Wal-Mart's New Brand Icon
Has anyone noticed the new symbol that Wal-Mart has begun using lately? And, oh by the way, it's now Walmart, instead of Wal-Mart. They dropped the hypen.
It's that small yellowish starburst "thingy" (shown in the image at left). I'll refer to it as their brand icon. And while it does follow the old Walmart star with some degree of connection (which is good), I am not loving the design.
Instantly when I saw it, the icon reminded me of another brand. It took about 2.5 seconds for my brain to recall the resemblance.
It quickly reminded me of the Holiday Inn brand. The iconography is pretty similar. The new Walmart starburst icon suggests the old Holiday Inn icon--at least in my brain it does.
Now, I'm not saying that the two icons are identical. They're not. But if I thought it, there's bound to be 10,000 others who will have the same impression. That's not good.
When you have a budget the magnitude of Walmart's, maybe you just assume that you can erase and overcome those other-brand associations through the sheer number of impressions. It possible, but it's an expensive proposition. It would have been better to design something more unique.
Walmart will spend tens of millions to re-brand the starburst symbol in our brains, reprogramming us through visual repetitions so that some time in the future a yellowish-gold starburst object (one blogger referred to it as a "cat butt") will make us think primarily of Walmart. Gee, I can hardly wait. [sarcasm]
Are any marketing geniuses out there more excited about this than I am?