Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: Feeling Refreshed with a Redesign

PRSA Friday Five banner

How do you keep yourself refreshed? Sometimes you refresh your look with a new haircut or a wardrobe upgrade. Maybe you rebrand yourself professionally or change to a new line of work. Brands often try to escape the status quo by looking to a refresh or redesign as the perfect solution. It is typically a great way to reintroduce a company or product and capture attention by becoming the news of the day. However, brands must be careful to make sure the news is positive and that the company does not become a laughingstock.

In this week’s Friday Five – an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we’ll look at brands that are winning, losing or simply confusing. We’ll examine the curious yet calculated move by Marvel, confusion about a brand’s new logo, Nike’s new ad that hit a homerun and a football team desperately resisting rebranding. We’ll also check out a social media post that will leave you scratching your head.

Marvel Targets Women With Goddess Thor (PRNewser)

When some people think of a superhero, the first picture that comes to mind is a strong, male figure. However, the argument can be made that by sticking with all (or mostly) male lead characters, comic book companies are turning off potential female fans. To combat this, Marvel has announced that the popular male character Thor is now a goddess.

Author of the article, Tonya Garcia, explains why this may be a positive refresh for Marvel. She said, “Marvel had to know that boys would complain. But women, they hope, will embrace this and show the excitement for it that they have for things like Frozen, Twilight and The Fault In Our Stars, all bonafide hits. They’re clear that this isn’t ‘Thorita’ or ‘Lady Thor.’ They’re going for the gusto.”

Only time will tell if this rebranding will work. Read the full article for more details on Thor’s transformation.

Branding Experts to Airbnb: Ride the ‘Vagina Logo’ Buzz (AdWeek)

When you launch a redesign for your brand, you hope that there will be a buzz about your company. Airbnb’s redesign is certainly causing people to talk, but probably not in a way the brand intended. “Belo,” the brand’s new logo, launched on Wednesday and caused the Internet to explode with comparisons to a certain female body part.

While the brand took a lighthearted response to all the chatter, they found themselves in more controversy when a comparison was made to another brand’s logo, Automation Anywhere. While both brands issued a joint statement about this matter dispelling any issues, one would have to imagine that Airbnb most likely did not see their rebranding day heading in this interesting direction.

Read the full article, including recommendations on how the brand should move forward, on AdWeek.

Nike Salutes Derek Jeter’s Baseball Legacy in Sweet Ad (Mashable)

While Major League Baseball has been the subject of the controversy and criticism from its “steroid era,” players that kept clean during that time are now finding themselves on a pedestal. Derek Jeter, who played under scrutiny of the of the overwhelming New York City media market for two decades, managed to keep his reputation clean on and off the field throughout his storied career.

On the eve of his final All Star Game appearance, Nike capitalized on the opportunity by debuting a touching ad to salute one of their star athletes. The video, entitled “RE2PECT,” quickly went viral. “In the ad several fans, athletes and celebrities, including Tiger Woods, Carmelo AnthonyJay Z and Billy Crystal, tip their hats to Jeter. (No big deal.) Then, prepare yourselves. Even a couple of Red Sox fans and Mets players get in on the hat-tipping salutes.”

What did you think of the ad? Read the full article via Mashable.

Federal judge forbids use of ‘Redskins’ in court documents (Washington Post)

It seems like the Washington Redskins are fighting a losing battle. Last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office canceled all of the team’s trademarks because the name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and therefore cannot be trademarked. Now a judge is refusing to use the team’s name in official court documents.

U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte explained his stance in a footnote in his ruling from a lawsuit against the team by NFL linebacker Barrett Green:

“Pro Football’s team is popularly known as the Washington ‘Redskins,’ but the Court will refrain from using the team name unless reference is made to a direct quote where the name appears.” What did Messitte call the Redskins? “The Washington Team.”

Will Washington owner Daniel Snyder win this uphill battle and ultimately get to keep his team’s name? Read more about the ongoing saga in The Washington Post.

This Is The Worst Brand Tweet of the Week (Fast Company)

With brands constantly trying to tie their messaging to current events, there are bound to be some that miss the mark. It may seem to you that a toilet paper brand would not have the easiest time capitalizing on current events, and you’re probably right considering the backlash against one particularly bad brand tweet last week.

Fast Company, among many others, called out the toilet paper company, Cottonelle, for this head-scratching tweet:

If that wasn’t enough for you, check out the full article, which contains another Lebron James tweet by another toilet paper company.

About the author

Rosanne Mottola, APR

Rosanne Mottola, APR

Rosanne Mottola, APR, is public relations manager for the Public Relations Society of America. She is an adjunct professor of public relations at St. John’s University, Staten Island. Mottola obtained a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University in 2010. You can connect with her on Twitter @RoeMoPR or on LinkedIn.

Leave a Comment