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America runs on … opinions.
The akhia communications creative team had a little discussion on the recent branding changes to Dunkin’ Donuts (dropped the Donuts) and Weight Watchers (switching to just ‘WW’).
Here is a look at what they had to say.
It’s the reboot era. Everything from Magnum P.I. to Murphy Brown.
And it appears brands are no exception. In case you missed it,
both recently announced new branding.
America may run on Dunkin’; but it also runs on opinions. Everyone has one, including our creative team, who works on brand development and management every day. Here are a few of our takeaways – what do you think?
jessica forrester, associate creative director.
I don’t mind the change to Dunkin’. It’s what most people call the brand in conversation, and they’ve been slowly rolling out more and more offerings—like the afternoon “snack” menu that came out this summer—for a while. They’ve been way more than Donuts for a long time—so why not have a name that reflects that? And this move feels like a slight tweak, and not a complete rename. In terms of branding, I’m just glad they’re keeping the iconic color scheme of orange and bright pink. I’ve always loved it—and I can’t think of another brand in ANY industry that uses something similar.
I HATE the change from “Weight Watchers” to “WW.” It’s a completely clunky thing to say, and it almost sounds like you’re going to say “WWE” or start listing off a web address, doesn’t it? I understand wanting to highlight the fact that the company offers a total wellness solution, but as someone who has been a member in the past, I can assure you that probably 99 percent of people are there to lose weight. Yes, I wanted to be healthier as a result, but I was there to lose weight. At the end of the day, weight loss is still the core of what the company offers. Also, it’s interesting to me that the company made this change on the heels of completely transforming its beloved Points system earlier this year—a change that I know a lot of users did not like or find success with. This move feels … like maybe they didn’t think it through all the way?
niki forner, art director.
In regard to Dunkin’, I think it’s the next logical step for them. They have great brand recognition and have been utilizing the Dunkin’ only name in their marketing for a while now, it just makes sense that they drop the “donuts”. And I like how clean it is.
If they came out with this out of the gate, it wouldn’t work. It works so well because of the equity they have built.
jason smith, associate creative director.
The Dunkin’ evolution doesn’t really feel like an evolution. Does anyone actually call it Dunkin’ Donuts? If they just did it, and didn’t announce it, how long would it be until people noticed? That is the experiment I would like to see. Feels a bit “much to do ado nothing.” Which in some regard is the best kind of brand evolution, natural, instinctual, and after it’s done, a bit obvious.
Now creatively speaking, in the logo instances where they drop the vowels it feels a bit forced and contrived. Even though I really like the square version on the cups ….
As for WW … while the rationale is completely on point, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Really, is anyone going to call it “WW” beyond corporate? It’s like when Prince’s name became a symbol, and everyone was just confused. “The company formerly known as weight watchers.” Nevermind that they are walking away from a huge amount of equity.
The typeface of the mark is too heavy for a brand about health and the counterforms of the Ws (the arrows) are too prominent because of all the tension points. For all these missteps, the tagline is really nice (‘Wellness that works’)
In my opinion, if they left the name the same, and used the tagline and monogram as the visual representation it would make more sense, even with my misgivings about the mark.
christina warner, senior copywriter.
I think one brand is naturally evolving and the other is making a disruptive leap.
The new WW moniker has 6 syllables as opposed to 3. So while WW might fit texting/posting trends of abbreviating everything, it doesn’t fit speech preferences/patterns. “WW, the company formerly known as Weight Watchers,” is even more of a mouthful. So I agree with Jason (Smith). This is going to be like the Prince symbol, because basically they changed their name to a logo.
As far as brand recognition goes, if someone came up to me tomorrow and said, “I work at WW,” I wouldn’t know what they were talking about—Wally Waffle? But if they said, “I work at Dunkin’,” I’d get there a lot faster.
sarah carlson, art director.
Everyone has made great points, but I especially like what Christina said about WW. While I like the logic behind the transition, because total wellness is more important than just losing weight, “WW” is just hard to say. It comes out clunky. In my experience, Weight Watchers builds a lot of equity through word of mouth. I think we might find many customers will still rely on the name Weight Watchers because it’s easy and more comfortable.
