9 humorous (mis)adventures in branding

Maya Lekach

Branding is all about creating recognition for a company’s product in the marketplace. It can show what they have to offer, grant them a position in the public eye, and create company swag.

Sometimes, however, a company’s branding can leave us thinking, “Who thought of that?!” Here are 9 of the more (ahem) interesting branding choices from the past couple of years.

1. Baby Carrots

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It looks like having only 35 calories per serving, and showing off the attractive orange color was just not doing it for these little healthy morsels anymore. So a Bunch of Carrot Farmers banded together and hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky to rebrand carrots as junk food, literally using Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food as their slogan.

You can see the similarities between these packages and their less healthy counterparts, even with a Chester the Cat (Cheetos) cousin on the middle package. This bold marketing idea seems to have had a good deal of success thus far. Carrot farmers don’t need to spend advertising dollars telling people vegetables are healthy. Leave that spin up to Doritos.

2. Sasketchewan Pork

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We are a little confused if pork is the one you love or if it’s your significant other. And what is getting porked exactly? Luckily these Canadians picked up on it and changed their brand to “Put Pork on Your Fork”.

It seems difficult to do anything not ridiculous sounding that involves the word pork. We do wish they could have done better with their re-design than the generic ribbon and offset shading. But at least the tagline rhymes.

3. PETA’s Sea Kittens

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You didn’t know there were kittens in the sea either? Imagine that. Instead of using actual fish (which is boring apparently), PETA is hopping on the popular kitty meme trend and their high levels of cuddle-ability to garner distaste for eating the ocean’s cutest inhabitants.

Oh, and you can also make your own sea kitten at PETA.org. Check out the ones above that we at 99designs made for inspiration! No one would ever want to eat these guys. Or at least that’s the thought behind this humorous rebrand.

4. (Not so) Fabuloso

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All this talk about humorous branding has made me thirsty. I’ll just grab a Fabuloso… wait, wait. This doesn’t taste right. Ah dear, in a classic example of poor package design, this cleaning product looks a heck-of-a-lot like those crazy colored sodas like Pepsi and Coke are churning out these days.

Fabuloso eventually widened their bottles, decreasing similarity to artificially flavored bevos. Although the bottle now resembles some juice brands, I don’t think anyone could mix up these bright colored liquids as any sort of natural beverage.

5. Sonae

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One might think that the largest corporation in Portugal would have a professional, sleek and straightforward logo. Not so with Sonae, the single largest private employer in Portugal, whose reach extends from grocery stores to book shops to real estate, etc. Instead, however, their new logo redesign looks like this. Interesting enough, this looks a lot more like a flier for a rave in the 90s than it does a massive European conglomerate.

Apparently the logo was an exercise in trying to make the company more “cool”. But it doesn’t quite help that their company name sounds like a rave itself. If they’re not careful, people will start showing up at their corporate headquarters in a plethora of neon colors and phat pants. Imagine that! One plus, is it does feature a custom typeface, so there’s that…

6. Prince (or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince)

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Prince has been famous for over 30 years, penning some of our favorite ditties such as When Doves Cry. But the doves might have indeed cried when Prince decided to replace his name with this symbol.

Choosing to change your name to an unpronounceable image is not always the best marketing effort. And to top it all off, the media wrongly titled Prince as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. The symbol was actually meant to represent the name Love Symbol No. 2. Although as it turns out, it actually was a pretty good marketing effort, as it got Prince out of a sticky little bind with his recording label, and when that was over, he officially changed his name back to Prince. The man is now more popular than ever, even headlining the Superbowl halftime in 2007 and featured in recent fashion article in Vice.

7. McFit

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This German gym has an oddly familiar name — maybe playing off the popularity of McDonalds? Its unclear, however, if their new logo brings about even more comparison to the “Do you want fries with that” mega-corporation.

However, despite its awkward similarity to makers of the Big Mac, we actually think this redesign is a step up. Their previous logo, with their name on a blue band, was what some might call cheezy. This one is slick, and simply looks better (their logo, in fact, translates to “Simply look good”).

What do you think… are they trying to make this comparison with McDonald’s? A question for the ages.

8. Office of Government Commerce

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When the British Office of Government Commerce (OGC) came out with their new logo, they thought they were showing a simple logo featuring the letters of their acronym. But all of a sudden they were getting a ton of press. Check out the logo turned on its side…

Yikes! Although the logo was being mistreated and seen in an, ahem, dirtier light than this governmental office might have desired, it turned out to be not so bad a marketing idea. The OGC got immensely increased popularity, and some tittering employees, who were now sporting messenger bags with this sweet lil guy on it.

When asked about the questionable nature of the new logo, a OGC spokesman said, “The effect was generic to the particular combination of the letters OGC — and it’s not inappropriate to an organization that’s looking to have a firm grip on Government spend.”. Well said.

9. AGIP Motor Oil

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One thing we think about when thinking of motor oil is… Hello Kitty? Apparently Malaysia is quite obsessed with this cuddly creature. While we’re not sure what cars and Motor Oil have to do with plush toys and vinyl purses, we must commend AGIP for making their motor oil more friendly than that fire-breathing dog (lion, dragon?). This should make for the purrrfect Valentine’s gift for your sweetie, or a nice 6th birthday present.

 

That about wraps up our humorous brands, for now. Hope you had a laugh and learned a little lesson about how important it is to thoroughly consider each and every implication of your logo before setting it out into the world or getting it monogrammed onto things. The internet can be a cruel, cruel place.

Have you seen any humorous branding mistakes?

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