New Yahoo Logo Design: Marketing Stunt Sparks Confusion, Derision On Twitter And Facebook

Yahoo Yahoo Inc. offices, housing its Search Marketing Group, are pictured in Burbank, Calif.  Reuters/Fred Prouser

It’s been little more than a year since Marissa Mayer took over as chief executive of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), and in an effort to remind the world of all the changes that have taken place in that time, the Sunnyvale, Calif., web giant is unveiling a new logo -- very slowly.

In a Tumblr post on Wednesday, Yahoo’s chief marketing officer Kathy Savitt said the company plans to introduce a new logo next month, following “30 days of change” during which time Yahoo’s network of websites will feature a different variation of its logo each day.

“Over the past year, there’s been a renewed sense of purpose and progress at Yahoo, and we want everything we do to reflect this spirit of innovation,” Savitt wrote. “While the company is rapidly evolving, our logo -- the essence of our brand -- should too.”

In other words, Yahoo users are going to be bombarded with 30 different logos over the next month -- all draped in purple and punctuated with an exclamation point. Savitt gives no indication in her post that Yahoo plans to solicit user input on which logos work best, nor does it appear that the company is using its home page as a logo test bed. In fact, it’s not even clear whether a logo has already been chosen or is still in the works. Savitt simply calls the marketing stunt “our way of having some fun while honoring the legacy of our present logo.”

It’s an unusual variation on what has become an all-too-usual way for Web companies to make themselves the topic of social media conversation. Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG), of course, is able to routinely influence Twitter’s trending topics sidebar with its homespun Google Doodles, which celebrate random anniversaries with artful alterations to Google’s logo.

Likewise, Yahoo’s announcement has sparked much chatter across Facebook and Twitter, but perhaps not the kind Yahoo was hoping for. Indeed, much of it merely reflected confusion about what the company is up to.

Yahoo posted its first temporary logo early Wednesday morning, a sterile approximation using an Arial typeface. But on the Yahoo Facebook page, users seemed to think it was the finished product -- and many weren’t happy.

“The old logo looks way better,” one user wrote. “This looks indeed cheap and like someone had no inspiration at all.”

“This is terrible,” wrote another. “Great job if that’s what you were going for!”

“Why is every big company changing their logos to these minimalist designs???” complained another user. “Looks terrible and worse than the original.”

On Twitter, meanwhile, users seemed to have more of a sense that the temporary logo was one of many more to come, but general consensus toward the logo’s aesthetics remained the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media and tech reporters have been generally unkind toward the campaign as well, with Kara Swisher of All Things D calling it “yet another flashy PR effort under Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.”

Since Mayer took the reins last summer, Yahoo has seen the purchase of Tumblr, an upgrade to Flickr and a major redesign of Yahoo Mail. Each of those changes has met with resistance and even hostility from users, which to some extent is to be expected when online services get overhauled. In regards to Yahoo’s new logo, the only thing everyone seems to agree on is that it’s going to be a very long 30 days.

Yahoo’s final new logo will be unveiled on Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 9 p.m. PST.

Got a news tip? Send me an email. Follow me on Twitter: @christopherzara

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