Yahoo! draws flak in the US over its plan for 30 logos in 30 days

Yahoo's decision to run a series of alternative logos throughout the month of August before launching an official new company logo on September 5 has attracted criticism in the United States.

Yahoo! Logo for today (Monday)

The 30-day campaign reported earlier by the Drum to draw attention to the decision to change the 20-year-oold logo is being spearheaded by CMO Kathy Savitt.

Savitt said on the Yahoo site , "Over the past year, there’s been a renewed sense of purpose and progress at Yahoo!, and we want everything we do to reflect this spirit of innovation. While the company is rapidly evolving, our logo — the essence of our brand — should too.

"The new logo will be a modern redesign that’s more reflective of our reimagined design and new experiences. To get everyone warmed up, we are kicking off 30 days of change. Beginning now, we will display a variation of the logo on our homepage and throughout our network in the U.S. for the next month. It’s our way of having some fun while honoring the legacy of our present logo.

But AdAge asks this weekend; "Will the effort prove effective?

"I think they've got bigger problems than their logo," Forrester principal analyst Jim Nail, told the mag referring to Yahoo's declining display advertising revenue and struggles to make money off its mobile audience.

"Aside from that flip answer, the whole name 'Yahoo' and the design of that logo is still very, at best, Web 2.0 if not Web 1.0. It's a bit dated."

"The logo to me feels a little hokey, it's old, and I really support redesigns," said Deutsch LA's chief digital officer Winston Binch. "It won't save their business, but great design can do a lot. It can lead people to reconsider Yahoo, a better customer experience, get employees reenergized."

Is Yahoo's decision to redesign its logo symbolic of the company's broader turnaround led by CEO Marissa Mayer? Nail pointed out that AOL had unveiled a half-dozen new logos after splitting from Time Warner as a declaration of independence.

"A logo refresh can be a good statement to say, 'We're not your father's Yahoo,'" Nail said.

But others felt Yahoo's strategy to preview one new logo candidate a day over 30 days was gimmicky.

Branding expert Laura Ries said on Facebook it was bound to confuse consumers.

"First of all, drastic logo changes are generally not a good idea (ie GAP, JCP, Tropicana)," she wrote.

"Second of all, instead of changing it in a decisive manner...they will roll out 30 days of other logos to totally confuse people and make mush of any visual identity the brand had left in the mind before revealing the new look."

Binch said,"I don't feel they went far enough. It's a missed opportunity to engage people. If you're trying to make real news with the redesign, you have to go for it."

Of the three logos Yahoo has so far published, there is little variation, perhaps in part because Yahoo has said it is retaining the logo's purple coloring and exclamation mark.

"They just don't look all that different. They're very incrementally different with different fonts essentially," said Binch.

AdAge saidYahoo had only timidly involved its audience in the undertaking.

"People can reblog, like or leave comments on the candidates posted to Yahoo's Tumblr, but the company didn't implement a voting mechanism for people to pick out what the new logo should be and have a sense of ownership in the decision and Yahoo's brand.

"By not doing that," said AdAge, " the company risks people gravitating to images that end up as also-rans when Yahoo reveals the new logo on September 5."

A Bloomberg writer said changing your look could also smack of a certain amount of institutional insecurity. "As famous philosopher (and former power forward for the New York Knicks), Charles Oakley, once said: “If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.”

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