Another branding disaster

The new London 2012 Olympics logo is already almost unanimously hated. People just don’t get it.

OK, so the logo has to look fresh and leading edge in five years time. Sure, design should challenge assumptions and get people thinking. Sometimes, though, the advertising and marketing world can be that bit too removed from rest of the population. The 2012 logo is a stretch too far. Whatever the creatives at Wolff Olins were trying to get across, most of us seem to have missed it.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who was working in accountancy or management consultancy five years ago. In 2002, PricewaterhouseCoopers decided to sell off part of its consultancy business. Wolff Olins came up with the name ‘Monday’ for the new firm. It was a PR disaster and, for a few weeks, PwC became the laughingstock of the City.

Just as Londoners don’t get the new Olympic logo, the PwC staff who were to be transferred to the new company didn’t get ‘Monday’. When they had gone home the Friday before, they were working for one of the largest and most prestigious professional services firms in the world. By the time they arrived at work the following week, the rest of the world was laughing fit to bust. As one of my friends said at the time:

My mates have already been on the phone taking the piss. The clients are more polite but you can tell they are biting their lips to avoid wetting themselves laughing.

Another commented on the the UK firm’s futile attempt to defend the name change:

They say it’s only the British who have this negative attitude to Monday.  They tell us Americans are all excited on Monday mornings, relishing the new challenges that the week will bring. That’s bollocks. There isn’t a burger-restaurant chain called TGI Monday.

A graduate trainee was worried about what her friends would say:

How am I going to tell people I work for Monday? They’ll just laugh. I’m dreading getting my new business cards.

In the event she needn’t have worried. A few weeks later the business cards were pulped along with the new stationery and signs. IBM bought the firm and put everyone out of their misery, consigning Monday to the dustbin of corporate history. PwC grimaced at the £75 million it had spent on the re-branding but at least people had stopped laughing.

Which make it look as if London 2012 has got off lightly with only £400,000 for its disastrous logo. But the brand consultancy has shown the same lack of judgement and understanding of its audience as it did with the PwC fiasco. Like ‘Monday’, the 2012 logo is so far wide of the mark that you find yourself wondering whether the designers who came up with it are just having a laugh with us all.


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1 Response to Another branding disaster

  1. Guru says:

    As one wag commented about the new 2012 Olympics logo in a London newspaper:

    “What is Lisa Simpson doing to that poor man!?”

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