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    When Marketing Pivots Go Wrong

    When businesses develop their original branding and marketing material, it is often designed with an initial target audience in mind.

    So what happens if the brand appeals to a wider market or the business landscape changes significantly around them? 

    This typically leads to a marketing or branding pivot, although in cases such as Coca-Cola, very little changes and the brand name becomes largely unrelated to the company itself.

    An excellent example of a successful marketing pivot would be the fast food brand McDonald’s, which shifted its marketing campaigns away from the cartoonish child-friendly McDonaldland campaigns and towards an older audience with the hugely popular “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign.

    However, not all marketing pivots go well, and some have gone so badly that they have led to very sudden and rather embarrassing returns to the original brand.


    When people talk about poor rebrandings, one of the first that comes to mind is the infamous rebranding of the newly-privatised Royal Mail plc, highlighting that whilst the company was primarily known for delivering the post every day, they ran Parcelforce and the Post Office as well.

    It was infamously rejected by not only the Communications Workers Union but the wider public, and the new name became a byword for meaningless rebranded corporate entities that do nothing and are about nothing.

    It lasted a year before Consignia became Royal Mail Group and the former name remains a cautionary tale to this day.

    Weight Watchers

    It is difficult to find fault with the intentions of Weight Watchers. After facing criticism for decades that focusing on calorie counting and weight loss goals was causing eating disorders and an unhealthy attitude to food, Weight Watchers started to change its product ethos.

    It focused on wellness, partnered with online mindfulness company Headspace and went beyond the weight scale by focusing on overall health and a less restrictive diet model with rewards for meeting wellness goals.

    To that end, in September 2018, Weight Watchers became WW, short for “Wellness that Works”, but customers became very confused by the new name and did not realise that it was connected to 

    Weight Watchers immediately, leading to WW International using both names.

    For more information and advice from a marketing agency in Hull, get in touch today.

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