Friday, May 7, 2010

United and Contintenal Airlines: Name vs. Logo

On Monday, United and Continental Airlines merged. You probably read about it in the news and maybe you even saw the 'new' logo. The way they've handled the naming and visual aspects of the new company is a little too simple. Essentially they kept the name United, but with the Continental logo. A fair trade off? A good way to merge two companies with brand equity and keep a bit of both? Maybe from a PR standpoint, but not from a brand perspective.

The new logo itself feels wrong. It's enough that the ditched the better of the two logos (and the one still using its original Saul Bass design), but just swapping out the name Continental for United without any other visual change makes the logo feel more like a gag design than a new, merged company logo. I get that both Continental and United are major airline brands and want to keep that equity through the merger, this wasn't quite the way to do it. As much as I'm not a fan of the new MillerCoors logo, at least it had the right idea. I'd rather have a United Contintental Airlines with a new logo that this weird little mash up. Brand New makes an interesting point about how this logo doesn't work mostly because it has brand equity.
What’s funny is that if this were a new airline, and we didn’t have the accumulated associations of both brands we would just say it’s boring and move on, but it’s impossible to see the new logo and not feel that there is something inherently wrong with this equation. In all likelihood we will see a new logo in the next year or two, unless they have started painting planes—in which case we are screwed.

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