Top 5 Rebranding Failures

The decision to rebrand is a difficult one. On the one hand, it is vital for a company to convey a relevant and current image to the public. On the other hand, you risk throwing away a lot of brand equity built up through your old image. Rebranding can be a difficult balancing act of representing the core values of a brand while also reflecting current business concerns.

We take a look at some of the worst rebrands and redesigns of recent years and explore where they went wrong.


Mastercard Rebrand

Often a rebrand involves cutting the fluff and distilling a brand into something and iconic. It seems the opposite happened with Mastercard. Frequently voted the worst rebrand of all time, Mastercard traded a simple, instantly recognisable logo for something messy and needlessly complex, adding too many unnecessary elements.

In response to the negative feedback the rebrand received, Mastercard announced the old branding would still be used on credit cards, with the new logo only being used for business communications.


Pepsi has never been afraid of overhauling its branding, but none of its redesigns generated as much criticism as its 2009 makeover.

This latest version took the trademark Pepsi wave and made it into what looks like a wonky smile. It went down like a terribly within the design community, with many comparing it to an evil smirk or a fat belly.

Pepsi Rebrand

What many found most laughable about the rebrand was the cost. The Arnell Group were paid $1 million to do what many described as 'fudging' an iconic logo. Worse still, a support document was leaked showing the Arnell Group's ridiculous and astonishingly detailed reasoning behind the rebrand. Featuring an A-Z of marketing jargon references as irrelevant as the Theory of Relativity and geodynamics, the document only served to make the rebranding feel even more ridiculous.


Gap Rebrand

Gap's redesign was arguably the least well received ever. Feeling their old logo was outdated, Gap tried out a more modern logo in 2010. Trouble is it looked like the logo of a software company designed by a first year student.

Social media meant negative feeling about the logo spread fast and Gap quickly reverted back to their old logo.


Tropicana Rebrand

Tropicana swapped its distinctive font and orange with a straw motif for an extra sleek minimal image. While this may have been 'on-trend' it essentially erased the brand's history and personality, making it look like every other orange juice bottle on supermarket shelves - and all for a cool $35 million. Tropicana soon reverted to the original.

When it comes to redesigning your company's image, think about exactly what you want to achieve and convey. It shouldn't be something done for the sake of it or to keep up with the latest design fad. Successful rebrands will reflect a company's personality, values and history in a contemporary, consistent and relevant way.

To discuss how we can help with your branding project, contact us.


Royal Mail Rebrand

In 2001 the Post Office decided to mark the move from state to private control with a rebrand. Consignia was chosen as it was believed to convey trustworthiness. It went down terribly with the public and the design community alike. An iconic name and brand was being swapped for a nonsense word that conveyed no meaning at all. In 2002 they changed their name to Royal Mail.