This is also my first time studying the WW lockup, though it appears to have been around for a little while. The first thing I noticed was the negative space between the two Ws—it looks a bit like arrows pointing down, then up, then down again. The very first thing that came to mind was Fad Dieting, which is essentially trend dieting that promises quick results without any long-term sustainability. To me this translated as weight dropping down, then coming back, then dropping down … not a great interpretation for a company that strives to be much more than that! The negative space in this mark draws the eye in naturally, I would have liked to see WW use it more deliberately.
Regarding Dunkin’ … again, here I agree with the general consensus—this change makes a lot of sense. “America Runs on Dunkin’.” had been such a successful slogan (and has been around since 2006!), that I think most consumers are already comfortable calling the company “Dunkin’”. And not only is the name more aligned with their customer base, but it aligns with their sales. With 60 percent of sales coming from beverages, it’s clear that consumers already think of them as more than a donut shop. (Not me though—#StarbucksCoffeeForLife!)
brian willoughby, art director.
Saying Dunkin’ isn’t new to me. Whenever we go there it’s always been natural to say, “I’m going to Dunkin’…” never did I use the word donuts. It might be the fact that anytime I go there, it’s for the coffee or maybe because I have yet to buy a donut from them. Truth.
As far as Weight Watchers ... if I were to see this on a storefront I’d immediately become enticed in trying to figure out what WW stood for, i.e., Whatever Works, Wicked Wallabys, or maybe Wonderful Willoughbys. Losing the “Weight Watchers” nametag may alienate them from potential clientele or, who knows, it might entice the curious passerby looking for Whatever Works.
jason gottshall, senior copywriter.
While I’m not 100 percent sold on the brand revamp, I understand why Weight Watchers is evolving the name. People I know who used Weight Watchers in the past never said “weight loss” was the biggest benefit of the program; it was better wellness and healthier attitudes. It’s a great evolution of the brand to reflect what its customers truly get out of the experience. If it is embraced by consumers is a whole other story. But, with Oprah in your corner, you have a brand ambassador that can move the needle by miles, not feet.
The Dunkin’ Donuts to Dunkin’ is a lateral move. Dunkin’ is like when MC Hammer dropped the MC and was just Hammer. Nothing really changed.
However, you are having a name change that speaks to the common nomenclature of your customers. It is typically (at least in my demographic) referred to as just Dunkin’.
I think for that company, it hit the point of awareness that donuts were assumed, but their larger product offering has expanded. With something like 60 percent of sales credited to coffee and drinks, it makes sense to drop Donuts, although it wasn’t totally necessary.
mike lawrence, creative director.
As far as the Dunkin’ Donuts change, it’s making their shorthand name official. So many people have been calling them Dunkin’ for so long, the name change doesn’t feel so newsworthy. I think it would have been cool if Dunkin’ had done this name change without announcing it. And then a year later, just casually mentioned it. “Oh, by the way, we changed our name a year ago. Forgot to mention it. So call us Dunkin’. Like you have been anyways.”
The Weight Watchers WW is more of a challenge for them because they’re
to be something different. So this change feels a little forced. It’s like when George Costanza wanted everyone to call him T-Bone. Sorry, George. You’re Koko. And the thing is, they don’t really need to do this. I hear Weight Watchers and think of a brand and their purpose without associating the meanings of the words themselves. I know they stand for health and wellness already. “Weight Watchers” has that meaning, in my opinion. No need for a name change here.
nick pfahler, creative director
. So I agree with Jason (Smith) on weight watchers. Their strategy is spot on, but the concept and execution are both way off. I think they are walking away from some name equity that they could have built on. Weight Watchers is huge and if you want to shift your brand to being focused on total wellness rather than just weight then make that change. “Wellness Watchers”?? Maybe, I don’t know. But you have to have a name and right now they don’t. And by losing that name, the brand equity that was built in it is at risk. Getting that back is going to take a lot of effort, and I think that effort could have gone towards actually building the tools and resources around wellness so that you’re living your brand rather than just defending the changes made to it.
As for Dunkin’… I would have just left that alone. People already called them Dunkin’ so nothing changes in their world. Of course that comes from a guy at an agency that didn’t have the opportunity … so, had it come our way I might feel differently…
So … what is your take on these changes?
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