It’s true that, just like people, brands can’t be expected to please everybody. But what happens when they tick off their core consumer? The die-hards? The BFFs? We check out three brands who have been dividing opinion and sending their loyal fans into a spin.
1. Goodbye Céline, hello Celine
Goodbye Céline, hello Celine. The LVMH-owned fashion label unveiled a new logo pre-fashion week, and the internet is very divided about the typographic facelift.
Weeks ahead of his debut collection for the brand, incoming creative director Hedi Slimane announced the start of his era with a ceremonious Instagram purge that wiped the entire official @celine account clean, replacing it with a three-part post announcing a newly refreshed brand identity.
In short: The accent over the E is now gone, and the letter spacing has been finessed for visual consistency.
Fashion insiders and fans alike promptly went into mourning over the former look of the luxury fashion house. Rants included “The new Celine sounds cheap and tacky,” and “NO ACCENT NO CÉLINE,” while another simply proclaimed: “R.I.P. Céline.”
While it may seem odd to hear the fashion crowd so passionately worked up about kerning and diacritical marks, it just goes to show how much of a heightened role logos hold in the luxury world.
They are often the face of accessories, plastered on handbags and packaging for beauty products. If you’re spending thousands on a luxury item, you’re bound to know the real thing – down to the embroidery, buttons, seams and yes, the logo.
Whilst some mourn ‘Céline’, others are ushering in the digitally savvy, global ‘Celine’ of the future.
Increasingly appearing on tiny avatars, logos and wordmarks of the future need to be bulletproof – sharp and clear on screen. With this in mind, ‘Celine’ is the more pragmatic choice for tiny screens. And, how many of you would deliberately type out the accent é when sharing an Instagram post about your new Celine bag? Few, I would guess.
Another marmite rebrand dividing opinions has been that of Burberry, redesigned by British designer Peter Saville.
With their bold san serif typeface and absence of the century-old equestrian knight emblem, some may say they have lost their sense of heritage, while others welcome the Burberry of the future.
2. Holly Nichols
We’re fans of Harvey Nichols here at LOVE. We’ve admired their playful approach to luxury for years – their iconic campaigns, mesmerising window installations and future-facing in-store services. Yet, like many fans, we’re struggling to get our heads and hearts behind their latest campaign.
Harvey Nichols has become Holly Nichols for the month of September, in a bid to “support female empowerment”.
Whilst we’ve got nothing against the concept, the accompanying campaign and manifesto simply fail to hit the mark. A real departure from a brand that’s usually so culturally in-tune with their audience.
“This is the year of the woman. A celebration of you being you. A celebration of all of us being all of us. United in HONOURING female empowerment. (In high-top sneakers and a really good lip colour). Let’s hear it for the girls. Hello Holly.”
The Twitterverse was quick to hit back at the move:
“Please tell me it’s not true that Harvey Nichols are calling themselves Holly Nichols for a month re female empowerment!” @JenJenBrowne
“Loooooool does any woman ACTUALLY feel more empowered just because Harvey Nichols have changed their name to Holly Nichols for a month?” @AishaDebz
“Dear @HarveyNichols aka Holly Nichols you’ve absolutely missed the point regarding female empowerment and what's even more demeaning is that you’re using it as a promotional tool. Shame on you.” @Lola_Lors_Lo
As we searched for more depth behind the campaign we felt short-changed, a lack of anything with real substance feels like faux-feminism in full effect. What baffles us is why the so-called empowerment campaign left out any mention of co-founder, Anne Harvey.
The language of empowerment to sell products is nothing new, but we did expect more from the brand that has long championed female designers and creators.
With seven out of nine Harvey Nichols board members being women, we’re surprised there wasn’t more connective tissue to this campaign.
3. Domino's Tattoo
Domino’s recently offered a lifetime’s supply of pizza in return for another lifelong commitment: a tattoo of the Domino’s logo, with proof uploaded to Instagram, hashtagged #dominosforever.
The promotion was originally advertised to run for two months, but the pizza chain ended it only five days after their social media was inundated with pizza fanatics proudly displaying their Domino’s tattoos.
Clearly, the company was not expecting so many fans to go under the needle, announcing only the first 350 people with tattoos would be awarded the special lifetime deal (100 pizzas a year, for 100 years).
The Wall Street Journal points out that freebies are especially appealing in Russia because of a legacy of scarcity dating back to the Soviet era and to the economic hardships of the 1990s. And since average disposable incomes are around $500 per month, two centimetres of skin wasn’t a high price to pay for those die-hard pizza fanatics.
Whilst there was some anger towards the early closure of the campaign, with participants being asked to cancel their tattoos, hundreds of successful fans are already reaping the rewards.
Some say campaign fail, we say the ultimate measure of success.
SEEN is compiled by LOVE’s Head of Culture, Kat Towers. Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge? Get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org