Verizon's new logo. New ticks for old tricks

  • Expensive minor make-over.
  • Accompanied by tsunami of gobbledygook 'rationales'
  • Logo stands for "simplicity, honesty and joy"!!!
  • Connects ''present to future", apparently.

There's always one, isn't there, just when you think normality is back and it's safe to come out from under the sofa? What with the Labor Day weekend, the official end of summer in the US, upon us and the Silly Season just about over for another year, no-one could have expected that 2015's final, and particularly silly, 'hurrah' would emanate from a company as big, painfully self-aware and pompous as Verizon, but it has - and it's a doozy. So, hold the front page! Stop all the clocks and all on you knees and all shout in unison, "We are in awe. We are not worthy!" 

Yup, Verizon has spent God knows how many millions of dollars on a new logo!! Given the PR and publicity blitz surrounding the earth-shattering announcement the new 'banner with a strange device' is evidently the most important thing that has happened in the entire world in the year to date and will continue to be far into the distant future. Or so they would like to have us believe.

However, setting aside the swirling maelstrom of puffery and hype for a moment, and cutting with great difficulty through the miasma to the nub of the matter, what Verizon has done is to commission a design company, Pentagram, to 'update' its logo. The result is that Verizon's red 'z' has gone, as has the big 'tick' mark (a 'check mark' in American parlance) above the word "Verizon". It has been replaced with a much smaller tick/check mark to the right of the word 'Verizon." That's it. Nothing more to see here. Move along please.

Bolloxspeak writ large and loud

OK, so Verizon's corporate ID will look a bit different going forward. Big deal. Lot's of other companies do the same, Google being a recent case in point. That a design tweak should get such an enormous amount of media attention is beyond comprehension but to read the so-called 'rationales' of those behind the undoubtedly expensive but limited make-over is a great buttock-clenching exercise.

Where to start? Well with Verizon, obviously. In a press statement the company says, "In a world that is constantly changing and introducing new technology, our customers rely on us every day to deliver the connections that matter to them. We make it possible for today's always-on consumers to watch videos, listen to music, navigate city streets and stay in touch across the globe".(Yes, mate, you are a telco. That's what you are supposed to do.)  
The statement ends, "Simply put, we deliver the promise of the digital world and we need a logo that expresses our purpose in a way that is truly ours." Ah, that explains it. All we need to be told now is exactly how the new design does that. Strangely there's nothing from Verizon on that important point quite yet, but executives at HQ have been up all night thumbing their Funk and Wagnalls in desperation.

And then how about Micheal Bierut, the Pentagram partner who headed-up the work on the new logo. He says the revision acknowledges Verizon's "role as being ubiquitous as a kind of brand with a big footprint and one that isn't trying to add to the visual noise around us." Really? Presumably though that doesn't include the ongoing deafening cacophony PR drum-banging claptrap and the accompanying deluges of bugle oil in which we are all drowning.

Strength though Joy

Verizon, meanwhile, says the new logo is a "visual statement that honors our history and reflects an identity that stands for simplicity, honesty and joy". Joy!! Joy!!! JOY!!! For  crying out loud. What is wrong with these people?  It really is enough to make a strong man cry and cause cats to laugh. 

Meanwhile, a Verizon spokeswoman, Kim Ancin, in an interviee with Adweek, explained, "We wanted to stay true to who we are and kind of connect our present to our future." Yeah, like, right on, kind of. Gordon Bennett!

All this nonsense and gibberish was, of course, an absolute gift for John Legere of T-Mobile, Verizon's arch-enemy-in-chief and would be Nemesis. He took the opportunity to rubbish the entire exercise and to list beneath a magenta-tinted version of the new logo a list of what he perceives to be Verizon's questionable business practices. They included, "Screws over customers", "Keeps all your unused data", "Hefty fees for international roaming", "No early upgrade offers" ands "Data overage penalties". These points were all followed with one of Verizon's new ticks.

Verizon's response is that the new logo is "more than just a new look to go along with our renewed purpose" (whatever that may be given that it is not articulated) "and marks the beginning of the next chapter to distinguish Verizon in the minds of consumers and signals our revitalized purpose of delivering the promise of the digital world -- simply, reliably and in a way that consumers want."

Well now, customers really want is genuine competition,lower prices, an end to gouging, restrictive contracts and sneaky penalties along with good customer service and transparency. If the new logo brings that along in it's bubbly phosphorecent wake subscribers will be happy.

So simple, a 4 year-old child could do it

For a final word, back to Mr. Bierut of Pentagram. Obviously worried about reaction to an overblown story and evidently feeling the need to get his retaliation in early, he commented,"Before the week is over, someone will say "my 4-year-old could have done that" (Yup, they already have). "Having done this for four decades, I've come to actually appreciate that as a positive thing. Four-year-olds can draw hearts and smileys and peace signs too. Those are great, universally understood symbols. They can't draw most complicated telecom logos because, why would they want to? And what they mean is too obscure. There's something about that universal understandability that was too tempting to pass up."

No shit, Sherlock. 

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