Giving sinister fictional conglomerates a much-needed image overhaul
They’re massive, successful, world-renowned companies. Just one problem: they’ve got a serious image problem. So we called in the experts to rebrand them…
Words: Alex Christian, Ralph Jones
Logos: James Inglis
Cyberdyne’s Skynet is famous as the AI system that’s hellbent on destroying humanity.
Dan Watts, executive creative director at ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, says: “Skynet’s DNA was to use AI in a way that helps the world. Maybe it could start a Nuclear Bee programme – nuclear bees that aim to reduce radiation in towns and cities by 60% by 3012. The other thing that’s interesting is a corporate pledge: ‘There are all these Terminators going rogue, but actually the world is better than it’s been before, thanks to us.’ It could develop an app – Appocalypse – that lets you know if someone’s safe in a nuclear-war-torn world – and a new gender-fluid AI teacher to help educate millennials on mindfulness. Maybe it adds some colour: ‘We’re pro-LGBT and universality so we’re going to make every robot a different colour.’”
“A sunrise with a butterfly fluttering into the frame.”
Technological juggernaut with a greedy hand in consumer credit, nicknamed ‘Evil Corp’.
Christopher Ringsell, creative director at WCRS, says: “It needs a purpose that’ll resonate with a younger, Gen Y audience. It could use its inventions and renewable products to become a force for good in society, investing in tech that makes the world a better place. A partnership with Nike to form an eco-friendly form of travel would work well – for example, electric trainers that walk you to your destination. It could launch a manifesto-style TV spot with a strong voiceover to highlight its new consumer-friendly strategy. It could soften its ‘E’ identity by making it part of the language it uses and put it literally at the heart of what it stands for, with a mission statement of: ‘LifE, CrEate, enErgy.’”
“A softer ‘E’ against a blue background.”
Galactic conglomerate that harvests alien species for biological weapons at the expense of human life.
TBWA\London’s senior creative Scott Andrews says: “Its mission statement could become eco-conscious, emphasising green energy. Rather than a suited CEO giving a TED Talk, it’d hold philanthropic events to raise awareness of alien lifeforms. You wouldn’t see anything to do with xenomorphs – it’s all about planet Earth and wildlife. A recurring motif could be plant life, with the strapline: ‘For the love of creation.’ It’s a double-edged sword; it could mean conservationism or being the architect of life itself.”
“A flower made from its initials that also resembles alien egg pods sitting over an abstract vulva – so it’s clear to stakeholders it hasn’t deviated too far from its original mission.”
Umbrella Corporation is associated with the acquisition of deadly viruses and a bid to design a race of virally-enhanced superhumans.
Saffron’s design director Craig Matchett says: “If you knock off the front of the word, it’s a female name – Ella’s a beautiful word. Volkswagen did a campaign where it blew up its boardroom and brought in new people. You can do that with Umbrella Corp: a big public apology, the board steps down, it eradicates the hierarchical structure and becomes a flat platform. Imagine a video: it’s an apology, people look frowny and eventually get more accepting, their faces more alive.”
“Cutesy – with enough detail so you know it’s an umbrella, with sky-like transparency.”
The nefarious cloned family dynasty from William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy is known for gathering AI in order to acquire immortality.
TBWA\London’s creative director Leigh Gilbert, says: “It’s a family of financiers with tons of power and too much money. It’s shadowy and deliberately vague in its goals – to the extent that its leaders have retired to a space station to conduct business. A new name, like ‘Mrs & Mr’, would bring out its human qualities. A PR-friendly family member could become its spokesperson to inform the world of all the charity work it’s doing. It’s all about love, warmth and togetherness – a partnership that seemingly wants to help out others.”
“‘Mrs & Mr’ in a soft colour palette and given a rounded, slightly twee look.”
The book’s totalitarian Big Brother regime is synonymous with 24-hour surveillance and the erosion of civil liberties.
Ad man Dave Buonaguidi says: “We associate red, white and black with oppression, and the Nazis in particular. Blue and white makes you look modern and fresh. I’d say, ‘What are the three biggest things people want to see change?’ There’s a protective element to Big Brother. If Big Brother was to become a party for the people, it’d have to illustrate that. So if every computer had a tracking device that would illuminate when people were doing something illegal, then you wouldn’t have half the problems you’ve got now. I think that could be really fascinating. It becomes a useful tool: ‘We caught five burglars; but we’ve also caught six politicians who’ve been downloading child porn.’”
“Lower-case Bs with rounded edges make two smiley eyes.”