The world is constantly changing, which means your branding strategy needs to evolve with the times. After all, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to tell your customers to “follow you on Myspace” or to create a logo inspired by the 2009 hit movie Avatar. We all know what a disaster Papyrus font can be in branding. With that being said, there’s a lot of value in reevaluating your company identity and taking the steps necessary to progress forward.

Well-loved companies like Netflix, Pizza Hut, Google, and Verizon have all revamped their branding in the past through new logos, updated commercials, and bold advertising strategies. Still, they weren’t the only ones to change up their image.

Take a look at some of the best and worst rebrands of all time!

The Best of the Best

Instagram has evolved over the years, introducing new features like custom filters and innovative contests. The new logo reflects the contemporary nature of their platform, which is designed for the modern user who is all too familiar with their cell phone, not the grandma who still uses an antique camera from the 60s.

It’s a pretty mixed bag as far as the way people feel about this logo change. However, Instagram wisely chose to associate their services with newness vs. the retro feeling evoked by the old Polaroid. The trendy gradients work perfectly for the average millennial user, and it’s an eye-catching pop of color compared to other social media icons.

Promos for Millennials: 

Millennial companies like Instagram can promote their brand with products that relate directly to their young audience. A promotional selfie stick decorated with your logo is the perfect giveaway for college orientations, concerts, and outdoor festivals.

IHOP wanted to turn the frown upside down in their iconic logo. After all, the famous breakfast chain is responsible for bringing cute smiley face pancakes to the universe. Why should all that fun be associated with a stuffy, corporate logo that looks upset at first glance?

You probably have a heart of stone if you don’t get warm fuzzy feelings looking at the whimsical new logo. It’s playful, bright, and makes you feel excited to head over to get a bite to eat. Plus, it’s all the more reason to wake up early and get your day started on the right foot. You know what they say:  breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Any excuse to eat pancakes, right?!

Promos for Breakfast: 

Breakfast places can double their pancake orders by printing their logos on pancake stress relievers. They’re giveaways as sweet as a side of maple syrup!

Making your own playlists on Spotify can have you feeling like a DJ in their booth. Seriously, you can make endless amounts of track lists for different occasions. If you’re driving in the car, cranking out projects at work, or partying with friends, you can customize your jams to fit your event or mood. The neon green in Spotify’s updated logo evokes that same party-starting feeling.

Spotify’s new logo tweak is fairly simple, but it does wonders for the music streaming service. It makes the brand feel refreshed, new, and ready to outshine Pandora and iTunes. After all, green is associated with “go” and there is no better place to know about a new record release, discover new artists, and hear your favorite songs than Spotify!

Promos in Harmony: 

To find their branding rhythm, music industry pros can turn to sleek promos like portable speakers. It’s a great way to put your earworms into the universe every time your customers hit “Play.”

If you looked at Honest Tea’s original logo and had to suppress a yawn, we’re not surprised. There’s nothing particularly memorable or significant about the design. Plus, it has absolutely nothing to do with their products. The company was purchased by Coca-Cola in 2011, with distribution and sales increasing ever since. The new logo and packaging were a result of this co-branding effort and reflect their move into a stronger future as a company.

The little leaf is the simple touch that takes Honest Tea’s logo from a snoozefest to one with a bit more flair. It evokes the same feeling you get having a refreshing glass of orange juice in the morning with your breakfast. The rebrand is smart because it stays with the simplistic, less-is-more vibe of the original, while at the same time adding that special touch that brings Honest Tea into the next generation.

Promos at Tea Time: 

Cork-based mugs are trendy promotional giveaways for any company who works with beverages. People always love receiving a new coffee mug, especially if it’s fashionable like the mug pictured here. Whether you serve fresh coffee with a smile or squeeze lemons for your outdoor stand, you can get the word out there using giveaways with an unexpected touch.

Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. used to objectify women with their bikini clad models biting seductively into a burger. Thankfully, we’re past that noise and moving onto a design that’s sleek and modern. Not to mention, they’ve wiped the campy smile off their trademark star.

The red and yellow combo of the previous logo sends off serious clown vibes, whereas the new design feels very classic cool. Almost like a good pair of Converse sneakers. The color and design change make the brand seem more serious and grown-up than the original logo. In a world of McDonalds and Burger Kings, it’s important for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. to kick it up a notch and set themselves apart in the fast food industry.

