Logos Gone Bad – Big Brand Logos with Hidden Meanings
A logo defines a brand. It is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a brand or a product.
Which is why of course that companies invest so much time, effort, and money to create the perfect logo that symbolizes everything they stand for. Unfortunately, even logos that are designed with the best of intentions can go wrong at times.
Here’s a quick look at three logos that have hidden, unintentionally messed-up meanings.
Starbucks Coffee – The Siren
The Implied Meaning
A magical mermaid-like figure with flowing hair and fish tails. The mermaid-like figure represents a siren, a mythological being that personifies the ocean. Starbucks chose the siren as its logo as it thought the figure captures the spirit of Seattle, a city known for sea sports and water fun.
The Hidden Meaning
A cursory look at Greek Mythology reveals that sirens were extremely dangerous creatures. They would sing songs, on hearing which sailors would become obsessed, lose their way, crash into the rocks, and die a horribly painful death.
So it’s a good thing that the siren on the Starbucks logo is inanimate. Otherwise, she may lure you into doing something stupid. Like buying a cup of overpriced coffee without thinking twice. Oh wait…
Trojan Condoms – The Trojan Warrior
The Implied MeaningThe Trojans were highly respected, feared warriors. They represent masculinity, strength, and power. So, Church & Dwight Company thought it would be a good idea to name their condoms ‘Trojan’ and use the Trojan warrior as the logo.
The Hidden MeaningDespite the fact that the Trojans were fierce, battle-hardened warriors, the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they hear the word Trojan is the Trojan horse. You know, the big, wooden horse that the Greeks built to defeat the Trojans? The Greek invaders hid inside the horse to sneak into the city of Troy, came out, and massacred everyone in sight.
This is also the reason why certain types of malware are called Trojan horses. They look simple and harmless, but sneak hidden code onto your computer that can steal your information or reproduce themselves and infect other computers too.
Basically, a Trojan is something that looks safe, but is actually quite unsafe, unreliable, and downright dangerous. Not exactly the perfect choice for a logo of a condom brand.
The Symbol of Medicine
The Implied Meaning
A short staff with wings entwined by two serpents, the rod of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.
The Hidden MeaningIt is not the rod of Asclepius at all, but a Caduceus. It is the staff carried by Mercury, who according to Roman mythology was a guide of the dead and protector of liars and thieves. It represents deceit, fraud, and greed – qualities that you do not want to associate with doctors.
The rod of Asclepius has a staff with one serpent. The Caduceus, on the other hand, has a winged staff with two serpents. Due to a slight misunderstanding, the latter was chosen as the symbol of medicine. The rise in medical malpractice complaints, exploding medical costs, and the shambolic state of US health care, however, in hindsight might suggest that it may not have been a misunderstanding after all.
Logo blunders often affect smaller local companies too – have you noticed any in your area? Or spotted any big brand logos with hidden meanings?
About The Author: If Mark Haigh had his own logo, it would probably be a doughnut with a large bite taken out of it. Or a dejected figure tearing up another losing lottery ticket. Although these days he tends to only play the lottery in a UK lotto syndicate as the odds are significantly better, and he doesn’t have to tear up his own tickets that way. His wife however has stopped asking what are the chances of winning the lottery as being old fashioned she thinks a more down to earth retirement strategy would be appropriate. So long as it keeps him in doughnuts Mark isn’t too concerned which way thinks fall.