There are lots of predictable places to put a logo: on a white t-shirt, a billboard or a ballpoint pen. But that isn’t going to get you any attention (unless the attention you want is your ill-fitting, logo shirt being used as a rag in houses around the nation).
Getting creative (or even a little weird) with your logo placement can creating a branding win. Unfortunately, that strategy can also blow up in your face.
Here are some great examples of weird logo placement, and why they’re fabulous (or fails).
You lucky dog…
I’m not saying that any business can benefit from logo placement on an adorable dog. No, I take that back. I totally am. Your brand may have something to do with animals, but even if it doesn’t, your logo will look irresistible on someone’s best friend.
Do you run the risk of your logo ending up on Cujo? Maybe, but it’s worth it. Check out these guys.
When logo placement goes bad
You found a great place for your logo, congratulations! Maybe inside an upscale shopping mall that gets tons of traffic, for example. Yet you made a fatal error: you didn’t think the logo placement all the way through.
How hard would it have been to either specify only the going up side of the escalator? Or make two versions and insist that the ad always be heading up? Due to lack of foresight, TA is now crashing into a shiny marble floor.
There are only two ways the Starbucks logo on this van can be seen: door open, and door closed. Guess which half of the equation did not get solved?
“No-brainers” still require a little thought from you. Think it through, each position and setting. Create usage guidelines for your logo so you can preempt more obvious problems. And if you’re planning to put your logo on anything, get a final confirmation look before the project moves forward.
You designed it to go there why?
Next, a quick look at logos and a few ads that were specifically intended to be placed where they are—to horrible effect.
The taxi below makes some people want to run away. It makes others want to hang around in the backseat waaaay too long. This placement doesn’t do anything for the brand, because it draws your eyes away from the logo and toward other features in the ad.
It’s not a logo. . . But we had to include that second example of the same mysterious problem. If this were Hooters, then the placement would be ingenious. But it isn’t, on either point. Extra points deducted because this placement covers the entire vehicle. It’s not just an ad on the side. They could have moved these elements anywhere. They just didn’t.
The do’s of design
- If your logo placement makes your customers ask, “Why, oh why?!” you should beware.
- Seriously, if you are designing for a specific location, avoid screwing the whole thing up. I guess that’s the bottom line here. Get a second set of eyes on the final design to be sure you didn’t miss anything. If something looks weird, it probably is.
Unexpected logo placement
Some unusual logo placements totally work, but for a limited list of businesses.
For example, the trend of branding ice with logos. Not only would this be ineffective for many businesses, it could be downright counterproductive.
Let’s say Citibank was sponsoring a big gala event. Should they brand the ice cubes with their logo? Maybe not, since the logo would instantly begin to melt away and be gone in minutes; given that their general value proposition is has to do with growth, progress, and protecting clients’ assets, this might not communicate what they want it to.
What about this Folger’s ad on a manhole cover?
Well, the upside is that the ad naturally steams like a cup of coffee. The downside is that it steams because it’s over a sewer of human waste. Is this a success? Well, it probably made people remember it.
Avoid placements that are directly counter to your brand’s value proposition. And also avoid the sewer.
The human body: a mixed bag
In some ways getting your brand on an actual person’s body could be a fabulous move. It certainly worked for Ernst & Young.
They paid the two guys behind BuyMyFace.com (now on Facebook, see below) to get video of themselves doing things like skydiving and go-karting with the E&Y logo on their faces. The two would post the videos on social media and their website and E&Y got the exposure they wanted.
If you don’t want to pay specific people to wear your logo on their faces, you can just create lots of temporary tattoos with your logo, distribute them, and hope for the best.
Of course you run the risk of a logo placement like this. Although this is, I believe, a real tattoo, used only to illustrate just how concerned you should probably be about your temporary logo tattoos being placed unfavorably.
But there are even riskier ways to place your logos on bodies.
For example, New Zealand clothing chain Superette altered benches so that people sitting on them in shorts and skirts would end up with their logo and message on their thighs. Depending on who sits down, though, that might or might not be the look you’re going for as a hip, daisy duke shorts and mini-skirt selling store.
Finally, there’s the old put-your-logo-on-women’s-butts thing. Juicy may have started it, but now it’s just a thing.
Make sure it’s your brand’s thing before you do this. KFC on butts sort of works, somehow, maybe as an ironic statement. However, not all brands are butt-friendly. If your business is insurance, financial advice, or tutoring services for kids, butt logo placement may not be a great choice.
- Unless you’re renting specific faces, you can’t control who sports your logo—or where.
- Logos on things like temporary tattoos can be really fun, especially for a less serious brand. But never forget, every temporary tattoo has the potential to become a “tramp stamp.”
- Think it through very carefully before branding butts.
You might think you’re covering all your bases if you sign up for logo placement with keyword parameters controlling where your logo shows up. Occasionally, this has unexpected yet hilarious results. From time to time, the results are just plain awful.
This AFLAC logo placement is, I think, in the “Bob Ross happy accident” category. It is delightful, unless you’re reading the article because you have a clinical fear of ducks watching you. If that’s the case, it sucks.
And oh dear, Competition Briquets. All you wanted was for your ads and logo to be placed near content about grilling.
The keys to keywords
- Be very specific when providing keywords for platforms that will place your logo
- Specify any keywords that should not be included
Be creative (but be smart)
I hope you enjoyed our little journey into the Twilight Zone of logo placements. Even though they sometimes fail, it’s always exciting to see creative logo placement, especially when you never would have thought of them otherwise. There are only so many branded mousepads the world can handle, right? So why not aim for something totally new with your next logo placement?