Shona Maciver shares her views.
The Creative Reviewers have creatively reviewed their new logo thus - "Following a universal brand audit instigated in the wake of an immersion expedition led by a cohort of leading brand ideators, we engaged in a thoroughgoing knowledge accumulation programme to facilitate blue-sky thinking and empower Creative Review® in the vanguard of world class best practice in thought-leadership. The following brand muscles were established: innovative, dynamic, square-shaped."
I feel a bit faint reading this. In what manner is a brand muscle square shaped? And why does that suggest a round object such as a marble? But CR have fessed up it's a rather highly strung satire - the journalists dancing around in front of the target as it were.
In the CR chat rooms the language was universally deplored. But the marble marque was applauded. The rainbow hued marble suggests playfulness, transparency and yet debate and contest - all qualities that become a journalistic product. The verbal foliage that accompanied the launch, goes on."Our unique 3D marque…employs premium cues including the addition of vitreous accents denoting excellence and quality, deep hues, and a glazed lustre with an updated color palette and increased contrast. Its interconnected, dynamic graphic devices leverage CR®’s position as the epicentric enabler of an innovation matrix creating compelling brand equity."
What was shocking was that it was not just the language that was a satire the rather pretty marble was a spoof too.
It is a funny read. I wouldn’t dare send a press release to a magazine describing a new Locofoco brand identity in such hyberbole fashion. I’m sure CR have had a good laugh at their readership, but maybe they have inadvertently left themselves slightly exposed. Creative Review's logo has long been a self effacing blocky black logotype mutely reading CR; by contrast the spoof logo that it has come out with is a burst of colour and everyone who saw it thought it was a darn sight better than the old one.
What about Pasta Hut? It’s the new Pizza Hut. Why the change? Health reasons. As the designers of a Scottish pizza brand - www.uinfoods.com (invented in Italy, perfected in Scotland) - I empathise. Pizza is not diet food. It's typified as junk food. It’s not really all that bad, if you skip some cheese, but mud sticks. This is a subject on which I care about - having lost 4.5 stone last year. Like pasta, meat, fish, bread or any other food, it's what you put on it that makes it high calorie. And calories are not in themselves bad. It is failing to use them up, lack of exercise, that punishes the body.
As consumers we need to develop maturity on this point - too much focus on food intake and not enough on exercise is creating serious psychological disorders such as anorexia, and even indirectly, obesity. It foments a bad relationship with food.
Pizza Hut think Pasta Hut sounds healthier, but have been careful to change nothing else about the brand. Perhaps to suggest that the consumer need fear no change to the all time winning combination of fat and carbohydrate? It's not so much pasta lite, it's branding lite. Brand change should represent significant change in the real world or it is a subject of no significance.
And speaking about serious stuff that is seriously bad for you. I see tobacco manufacturers are bringing out a low cost brand of cigarettes. Now there's a challenge for some brand consultancy - to sell cancer. One of my favourite interview questions is - is there any product or brand that you would feel unable to work on while you are with us? They all say 'cigarettes'. No doubt someone will be highly paid to do it and create a highly effective brand to sell it too. And more poor souls will die a lingering, tormented death, struggling to breathe.
To return to the Creative Review story. Many of the chatroom comments this morning are furious at being taken in but I would say at least they've made us think. We need to take brand design seriously: it matters because it works.