Fall is in the Air… and So is Rebranding

On the tail-end of the popular success of the Old Spice rebranding campaign, a couple of big companies are jumping into the fray with their own image updates.

The first is The Gap, with a new logo that no longer looks like it stepped out of an 80’s sitcom commercial:

(image from here)

If this does turn out to be a company-wide rebrand, I’d have to say that I kinda like it. It takes the 80’s glam and gives it a clean, digital look for the iPad generation – the same sort of folks I’m sure they’re hoping will buy Gap jeans. You know, the brand that goes with their iPad lifestyle. It has yet to be seen if their new creative will match the new logo look and feel. Will be fun to find out.

Another well-known brand that recently underwent the knife was Seattle’s Best Coffee.

(image from here)

This one, I’m a little worried about. That’s the thing with rebranding. It can go very well… or very wrong. The new logo erases the warm, welcoming image of the brand and gives them a kind of generic, public toilet sign feel, like it’s the coffee being served on the ship during 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Now, this may indeed be the market they’re going for – urban hipsters with a love for simple designs, the way websites have evolved into clean and simple lines. But let’s face it… selling coffee is different from selling jeans, and this is not a warm and welcoming coffee brand anymore. It looks more like an industrial coffee brand; something you would drink at the hospital.

Something tells me that’s not quite what they were going for.

What do you think of these rebranding attempts? Are they sending the right message to consumers?

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.


  1. I like them both. Perhaps sharing a name with the main character from 2001 has given me an affinity for the new Seattle’s Best look. It surprises me that there is no brown incorporated into their logo, even as an accent. Still, I like it.

    As for the Gap, it was time for a refresh. I think they did a nice job in making the brand feel a little more contemporary.

    The real question for both will be to see if any of this translates into increased sales. Only time will tell.

  2. Ryan T. Beam says:

    Personally I think the gap logo is a turn for the worse. It simply looks like they opened there software used the default font and added some clipart behind it. I personally would not approve of it.

    The seattle’s best is a turn in the right direction!

  3. davidebowman says:


    Although I was not the author of the post, I think Kameron made some good points. What is evident is that technology enables brands to listen to consumers, and respond quickly. This is an interesting case study in branding, and one that people will discuss for a while. Thanks for the comment.

  4. I still prefer the Gap logo to Seattle’s Best, though I do find the Gap backlash incredibly amusing. What that showed, above all, I think, is that the brand *is* broke. Nobody said “don’t fix it.” They said, “You got it wrong.” The Gap has been surviving on the success of its stronger sister brands like Old Navy and Banana Republic for years.

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