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Publish365 022: Burger King Goes Backward, But Forward

If you ask the average person over the age of 30 what Burger King's logo was, there's a pretty good chance they'd have no idea. In fact, in discussing this with my wife, she admitted she couldn't pick out the new logo at all. For reference, here is the logo Burger King employed from 1999 through January 6, 2021.

There are so many things I don't like about this logo. The use of primary(ish) colors, the stupid gleam on the burger bun, and the irrelevant and "hip" swoosh tried desperately to make the brand seem modern and relevant, while the weird typography said nothing except "I can't make up my mind between a balloon, an angular font, and a hand-drawn brush font."

In nearly every way that logo was forgettable, but also an attempt to show customers they had modernized their image while taking the logo everyone had known and loved and turning into something weird. If you'd like to see another company that keeps doing something like this, see the evolution of Pepsi's logo over the last 50 years.

So what has Burger King done with their logo? Something brilliant, actually. The logo that most people knew and loved for decades is, sort of, back.

From 1969 to 1994, This was Burger King's Logo:

And in 1994 they slightly straightened the straight lines in the logo to this:

That logo then became the red, blue and yellow mess I already showed you above. Now I give you the logo they've changed to as of January 6, 2021:

It's clear what they're doing here: combining aspects of the prior two logos in a way to evoke the nostalgia of a brand that has existed in the United States since 1954 (1953 if you count their prior name). This is a superb idea, frankly, and one that other companies might want to consider as everyone clamors to reposition themselves while the country seems to be ready to go back to work, school, and so on.

A shout back to their history might be just the right thing for Burger King who has struggled with being an also-ran in the fast-food wars over the past few years. Everything they've done to position their food as fresher, tastier, or more affordable than their big competitor, McDonald's, has failed in one form or another, and the company can't seem to find its voice in a market that's getting more crowded as more and more options for fast food appear. On top of that, there does seem to be a general trend away from fast food and toward healthier options offered by other restaurants. With all that being said, a healthy dose of familiarity might be just what the doctor ordered and might put the king back on the map as more than a second fiddle or what you buy when better options aren't around. Or I could just be completely wrong and in the end this is a last ditch attempt to beg people to come back to a brand they knew and loved in the 80's.

Only time will tell, but at least they did a good job with the logo!


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