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Big Orange Slide

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

What brand do you think is most in need of a makeover and why?

February 25, 2010 by Big Orange Slide

Illustration by Colin Craig

37 Comments on "What brand do you think is most in need of a makeover and why?"

  • Haley Fiege
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:42 am

    Criagslist for sure. For one of the most useful classifieds sites on the web it has a horrible interface and the brand has taken a hit in the last year because of those creepy singles ads incidents. I would love to see it in the same league as Ebay in terms of usability and public perception.

  • Dave
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    Saab for sure. A once quirky and beloved brand with a terrific narrative (born from jets) that has since been reduced to cross-platform mediocrity by the geniuses who brought us the Aztec. Add to that the recent uncertainty about its very future, brought about by GM’s restructuring, has left the Saab brand and its legion of loyal fans flapping in the wind. My fingers are crossed that Spyker will show Saab some love.

  • Stuart Thursby
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:56 am

    Either of Coffee Time or Country Style. Tim Horton’s is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but the alternatives — if I ever couldn’t find a branch in this Timmy’s-saturated country of ours — are terrible.

  • Brian
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    At first it was new and fresh, then it became creepy and off-putting, now it’s just beating a dead horse!

  • simon billing
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:01 am

    Microsoft: it’s never been hip but it was once acknowledged grudgingly as a leader in certain areas. Today they feel a bit like GM when all the exciting, hip, innovative imports began to put them in the shade.

    Love him or hate him, Gates was a giant in the industry and has now largely pulled away from the business to concentrate on philanthropy leaving the blustering Steve Ballmer as the face of the company.

    Definitely seem to have lost their way and more and more examples of left hand not knowing what right hand is doing further dilutes any sense of strategic purpose.

    And then of course some major miscues with advertising and marketing programs over the past couple of years.

  • Haley Fiege
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:08 am

    ^ Yeah Bill Gates is actually this super cool guy and not evil at all. Too bad his good personal branding couldn’t have rubbed off on Microsoft.

  • Jon Finkelstein
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:12 am

    M&M Meat Shops. Love the products. But the brand is dull. The food is amazing, but the white boxes? Doesn’t deliver on the promise of what’s inside. It feels like no-name.

  • Chris Dyck
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:16 am

    Subway Sandwiches.
    I don’t understand what is up with all of those monkeys. It has gone from intriguing to annoying nonsense, but who I am I kidding, it is not stopping me from getting a footlong subway melt.

  • Jon Crowley
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:16 am

    This week? Toyota.

  • Wes Dean
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:21 am

    TTC: Though with around 1.5 million passengers being transported daily, it will always be an uphill battle to have a favorable brand impression with everyone. It just seems like TTC support is at an all-time low.

  • Ian Mackenzie
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    I actually like the “Windows 7 was my idea . . . I’m a PC” campaign. Though it’s likely not enough to shore up the brand against the Apple tsunami.

    Coffee Time and Country Style? Agreed. There are ways to do downmarket/discount without making it feel threadbare – like No Frills, maybe.

    My pick for brand makeover is the International Olympic Committee. By policing the brand so heavily, they’ve lost an opportunity to inspire the kind of participation the games are meant to stand for.

  • Miranda Voth
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:25 am

    WalMart. I know they had some kind of logo redesign a while back but it hasn’t blinded me from remembering all the bad press associated with the brand. On top of that, I hear Target is coming to Canada in the near future and WalMart’s flying smiley-face ads just aren’t inciting me to buy cheap products there anymore. I much prefer the stylish red and white ads from Target.

  • Colin Craig
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    The Bay – tired and old fashioned. Store interiors need a major facelift. Maybe they should consider separate boutique stores with a more exclusive product offering. Their success with the Olympics gives them a good opportunity to lift their brand in the public’s eye. And Canada definitely has a soft spot for them.

  • John Cranney
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    Volvo! 3rd most popular brand name in Sweden (after Ikea and, eh… Dolph Lundgren). It needs something new to move it away from it’s current Soccer Mom persona. They have a new design team, but it just doesn’t seem to be working.

  • Scott McLean
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    To Haley’s point about Craigslist, Wired magazine did a cover story on them and actually had a few studios mock up redesigns for their site (some designs were just weird):

  • Stuart Thursby
    February 25, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    The TTC is another good one as well. Los Angeles Transit seems to have made some impact on their uphill battle in the commuter capital of the universe (see this link:

  • Harvey Carroll
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    Starbucks. Once a great brand driven by great experience they seem to have lost their way. Certainly, the recession does not help when you are selling a $4 coffee but I think the bigger issue has been moving from their focus of providing a unique experience. The idea of paying $4 for a coffee seems crazy but the idea of paying $4 for an experience or an escape can be rationalized. The reality is that if you have been in a Starbucks lately likely the experience you got was closer to a hassle than an escape. Too bad for them but a huge opportunity for Second Cup and Tim Hortons.

  • Stuart Thursby
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    Err…the link without a bracket at the end! That’s the ticket..

  • Matt Rogers
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    Where to start?

    Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Enough with the snarky lady and cast of himbo angels. How hard is it to sell cheese, it’s delicious!

    Charmin. If you’re going to use animated bears with bits of toilet paper stuck to their rears, at least play up the “bear bums” connection more.

    Swiss Chalet. You’re the Tim Horton’s of casual dining but can’t seem to settle on a consistent tone and feel. And your sauce is the crack of condiments. “Swiss Chalet. You’ll steal your neighbours TV for our sauce.”

  • Wes Dean
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    That is a very interesting article about the Los Angeles Metro.

