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Coca-Cola destroy their logo

Opinion Piece

Mike Reynolds

Senior Designer

Mike’s input starts at the very beginning of a project. From gathering data and establishing personas, through to user experience, wireframes, visuals and quality testing.

In my previous opinion piece I gave a breakdown of my reaction to the new Pepsi logo, as well as planting my customer loyalty flag firmly in the Coca-Cola camp. This week we saw a new Coca-Cola ad campaign, with help from brand masters Ogilvy, showing their logo, well… destroyed.

As a designer this ticks boxes across the board for me, for a number of reasons. From being a design student learning the ropes right up to present day, you always gravitate towards the big brands for inspiration. In college you would try outlandish things that no sane corporate would touch (I graduated in the era of David Carson, Vaughn Oliver and grunge typefaces), but allowed you to show off your creative flair. As you move into industry, the commercial aspect of projects tends to water down such grand ideas into something more palatable to the mainstream. Yet agencies like Ogilvy and Saatchi (amongst others) always seem to pull off doing the grand things, which is (in part) what makes them so inspirational to the rest of us.

And so we come to this particular piece. The premise is simple enough – Coca-Cola want to encourage people to dispose of their cans/bottles/packaging responsibly and recycle – but what a way to execute it. You can almost visualise what the obvious route would be: stylised photos of overly happy youths dropping their cans into a recycling bin with a snappy strapline – product placement is key, right? Instead, Ogilvy went down the abstract route, leaning completely into the logo and showing us what the logo would look like on a crushed up can… without the need to show us the actual can itself. It doesn’t spoon-feed us all the answers and is underpinned by a simple phrase “Recycle Me” to give us a clue – it leaves the viewer to join the dots. As a consequence, the required thought, together with it’s simplicity and contrast (2 colours!), will create a much greater impact, stand out amongst all the noise, and remain memorable for much longer. This is the perfect example of how less is more.

Tinkering with your logo and brand is something that under normal conditions you should stay well clear off – don’t try this at home – your brand is sacred, and should remain consistent in order to retain brand values and recognition. However, if approached sparingly and in a similar, very clever way (and safe in the knowledge that your logo would be recognised in any form) it can have tremendous impact.

The college student in me did stuff like this for fun and good grades, the professional designer is full of admiration… and just a touch jealous.