studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Let’s Go To The Walmart!

In what must have been an unintended leak, the brand spankin’ new Walmart logo found its way onto the Intertubes this weekend.

I can only assume that the new mark is an attempt to soften the brand, and make it more appealing to a discerning shopper. I think the new type treatment is a positive step toward that goal. It is friendlier, has nice curves and eliminates the hyphenated star that previously separated the WAL and MART.

The accompanying symbol however, comes across as arbitrary at best, and confusingly dumb at worst. Walmart does not represent the abstract or modern, so I fail to make the connection with the symbol. Is it a sun, rays of light, a star, a pinwheel, an energy-producing wind turbine, or possibly six lighthouses? I don’t know, and I’m certain that if I don’t get it upon first view, the typical Johnny NASCAR is not going to get it either.

Which brings me to the question, why bother making the change in the first place?

Walmart is going to spend millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars — which could be going toward employee pay and benefits — attempting to cater to a crowd who just doesn’t care for them, or about them. Certain shoppers will never, under any circumstance, go to Walmart. They would rather drive an additional five or ten miles to go to Target, and spend slightly more on the same items. Walmart has become such a behemoth, that these remaining elusive shoppers must be the final frontier, because everyone else seems content with the status quo.

Why risk alienating the traditional consumer base for a contemporary trend? My guess is that the typical Walmart shopper is not a huge advocate of change — ever. They like consistency, reliability, and dirt-cheap prices. Why potentially disrupt the formula that made them one of the most powerful corporations in U.S. history, and a global financial giant to boot? You got me.

For the record, I’m not a big fan of Walmart, but I’m sure the new logo will convert many of the other elusive shoppers, by showing them the light...or sun, or pinwheel or energy-producing wind turbine.

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