Whenever any major brand goes through a re-branding – there will always be a debate on whether or not it was the right decision and how well it was done.
Vodacom is the latest brand to do this and it is still unfolding so I guess my opinion could easily change in a month or two but here are my thoughts so far:
– I do think a re-branding was needed – as loved as Vodacom and all their old campaigns are in SA – the brand needed a face-lift – it needed to join the 2010’s – in terms of its image it needed to catch up to the strides Cell C was making (if only they would lose Trevor! – after last year I am very sick of his face!)
– So far I like their colour choice – Red is already associated with Vodacom because of Vodafone and so replacing the whole blue and green with red seems like a natural step and therefore should work to improve the image of the brand without alienating it’s consumers.
– I like that they used their old characters to ‘band together’ for this re-branding.
– I have found the short TVCs cute and funny – or at least I did the first time I saw them.
– I get the feeling that Vodacom has been sucked into Vodafone and as South Africa we have lost familiarity and connection with the brand – to me it now feels very corporate and alienating – as I have said – this is just what I am feeling so far – its just that after Yebo Gogo, Player 23 and so on – Vodacom was such a strong South African brand – and I dont see how the new ”Power to you” strapline and single red colour are maintaining that connection.
– Also – to have all the past Vodacom characters come back to a campaign which doesnt feel very ‘South African’ also just feels wrong.
– When Cell C rolled out their re-branding – which I like most of the graphics – Trevor Noah and the copyright C irritated me to no end – as did seeing and hearing about it everywhere I turned for months on end – this is where I think Vodacom should have learnt a lesson from their competitors – avoid the ‘Piss Off’ factor! – I found the new Vodacom TVC fun and entertaining once – by the end of the one hour show I was watching – I never wanted to see it again!
– Another thing – that Cell C have been very quick to pick up – is that this new red re-branding really does just feel as though a bit of South African history as been lost – it just doesnt feel like the same old Vodacom anymore – which is a bad thing in this situation as Vodacom is a strong brand – has (or had) a strong brand loyalty in SA – which Cell C didnt have – Cell C needed help – big time – they needed a complete re-branding so that they were no longer associated with the old, unpopular Cell C – Vodacom didnt need this – they need to still be associated with their history and I dont feel bringing back old Vodacom characters are doing that sufficiently.
So I guess I will just have to wait it out and see – will they manage to connection with their past and the strength of their previous brand strength while improving the Vodacom image in our eyes? Or will they be re-branding again in the near future – returning to their roots a bit more? What do you think?