Promos To Go:

Your customers are stopping by a fast food chain because they’re busy and need something quick. Bring that same spirit to your promos with reusable items like custom water bottles.

The Worst of the Worst

The red, swooshing “Z” is what makes Verizon’s logo recognizable and mirrors the checkmark at the top. It almost suggests the brand keeps going, just like the best cell phone battery. The popular phone company took inspiration from Google’s switch in design and decided to reinvent their look as a result.

The new logo doesn’t have the same flair as the original. It looks like you’re checking Verizon off your to-do list. Did I pay my outrageous cell phone bill?: check! Definitely not the vibe to be sending to your customers. With so much competition from other providers, it’s definitely not a good idea to seem like a really basic company. A lot of people want bells and whistles with their cell phone plans – unlimited data, fun filters, and endless emojis.

Customer Thoughts:  

The change in logo has been met with mostly negative feedback across the board and has been voted as one of the worst logo changes of the year by Business Insider. What Verizon thought was a bold move into the future turned out to be just a hot mess.

First they get rid of the $5 foot long and now this?! This logo switch is the result of a drop in annual revenue and a menu that has remained more or less the same since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Really, the color change is all it takes to want to go to Potbelly’s or Jimmy John’s. The artificial scheme doesn’t do much to make you think of fresh ingredients. The entire new design feels smaller and overall less impactful than Subway’s original logo. Furthermore, the sense of movement that you get from the original is lacking in the redesign.

Customer Thoughts:  

After scandal occurred with Jared from Subway, this new logo change marks an attempt to switch up Subway’s identity. Customers and designers have mixed feelings about the new logo, but it looks like it’s the future of eating fresh.

Coors Light experienced a recent dip in sales that led to the extremely impulsive decision of changing their logo. The end result feels as stale as bar pretzels that have been left on the counter for too long. The popular brew used to move mountains, but now, their sober new logo has us feeling rather dud about their suds.

It’s a minimalist, vintage approach that doesn’t seem to work for a brand that feels like your dad’s beer of choice. The best way to market to the next generation of 21 and overs who want their drinks to create a party is with something a bit more exciting. While the font has a better feel overall, it’s missing that background scenery that makes the original so successful.

Customer Thoughts:  

If you go to Coors Light’s website, it features the message: “Whatever Your Mountain, Climb On.” We very well can’t do that if we don’t have a mountain to climb on in their new logo. This is a thought that Coors must share, since they have added the mountain back into their logo since this disastrous switch.

Look, we all know that Netflix is the all-mighty ruler of our entertainment needs. Redbox is a solid alternative, but that’s only if you’re already at Walgreen’s getting deodorant and happen to see that Sharknado is available. You’re more than happy to spend a  dollar and some change on the movie if you can’t find it on Netflix first.

There’s a lot to say about Redbox’s new logo design. For starters, what’s with the purple punctuation at the end? This random touch makes Redbox seem pretentious and vain – like their brand name is enough of a statement. If they were that cool, they wouldn’t have used a font that makes all the letters look squished together. Plus, it looks like they decided to “CTRL B” as a last minute touch, which frankly, wasn’t necessary at all.

Customer Thoughts:  

This new logo has been met with a lot of backlash, with some people going as far as to call it the worst logo of the year! Did we mention Redbox makes it worse by making their tagline “So smarter?” This is so stupider.

In a world of hackers and identity fraud, people want to know they can rely on their credit cards. That’s why MasterCard’s logo change is such a head-scratcher. This move came as a means to try and keep up with the emergence of digital payment services.

The Venn Diagram design works on the original since it’s muted with the text on top. The new logo, on the other hand, puts the brand name underneath, almost as an after-thought. MasterCards’s warm color palette is a lot more prominent here, but you’re so busy staring at the color overlaps that you almost miss their brand name completely.

Customer Thoughts:  

People feel uncomfortable with change in general, but it goes to a new level when it comes to their credit cards. Ultimately, this could be a good thing because it may encourage us to reach into our wallet for our credit card less so we don’t have to see the MasterCard logo.

Nobody has this advertising game 100% figured out, but there are at least a few companies who’ve struck gold. And for every one who’s found success, there’s also a few that missed the mark. Of course, the way you view these designs is completely subjective. Somebody’s worst can be someone else’s best.

At the end of the day, you are in charge of your brand identity and how you want to be represented in the marketplace! Rebranding, and the right promotional products, can be your way to gain a new audience, change with the times, and make a daring move as a company.

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.