(Est. 1942) “As a non-profit organization, we bring together the most creative minds in advertising, media and tech to address the most worthy causes. Since 1942, Ad Council icons and slogans have woven into the very fabric of American culture. From our earliest efforts including ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships,’ Smokey Bear’s ‘Only You Can Prevent Wildfires’ and ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk’ to the recent groundbreaking Love Has No Labels, #EndFamilyFire and #SheCanSTEM, the Ad Council’s social good campaigns shift mindsets and spur movements. The Ad Council settles for nothing less than a lasting impact on American life.”
To create a visual and verbal manifestation of the Ad Council’s new organizational focus, the non-profit collaborated with Superunion to articulate the Ad Council’s purpose and translate their contemporary relevance into a new brand articulation and visual identity system (including a new logo—the first in nearly 50 years). Superunion’s goal was not only to modernize the logo to maintain and amplify the Ad Council’s place in American society, but also to build a richer visual language around the logo to truly develop a holistic brand both visually and verbally. These elements showcase a lowercase “ad” in the organization’s name, along with a square framing, illustrating the organization’s brand as an accessible, compassionate partner for creativity and causes to converge. Shifting to the color grey allowed for a simple logo that works with a wide variety of content but maintains the gravitas and stature of Ad Council’s work. The brand articulation includes a new manifesto that serves as the brand’s North Star.
Images (opinion after)
The old logo wasn’t perfect but it was a great sign-off signature in all of the organization’s amazing public service ads. It had a certain Mad Men-era tight serif typography aesthetic that gave their work a kind of old school advertising aura. It had its execution issues for sure but how great would it have been if this had gotten one of those nerdy type evolutions? Instead it was replaced by not just a bland and unappealing logo but a useless shift to lowercase AND uppercase. It looks cheap, amateurish, and generic. There is nothing pleasant, interesting, memorable, or meaningful about this new logo and it’s a real shame because the Ad Council deserved better. And, if not better, at least not worse than where they were. The typography in the static ad and the video is appallingly boring and lifeless. Such a shame this big change — “Most Extensive Rebrand in its 75-Year History” — resulted in this.
Thanks to Andrew Ciobanasiu for the tip.