Spot the missing word

How important is a wordmark to a company’s branding? Would you recognise a logo without seeing the name? As companies such as Doritos and Mastercard have chosen to remove the names from their logos, Claire Baldwin looks at what makes brands able to survive on a logo alone.

Another level of brand recognition

Doritos recently launched a new advertising campaign that completely removed their name from their branding. The ‘Another Level’ campaign was targeted at Gen-Z’s desire to reject traditional advertising, in a world where brands are trying to make their marketing less on-the-nose and more integrated with the digital age.

The campaign includes a TV advert that Doritos referred to as an ‘anti-ad’. It opens with a narrator informing viewers: “For a chip so iconic, we don’t need to name it. ‘Cause this is an ad with no logos, no jingles, no gimmicks. Just those red and blue bags with the stuff you love in it.”

Instead of focusing on the brand and what the product is, the advert instead focuses on how consumers interact with the product itself, such as shaking the last few crumbs from the packet, and getting the tangy flavour powder on their fingers. The ad brings the viewer’s existing familiarity with the product to the forefront of the campaign, stimulating memories and a desire to again experience that “sweet, cheesy, salty, spicy, crispy, crunchy, flavour-packed” snack.

Source:  The Drum

Source: The Drum

 As well as removing their name from their advert, Doritos also removed it from the internet, changing their website and social media handles to “Logo Goes Here”. They shared tweets like “It’s 2019 do people even use names anymore” and “You’ve all been referring to us as “red” and “blue” for forever so might as well make it official”, showing an appreciation of how real people interact with brands.



Logo flexibility for the digital age


While Doritos’ campaign is temporary, several other notable brands have decided to either remove their wordmark completely or focus on using the logo on its own.

Coffee chain Starbucks made its brand design evolution public on a new website, explaining exactly what the vision for the brand is from its use of colour and typography through to tone of voice and photography.

Source:  Starbucks

Source: Starbucks

The site explains: “As we evolve to meet beautifully diverse customers all over the world, our brand has evolved too.” This is an interesting and important message for their overall branding, showing that they value inclusivity and growth.

As for the famous Siren logo, the website states: “The preferred approach is to use the Siren logo by itself, unlocked from the wordmark. This allows flexibility to present the Siren with greater prominence while maintaining a considered, open and modern presentation.” This idea of prominence works especially well in the digital age, which often requires logos to be presented on very small screens, which can make wordmarks difficult to read.

Leveraging brand heritage

Similarly, Mastercard has chosen to permanently remove the wordmark from their interlinking circle logo for the first time since its inception in 1968.

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communication officer at Mastercard, stated that, according to research, “more than 80% of people” recognize the logo without the brand name and said: “We are proud of our rich brand heritage and are excited to see the iconic circles standing on their own.”

The change is to create the “modern simplicity” that is required for the digital age and, while the logo looks clean and is still recognisable, not all brands could get away with this.

Source:  Brand New

Source: Brand New

There are many companies that have survived for decades without the use of a wordmark, thanks to their popularity, strong brand presence, and highly recognisable logos. Examples include Apple, Nike, Adidas and McDonald, who have leveraged their ubiquity, brand lifestyles and distinct logos to create brands that are stronger than words.

Create your own strong brand

 While most companies won’t have the instantly recognisable logo success of the examples we’ve just looked at, a strong brand and thoughtful logo design are key to your company’s image.

 If you’re looking to create a new brand or refresh your existing logo to better represent your company’s values in the digital age, get in touch with DWH today.



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Claire has over 10 years' copywriting experience across a range of print and digital media, working with a variety of styles, formats and tones of voice. She has written as part of an in-house team client side, as well as at marketing agencies based in the East Midlands. Claire's services include copywriting, copy editing, content creation and proofreading.