backlash”. So, instead of taking the criticism constructively, Slack opted to keep the logo despite it resembling something that has traumatised millions of families.
The creative brand agency behind Budweiser’s rebrand decided to sell the 140-year-old brand not as a drink, but as a set of values. The branding contains the words “America’s Beer” which not only persuades the biggest country in the world to buy this drink but it also gives Budweiser elite status. This also creates a sense of identity on the consumer’s behalf: to drink a Budweiser is to communicate your own, unique personal values. The red and white label on the rebrand reinstates its patriotic power. It is for this reason that the rebrand has been successful in the apparel market too. Clothing and merchandise can now be bought with the Budweiser logo on – allowing Budweiser to branch out into different markets.
Since Google was founded over 20 years ago, the brand has grown immensely. In 2015, Google set out to establish a sense of visual minimalism across the places that their brand could be found – all whilst keeping the brand identity intact. Google said hello to a new sans serif custom typeface in Product Sans. As well as the new serif, Google opted to make their new wordmark adjustable for use across different digital applications. This was followed up by creating a small “G” logo that small devices would use. This logo progressed into a functional tool that assisted user experience – the logo turns into dots that let the user know their page is loading, for example. Still keeping its original colours, the branding serves both form and function whilst adapting to your needs.