"A calculated advertising ploy to present itself as a respectable society-loving organisation."
This was the actor Mark Rylance's criticism of BP's funding of the arts on BBC's BH programme last Sunday.
BP have renewed their sponsorship of the Royal Opera House, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Royal Shakespeare Company. Rylance's view is that BP is using these organisations to 'white wash' what is going on behind the scenes.
His views chime with my own about the many bank's force feeding us with their sudden conversion to 'caring ' about their customers and society.
Michael Woolf wrote a thought-provoking piece about logos for Design Week. You can read it here.
I posted a comment expanding on the topic but, for whatever reason, Design Week chose not to publish it - the second time this has happened to me within a month. A pity as I had mistakenly thought that one could use the comments space to open up the debate to a more thought-provoking view beyond the purely visual. It would seem not.
So for anyone interested here follows my comment on Michael's DW piece:
I completely agree with Michael Wolff's analysis concerning the many recent inept and dubious rebranding and that horrible description, 'refreshing' exercises.
Banks, all of them, have angered me more than any other area in recent years. And even more, now that they are trying to ingratiate their way back into our pockets. I loath them for their callous disregard for the public's intelligence. The flurry of commercials, press ads and posters informing us that they now desperately 'care' about society and only want to contribute to the good. And more often than not preseeded with a rebrand (Barclays and Lloyds). Just like the recent Nat West launch. All that insignificant claptrap about the origin of the logo to signify that in was the coming together of the National Provincial Bank, Westminster Bank and District Bank is totally meaningless to a 2016 audience.
This is a bank using a rebrand as an Elastoplast in an attempt to mask the sins and criminal activities of past decades.
If you peel it back, under the surface you will discover that many thousands of hard working employees have been made redundant and many branches shut.
Meanwhile, they will roll out this farcical, PR spin and advertising lead, almost indistinguishable new/old identity to all their fascias, ATM machines, projecting signs, livery, credit cards, print etc.
Above the existing logo.
And the new one. Is this change worth the millions it will cost to implement?
To change all of these...
Hardly anyone, except for a few geeky designers, will ever notice. It is such an obscene waste of money that will no doubt run into many millions.
Had Nat West really wanted to make a genuine gesture of recompense, far better to use that money to help society in conjunction with a press campaign sporting the headline, WE ARE SORRY .' big and bold, spelling out exactly why and what they have done about their shady past dealings with customers. To my knowledge, none of the banks has really apologised to the public in this way. Nat West and the others won't of course and will no doubt stand by their vomit inducing commercials, the Nat West black and white one pointing out the shortcomings of society. How ironic and insulting. judge for yourself here.