Lucky Strike’s Silence Intensifies Critique of its RebrandWritten by Flavia Barbat / Featured in: Creative, Packaged Goods / 18.04.2013.
What would you say upon discovering that Lucky Strike has decided to rebrand, to change its entire image? You would probably be surprised, as surprised as the rest of us were a few days ago when a new logo and packaging concept for Lucky Strike appeared on Under Consideration’s site, Brand New. Take a look:
Photo source: underconsideration.com
First of all, nobody seems to actually know whether this rebrand is indeed happening or not. The first appearance of the new design, conceptualized by G2 Germany, occurred on a German website that is only accessible to German computers, so the entire branding industry is wondering whether this new concept will be applied globally or only in Germany.
Lucky Strike has been around since 1871 and, apart from Raymond Loewy’s push towards white packaging (when it was once green), it seems that Lucky Strike has never made such a drastic shift. Not only is the logo remodeled, but there are also some additions–such as branded stamps and the word “Luckies” at the bottom–to the packaging design. All in all, the new logo seems more reminiscent of the vintage tin packaging that Lucky Strike had back when it was only chewing tobacco. This then begs the question: Is this considered progress? Is it considered evolution? And, more importantly, was it truly necessary?
Even without a press release, the brand has managed to attract a great deal of attention–and critiques–as a result of these confusing developments. Design Tagebuch mentions that Lucky Strike’s German website describes the rebrand as an improvement, highlighting that the logo and packaging both tell you about the origins of the brand. Some may agree that the placement of RA Patterson Tobacco Company and Richmond, Virginia, on the logo may usher in American associations that signify true, classic and natural tobacco–things the brand definitely wishes to communicate. Also, the packaging itself (with the newly-added stamps) allows consumers to also see what RA Patterson, the inventor of Luckies, looked like and when his idea was fabricated.
Photo source: underconsideration.com
Others, on the other hand, are not as convinced. W & V’s Franziska Mozart interviewed Armin Angerer, the Managing Partner of the Peter Schmidt Group in Hamburg, regarding the Lucky Strike rebrand. Angerer is responsible for product branding and packaging on a day-to-day basis and argues some valid points during his interview. When speaking of the unexpected and seemingly-quick rebrand, Angerer states that there must have been something wrong with the previous brand image; apart from an emergency, Angerer simply cannot find a reason as to why such a traditional and renowned brand would make this kind of radical decision.
Angerer also architects a great argument around the logo redesign itself, noting that the original logo was recognized across the globe, while the new one makes the name itself look much smaller and, therefore, ineffective. Angerer quickly states that he is not against rebranding, but that a shift (as big as this one) in strategy necessitates a slow introduction supported both by content and design. And it seems that his peers agree with him. A large selection of design experts were asked to give their opinion regarding Lucky Strike’s redesign and most of them responded negatively. The common reasons for their reactions were the rapidity of the rebrand, the superficiality of the logo redesign and a loss of the trademark value built throughout the years. Furthermore, many also speak of the public’s possible reaction, assuming that a particular loss of trust occurred between the brand and its consumers because of communication inefficiency.
Lack of communication seems to have truly hindered the rebrand’s success with industry leaders and the public alike. It is possible that more transparency and access to information regarding Lucky Strike’s decision would have fostered better comprehension and analysis from all of its critics (whether they enjoy the redesign or not). Indeed, so many days have passed and the branding world is still wondering: Why?