Filed under: 1 | Tags: advertising, brand image, branding, Design, logo, Mastercard, PR, rebrand, Safeway, Woolworths
As of a couple of days ago, Australian supermarket giant Woolworths announced the relaunch of their brand. What’s the deal? Well, here’s the new logo…
Let’s compare with the original logo::
It definitely has that so-very-swish uber-modern feel, doesn’t it? Clean fonts, very green and fresh, and gradients. It’s easy to see the rationale; the new logo screams fresh, young, modern and enviro-friendly.
However, I’m not sure it’s all good news. Yes, it’s clean and simple, but then so was the old logo. This is the logo which so clearly tied together the old Safeway and Woolworths brands when crossing state borders. There’s no longer any red (a traditional colour for food retail logos) and far less emphasis on the key selling point; ‘The Fresh Food People’. The font is less distinctive and it feels like they’re not as proud to state this anymore, which given their latest ad campaign doesn’t seem to be true.
There’s also a lot of debate as to what the huge swirly thing at the top is. It will probably make a very good logo for the Woolworths brand products which seem to be gaining ground, but what IS it? A missing ribbon from the rhythmic gymnastics team? A ‘W’ for Woolies? An oddly styled apple? (Could Apple sue, perhaps?) Why is it so…well, green? And why does it remind me slightly of the new Mastercard logo, which also made interesting use of gradients and caused some confusion::
This aside, there’s the money question; does a logo really change where you buy your food when there’s so many other factors?
Of course, there’s far more to a rebrand than a new logo, and there’s a wide and detailed bank of research on what consumers want in a supermarket. Rumours abound of new store layouts and a revived shopping experience. But we’ll have to wait and see what eventuates from the new stores and whether it will affect performance.
What has prompted this rebranding? Perhaps it was the resurgence of competition from Coles, another Australian supermarket giant which was forced to contract a top management consulting firm after performance issues over the last couple of years. Or maybe it’s just time for a change to ‘keep up with the times’ after 21 years.
A new ad campaign has also been launched. Airing in prime Olympics spots, they emphasise the FreshFoodPeople message, with claims that when people who love fresh food can’t make it themselves, they go to Woolworths. (Again, Mastercard comparison, anyone?) This has been at the expense of the ‘Woolworths, the Fresh Food People’ jingle with lots of happy Woolies workers talking about the food they have in store. I think it could work; a shift from tell to show is probably a better approach for food. It will also differentiate effectively from competitor Coles’ ‘proudly supporting Mums’ angle. But is the campaign going to be backed up with more emphasis on fresh goods and organic food?
The latest PR for the company might support this, with the Woolworths market update being aired in prime time news slots. Reporting on what’s ‘fresh’ in the markets and giving some preparation tips in a short segment definitely reinforces the freshness image and gives some context to consumers. But it could work either way… It wouldn’t be difficult for some consumers to confuse the brands or just use the information provided to shop elsewhere. It also runs the danger, in close comparison to the news, of being dismissed as ‘just an infomercial’ (which it is, if we’re going to be honest).
Anyway, thank you Woolworths, FINALLY, for standardising your name across Australia. For years there has been a Woolworths/Safeway divide…and even though everyone knows it’s exactly the same thing, it really does not do you any favours to be operating under different names in different states! Sorry Victoria, but it’s time to join the family.
[For more info on the rebrand, head over to the Woolworths release.]