Weekly Re-Brand #1: Arby’s

Welcome to the Blade Weekly Re-Brand, a place for us to take a quick look at some the rebranding going on in the world and give a quick impression of what went right and what went wrong.

This week’s brand is Arby’s, who last changed up their logo in 1975. The iconic cowboy hat remains, but the Western-styled font is out, in favour of a more modern, readable wordmark. Also out is the old marketing approach, in favour of a new “Slicing up freshness” tagline that focuses on the quality of Arby’s meats, versus its competitors’.

The old Arby's logo (left) vs. the new Arby's logo (right).
The old Arby’s logo (left) vs. the new Arby’s logo (right).

What was wrong with the old Arby’s?
Arby’s has never been the powerhouse that McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s have been, and urban legends about where its meat comes from may have been hurting sales.

Does the new version fix the problem?
Focusing on the quality of the meat is a great way to start. But will a slightly more legible font help? As difficult as the old wordmark could be to pick out from a distance, the cowboy hat shape is very recognizable, and losing the old-school typeface for something modern could hurt that part of the brand’s image in the long run.

The marketing, on the other hand, focuses on Arby’s great strength; Fresh meats that are cut at the restaurant, unlike virtually every other fast-food joint. This addresses the urban legend problem, while simultaneously pushing a solid new tagline into the public’s consciousness.

What new problems have been introduced?
The overly-glossy, 3D rendering of the logo is an obvious problem. I haven’t yet seen a black-and-white newsprint ad, but it will be interesting to see how it is handled in those situations. Keeping the iconic shape was a smart move, because the 3D treatment likely won’t last. Also, what’s with that apostrophe?

Is it an overall improvement?
Yay for improving the readability of the name in the logo, and focusing on the quality of the meat. Nay for the trendy 3D logo treatment. Expect that to be the something Arby’s loses sooner rather than later.

Is the Arby's re-brand an improvement?

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