AOL is now Aol.—complete with period. In the campaign designed by Wolff Olins, the old logo is now offset by hundreds of different backgrounds that include everything from a leaf to a kissing couple to a goldfish. The change is part of a larger strategy to create a "new brand identity" for the ailing company—last week AOL announced they were laying off a third of their employees—prior to being spun off next month by Time Warner. Will the new logo help revive the faded online giant? (Watch a video showing off AOL's revamped image)
It signals a new day for AOL: This rebranding is "the media equivalent of moving out of your parents' house, heading to the nearest tattoo and piercing parlor, and yelling FREEEEEEDOM!" says Caroline McCarthy at CNET News. This is about more than just their logo, though. New CEO Tim Armstrong, formerly of Google, "keeps talking up AOL's future as a powerhouse in digital content and publishing."
"Farewell, triangles: AOL preps its post-Time Warner look"
Nothing can save it: A radical reshift in brand identity suggests something's wrong, says ad man Oliver Reichnestein to the Christian Science Monitor. "Well, we all know what": AOL's business is "obsolete." The redesign of the logo, which amounts to "random images" is surely a "drastic measure." If the rebranding's goal was to illustrate how redundant AOL is, you'd have to say: "job well done."
"Goodbye, AOL triangle. Hello, AOL goldfish."
Rebranding makes sense, but they’ve bungled it: AOL "has an eclectic mix of content sites" attractive to advertisers, says Jeff Bertolucci at PC World, including gossip site TMZ and tech blog Engadget. But this logo just doesn't suggest Internet superiority. "Cynics may suggest that the lower case characters symbolize erectile dysfunction," reminding people that AOL is "not the virile Internet player it once was." The days when AOL had 34 million subscribers "are long gone."
"AOL changes its logo, and more"
The worst part? The logo is too easy to parody: "Anyone with Arial on their machine will be more than happy to slap an “Aol.” on whatever they find funny or demeaning," says Armin at Brand New (click to see examples of parodies). "When you are a media giant, vulnerable to an endless array of criticism, you have to be careful what ammunition you give your haters."
"Aol. Generation. Next."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- How to make classic pulled pork
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- Game of Thrones is making a huge mistake by cutting Lady Stoneheart
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
Subscribe to the Week