Uber’s Brand Refresh

Uber has spent the past year trying to convince customers that it has put its problematic reputation in the past. And what better way to usher in a new era than with a complete rebrand?

Uber has unveiled an entirely new look that will eventually feature a fresh, custom-made typeface, new colors, a redesigned in-app look including animations and more.

The company says this rebrand reflects Uber’s transition from “San Francisco startup to a global company,” particularly one that’s become a “platform of mobility.”

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The company is doing away with the symbol that’s been featured on its app icon for the past two years. Through the aforementioned internal research, the team discovered that most consumers don’t actually associate the symbol with Uber, and that drivers would even turn around the decal that featured it to the other side, which read “Uber,” so passengers could have an easier time recognizing their cars.

Uber found its strength in three things: Its name, the U and the color black. So in creating a new logo, they leaned into those features.

That new logo is a simple wordmark that (naturally) reads “Uber,” with a capital U, in Uber Move, a typeface that was custom-designed for the brand. Previously they’d been using Clan Pro font, which, though they licensed it, they still had to share with other brands that did the same.

In terms of color, Uber is zeroing in on black and white in its new branding. However, there are several secondary colors, all of which take inspiration from transportation, and feature bold-but-soft hues of purple, green, red, yellow, orange and brown. A bright shade of blue is the “safety color,” inspired by the associations of blue with security in everyday life: The United Nations, for example, as well as the blue safety lights that are omnipresent on college campuses. This blue will feature more heavily in the app, as an accent color.

The hope is that this rebranding will make Uber’s presence is a bit clearer to riders, drivers and potential customers. Uber’s No.1 imperative in the redesign is “seeing Uber and knowing Uber,”

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The 5 Biggest Brand Fails of 2017

This year, there were many ads which had us wondering how they could have possibly made it past a team (teams!) of creatives and brand professionals, let alone out into the world? Here are the biggest brand faux pas of 2017. Relive. Relearn. Don’t emulate.

Pepsi
Pepsi’s two-and-a-half minute spot “Live for Now,” featured Kendall Jenner leaving her modeling job to join a nondescript protest. In the ad, tensions are mounting between protesters and police—that is, until Jenner magically solves everything by opening a Pepsi for a cop. The brand quickly pulled the spot, which was released in early April, and apologized. 

The lesson learned:
the biggest brand gaff Pepsi committed with this spot was putting its product in the center of social issues while simultaneously trivializing said issues. As writer, social worker and activist Feminista Jones eloquently put it earlier this year when asked about the ad, “brands should never make light of social issues related to people’s suffering; they should, instead, focus on selling their products in ways that don’t exploit the pain and suffering of marginalized people.”

Dove
In October, Dove posted a social ad on its Facebook page that featured a black woman taking off a shirt similar to her skin tone to reveal that she had turned into a white woman wearing a shirt similar to her skin tone. After receiving the much-deserved criticism, Dove pulled the ad and apologized: “In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused.

The lesson learned:
Dove—or any brand, for that matter—should never create an ad that could so easily be taken out of context, especially one that could read as having a racist message.

United
Things started off poorly for United this year when passengers took (and shared) video of a man being forcibly dragged off a plane by security when he was randomly selected — and declined — to forfeit his seat for airline maintenance workers. That alone was enough to cause an uproar on social media and tarnish the reputation of the brand, but things only got worse when CEO Oscar Munoz issued a cold, victim-blaming apology in which he praised his employees for following proper procedures. Proper procedure or not, delicate situations like this require warmth and understanding — and United Airlines wasn’t prepared to offer it.

The lesson learned:
There are two here: First, The customer is always right. Always. Second: If you make a mistake, admit to it. Every business is going to send out an erroneous or harmful tweet at some point. The ones that stand to recover easily are those that immediately and humbly admit to their mistakes, and try to make up for them.

Uber
It was a pretty disastrous year for Uber overall, with its company’s image enduring a huge series of hits for multiple reasons. But its marketing was no saving grace either and was in fact what kickstarted the downfall. Customer frustration with Uber first peaked back in January after the ride-sharing company appeared to try to profit off a taxi strike, deciding to eliminate surge pricing at JFK after the New York Taxi Workers Alliance went on strike to oppose President Trump’s immigration ban. Within a few hours, the hashtag #DeleteUber had gathered steam and people had started removing the app from their phones. Uber issued an apology and its ousted former CEO Travis Kalanick detailed the company’s stance on immigration. But the company didn’t take any further steps to support its position.

The lesson learned:
Today’s public wants to support companies whose beliefs align with their own—and skeletons won’t stay in the closet for long.

Vote.

After almost a year of emails, tic-tacs, mud-slinging and shenanigans, the day has come – it’s time for us to select the next POTUS. To, um, celebrate and empower us, some brands are pulling out all the stops (or not).

Today the Uber app will feature a Google-powered search that automatically finds your polling place and orders a car to get you there. A reminder will pop up in the app encouraging users to vote and asking them to enter the address where they are registered.

Meanwhile, Zipcar is making more than 7,000 cars free on election day to help its members get to the polls. The vehicles can be reserved on the digital player’s website or mobile app. Of course, there’s a bigger part of the Boston-based company’s promotion—people who signed up for the company’s $7-a-month service before today will take advantage of the offer. Zipcar offered cars for 50 percent off on election day in 2012, and it more than doubled its reservations compared to a typical Tuesday.

And then there are those who want us to forget it all.

Encouraging viewers to “escape the election,” The Weather Channel will counter-program the final installment of the most bizarre and contentious presidential race in years.

Starting at 3 p.m ET the channel will air a marathon which will include the most beautiful, awe-inspiring, and calming weather video and scenery ever caught on tape.

“This world is a beautiful and magical place after all. So go vote America and check out election results, but if you want a break from the pundits, pontifications, predictions and politics… turn to Weather. It’s going to be huge.”

weather

And Hefty has wiped the web clean of smutty political ads over the past few days Hefty ads, reading “This political ad has been trashed thanks to Hefty,” have replaced all banner ads and potential political ads on a handful of websites including CNN’s homepage. Hefty also purchased ad space on Fox News, AOL and the Huffington Post’s politics page. Check it out but only after you vote: