Seeing the “Adidas Original” Clip along with a slew of other large corporations rebranding, I’ve seen a reoccurring theme in the new looks of these old companies that can afford a large overhaul on their brands.
1. Try to look like the future and infuse that into your brand
2. Go back to your historical roots, and do a play on the original logo/imagery
Look at Adidas—they’re not changing their logo, they’re just playing up their place in history and doing a damn good job of it. Enlisting an entourage of celebrities, they’re taking advantage of the sizable cultural importance Adidas has had over the past 60 decades. It’s intertwined with hip-hop, athletics, dance, it’s not just about their apparel and shoes. Sure everyone is wearing adidas products in the video, but people wear adidas products out to parties anyhow. There aren’t garish logo placements and the focus is really about who and what they represent. For me, when people say original, I hear “classic” I also think “timeless” which is EXACTLY what you want in the retail brand. You never go out of style.
Another example of history vs. the future, Coke and Pepsi. I’m sure many have seen the new and very futuristic looking Pepsi logo. As the beverage battle wages on, it’s only natural for people to compare it to Coke. Coke has gone back to it’s classic, while Pepsi (tries) the future.
Coke had been drowning their logos in silk screened water drops and bubbly swirls, but worked with Turner Duckworth to capitalize on their brand equity. Coke has been around since 1886 (122 years), and people don’t even need to see the words, just the swoop and the color and it’s instantly recognized. By going back to the simple and leaving behind the swirls and bubbles, a lot of visual noise has been removed, and it’s been reduced to it’s essence, the true coke classic.
Pepsi has taken a different route, and I won’t talk at length about the actual design, check that out at Brand New, but they’ve abandoned their original script and went strait for a very modern type. Pepsi has been around since 1898 (110 years), definitely long enough to have a rich library of imagery, type, and text to rip off of if they chose to. But, to be fair, they’re in a tricky spot because Coke already blazed that trail. Coke is synonymous with the word “classic”, and they’ve done a beautiful job returning to their original roots. If Pepsi did try to go to it’s roots, they’d risk looking like copycats, and worse, doing a poor job of it. They made the choice to go modern, and I’m not inspired to buy Pepsi but not all is lost. Gatorade, (a brand under Pepsi Co.) has a nice fresh iconic look to it, and I’m really into it.
It’s fascinating to see large corporations age and mature, and as more companies come at to the point of a rebrand, I think there a few things that should always be top of mind. Is there enough history and cultural importance to who we are and what we do that we could play on it? Are people searching for the hottest and newest object of desire, or is the nostalgia of something vintage and classic more appealing?
As true of any new look, an inventory of who you are is essential to creating who you want to be.