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Rebranding failures and why they didn’t work

By Olivia Soto


Change is good…right? Yet why do so many people react negatively when familiar companies take on a new look?

Consistent branding is extremely important because it is a deciding factor behind why we choose to purchase things. Because of this, it can be risky for established businesses when they decide to switch things up. History has shown that it can go one of two ways — people will either love it or hate it. Here are a few examples of rebranding gone wrong:

  1. Gap

One example that comes to mind when someone says “rebranding fail” would have to be the notorious Gap incident. In 2010, the clothing retailer wanted to update its image to something fresher but instead received a bunch of criticism. People online bashed the new design, leading Gap to switch it back only six days after its launch.

Why did it fail?

The difference between the old and new logo is drastic and many critics said that the new design didn’t speak to Gap’s original brand identity, calling it boring and unimaginative.

2. Kia

Kia or KN? In 2021, Kia unveiled its new logo and received mixed reactions. While many people praised the rebranding, others were confused because of how unrecognizable it was.

Why did it fail?

The main issue with the new logo is that it’s difficult to see “Kia” causing many people to think there was a new car company called KN or KM. While the design is sleek and modern, it’s also slightly unreadable.

3. Petco

In October 2020, Petco released their new design which sparked anger from pet owners who were sad to see the loss of the old logo’s two familiar mascots, Red Ruff and Blue Mews. The company wanted to change its image to put a greater emphasis on health and wellness, but sacrificed its brand identity in the process.

Why did it fail?

Talk about removing the “pet” from Petco. The main problem with this new design is that it lacks the elements that originally made it stand out as a pet supplies company.

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