One Insignia; $10M

May 31, 2011

Some years ago I was dumbfounded to learn that British Airways had paid millions of pounds sterling to a consulting company for the redesign of their tailplane insignia. I know that insignia and logos are very important to branding and owning a piece of customers minds, but this struck me as just bonkers. And the insignia which they chose is the one they continue to use. Not exciting. I am sure that BA can explain the cost easily enough using statistics like “positive impressions per hour of flight’ or PIPHOF. Not to be confused with “positive impressions per hours of gate hold” or PIPHOGH. And amortized over the number of years in use it is of course a bargain. A bargain that is, if you are an idiot.

A similar reaction overcame me when reading Prudential Insurances new slogan, “Making Sure People Don’t Outlive Their Money”. A few moments of reflection suggested that this slogan could just have easily been used by several syndicated crime organizations. Appropriate you may say. But I will try to be gracious and give them the benefit of the doubt. But I suspect that Prudential probably paid many millions of dollars for this rather ambiguous slogan to a very clever and wealthy consulting company.

The saddest conclusion that I came to is that neither of these companies, and many others like them, have enough corporate confidence to come up with their own slogans, tag lines, insignia and logos. It is not as if they are short of cash. And I cannot believe that they have no employee who could not create what is needed on the back of their pay stub. Outsourcing. Its a curse.

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