Branding Gone Bad

Almost everyone who owns and operates a business these days is aware of just how important the right form of corporate branding can be. When it comes to rebranding however, there are a few companies that went horribly wrong over the years. As a result, they either had to revert back to their original branding or simply make a fresh start in the hope that consumers would forget about their previous mistake.

1. When British Airways Removed the Union Jack

In 1997, British Airways executive Bob Ayling stated, “Perhaps we need to lose some of our old-fashioned Britishness and take on board some of the new British traits.” The company then embarked on a project that saw the Union Jack tail fin flag being replaced with other designs. After receiving numerous complaints from customers, this decision was reversed in 2001 when Ayling was replaced by Rod Eddington, and the Union Jack was once again painted on the fleet’s tail fins.

2. Sun Chips Attempts to Change Packaging


2010 saw Sun Chips launching new packaging for their products that was 100% compostable. However, the new packaging ended up being so hard and rigid that it made it extremely loud whenever it was handled. Consumers compared the sound to that of “lawnmowers and jet engines.” As a result, sales declined by 11%, and packaging was pulled from shelves a year and a half later.

3. Royal Mail Attempts a Name Change


In 2002, Royal made an attempt to change their name to Consignia. Executives at the company stated that they wanted the name to convey the message that the company dealt with more than just mail. However, there was such a public outcry over the name change that it was phased out within just two years of being released.

4. Pizza Hut Tries to Lose the Pizza

For some bizarre reason, Pizza Hut made an attempt to rebrand in 2009 by calling themselves “The Hut.” As a result, the fast food chain received a significant amount of ridicule from the public, and had to revert back to the original name. Although the company may deny rumors regarding the name change, photographic evidence of the redesigned logo are still circulating online.

5. Sci-Fi Channel Changes its Spelling

In yet another attempt to “keep with the times,” the Sci-Fi Channel changed their spelling to Syfy. Although this was an attempt by the company to own this alternate spelling and to keep in line with current texting standards, extensive research should have been done prior to making the change. In many parts of the world, this channel’s chosen alternative spelling is actually a slang term for the sexually transmitted disease syphilis.

6. London’s Re-Designed Olympic Logo

When it comes to corporate branding, some things are best left as they are. However, when it came to designing the logo for the London Olympics, designers obviously thought that something totally different to the traditional Olympic designs would be popular. Unfortunately, numerous polls have revealed that this bright pink logo has received the lowest possible public ratings.

When it comes to corporate branding, extensive research needs to be carried out before releasing any new designs. This will not only prevent public outcry in the event of a bad design; it will also ensure that sales or profits are not affected as a result.