  • Laurie Maxwell
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    does anyone even shop here anymore?
    with huge Walmarts popping up everywhere, they have been fighting tough competition for years. er, … ok, they’ve pretty much lost the battle, and are just hanging in.
    the stores are dirty and outdated.
    The Lowest Price is the Law ? Proudly Canadian ? … huh ?

  • David Chiavegato
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:24 am

    Tiger Woods

  • Thomas Degez
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:30 am

    Hummer – the brand that every urbanite and environmentalist love to hate. With Tengzhong unable to make good on the purchase from GM, the brand could very well end up in the gutter. Add in volatile commodity prices and shaky economic forecasts to the mix and you have a very frightening market for Hummer. So what are the next steps? Does GM seek out another buyer? Cut its losses and simply dissolve the brand? or hope that there’s a market (and enough dollars in the bank) to push through the H3 Hybrid model…

    Or maybe Tata will bite?

  • Rob W
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    Coffee Time, C’mon, plum and yellow? and That curly font? The original sucked to begin with, now the new one? ugh, I have to look at it every time I leave my house…

  • Chris Boyle
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:45 am

    The Toronto Blue Jays

    Official team colours: Blue, Black, Graphite, Silver, White

    A blue accent for a team called the Blue Jays?

    Silver, Graphite and Black? They put a ton of effort into drawing the youth market by trying to go black and edgy like the Raiders, yet most of the city’s youth is wearing the powder blue retro jersey and hat.

    They have managed to disconnect from the championship years and their unique Canadian identity.

    They have had success with the retro nights, but they really need to ditch the graphite and black.

  • Michelle Davey
    February 25, 2010 @ 11:51 am

    @ Wes and @ Stuart in RE: TTC rebranding

    There is a great article in this week’s Eye weekly Newspaper on the TTC’s branding. It showcases how the LCBO has evolved as a excellent example of a brand and how the TTC needs to start thinking. After this article there is also an article by Bruce Mau who goes through what he would do if he was to be the CD for the TTC.

    Definitely worth a read:

    Why the TTC should get liquored up.

    A creative director for the TTC?

  • John Cranney
    February 25, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    I thought they did give Catholicism a makeover?

  • Ameet
    February 25, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    @Michelle.. that was a fantastic article..well worth the read…

  • Randy Stein
    February 25, 2010 @ 5:10 pm


    It’s the second best city in Canada (No, I’m not suggesting that as the tagline) yet the way we promote it is always so unimaginative.


    Same as above – except Ontario is a Province.

  • Ben Weinberg
    February 25, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    Anton Ratinsky. A brand that used to stand for ‘bold ties’ and ’sweater vests’ and ‘possible criminal connections’ has recently lost its way.

  • Jim Monteath
    February 26, 2010 @ 12:37 am

    Were you more interested in brands that were tired/vague or ones that need damage control? How deep does a “makeover” have to go before it becomes surgery, the witness protection program or euthanasia?

    Walmart changed their logo a while ago. That didn’t change their brand in my eyes one iota: I still won’t shop there.

    Toyota is currently engaged in a mea culpa PR campaign, which I see as being a short-term damage control tactic. I’m not yet sure what they are going to do to rehabilitate their overall brand.

    The U.S. mercenary company Blackwater renamed their company Xe last year, in a cynical move to distance themselves from their questionable behaviour in Iraq that no brand lipstick would ever cover.

    Decades ago, the drug Thalidomide was promoted as a treatment for morning sickness in pregnant women, until it was discovered to cause severe birth effects. That’s a brand that had to go into retirement. FYI: the drug still exists, is now called Thalomid and is used to treat leprosy, just not for pregnant women.

  • Jacoub Bondre
    February 26, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

    Wow Jim . . . wow. :D

  • Jim Monteath
    February 28, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

    Hey Jacoub: your “wows” could be interpreted to mean a number of things. e.g.,

    1) I nailed the point precisely.
    2) I missed the point by a wide margin.
    3) I made interesting, but tangential, points that you never considered.
    4) I should seek psychiatric help.
    5) You never considered that some brands (like Thalidomide) can’t be given a makeover and need to be buried.
    6) It’s never appropriate to make Thalidomide or leprosy references.

    I’d appreciate some more specific feedback, otherwise I’ll likely interpret it in the most personally favourable fashion and won’t even consider moderating my behaviour.

    I just thought that the question “What brand do you think is most in need of a makeover and why?” needed some clarification, especially around the “makeover” part.

    Although I did wonder why the question was being asked in the first place.

  • Robert G Boulay
    March 12, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

    TTC, definitely. If you want to see my proposal, please check:

    Comments are welcome.

  • Ian Mackenzie
    March 12, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    Hey Robert.

    Love your TTC logo proposal. Smart.

  • Thom Antonio
    March 16, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

    It took me a while to get this one. Probably because I agree that the TTC is the first brand I would think needs a major makeover. I also believe it is more than just a logo as Robert suggested. This organization needs a new voice, a new face, and a new soul. Graphically, most designers would love to have control of as much media as they own: 500+ streetcars, ±5 miles of linear footage on subway cars, 1000 or more buses, 35 stations… and there is no media buy required!! It’s sad that nobody has really been able to show the TTC how much value this has to them.

  • Thom Antonio
    March 16, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    MY additional 2¢ on brands in need of a makeover: Toronto Police, RCMP, OPP; basically any law enforcement group. They all seem to have fallen into some black hole of design that forces them to only rely on tradition as their brand guide. So many possibilities…

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