Caps Lock: Cruise Control For Rebranding
November 5, 2019 8:01 AM   Subscribe

It has not been a good year for the beleaguered Facebook - with critics highlighting the power the company wields, their policy to allow candidates to lie blowing up in their face most spectacularly, and a general sense by the public of distrust, the firm's image is in need of repair. Thus, we have Facebook looking to rebrand...to FACEBOOK. (SLThe Guardian)
posted by NoxAeternum (68 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Drop the lowercase. Just 'FACEBOOK.' It's shoutier."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:04 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


THIS DOESN'T SEEM LIKE SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE TO ME.
posted by Naberius at 8:05 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


HEY I MISSED CAPS LOCK DAY IS IT OKAY IF I SHOW UP HERE
posted by dismas at 8:07 AM on November 5 [28 favorites]


Usually a service or product's base ages naturally as time passes. The balance of retention versus acquisition means the average user might age 5 years as 10 years passes, e.g. in 2009 the average user was 25 years old, but in 2019 the average user is 30. It's a natural phenomenon, not an explicit strategy.

This is the first time I've seen a service originally aimed at millennials so explicitly pivot toward the Boomer market.
posted by explosion at 8:08 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]


It looks like branding on stationery.
posted by howfar at 8:09 AM on November 5


Meh. Marketers have been shouting "you have to buy our product, not because it's better but because the packaging is new!" since time immemorial.
posted by Melismata at 8:09 AM on November 5


Their logo has been a lower-case "f". Now, presumably it's an upper-case "F". People access Facebook by pressing the icon on their phones. People memorialize loved ones on Facebook.

This is a long con by someone on the team to bring the "Press F to pay respects" meme to its final form.
posted by explosion at 8:12 AM on November 5 [42 favorites]


I'm pushing 50 and am mostly on FB to interact with people even older than me (sometimes much older) in various public history-related groups. It's fine for me, but there is clearly a slow demographic death spiral going on there, and it's strange that they'd embrace a joke / cliche about what's rapidly becoming their core demographic of users.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:12 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


Looking forward to 2025's rebrand as 'THE FACEBOOK'
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:15 AM on November 5 [28 favorites]


If you look at Facebook's press release you'll see screenshots of where this branding will be used.
We’re introducing a new company logo and further distinguishing the Facebook company from the Facebook app, which will keep its own branding.
Facebook.design has the story and dubious explanations of the why and what.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:17 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Boring. Lacks personality. Meaningless change for change's sake.

It's kinda perfect, really.
posted by SansPoint at 8:25 AM on November 5 [12 favorites]


I think this will be easier to pronounce out loud than the exclamation point in Yahoo! FACEBOOK can be screamed through clenched teeth, which is how I feel about it. Yahoo!, OTOH, is mostly about disappointment which countermands the exclamation point’s call for excitement
posted by aubilenon at 8:26 AM on November 5 [11 favorites]


This rebranding is indeed a bit stupid, but that Guardian article is just dripping with contempt for the very idea of logo design. We get it, Facebook is bad and the all-caps thing doesn't change that. Some of their copy around it is a bit over the top. But that doesn't make visual design fundamentally laughable.
posted by Dysk at 8:27 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


“A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool?”

KERNING!
posted by Fizz at 8:30 AM on November 5 [11 favorites]


"All-uppercase text feels official and strong. It might serve as a good choice for businesses that want to evoke authority through their logos in the marketplace. Good examples of all-uppercase text logos include apparel retailer Old Navy, with its robust san-serif text, Southwest Airlines in a bold, all-black capitalized font and mega-retailer Target with its red, iconic text. All uppercase doesn’t have to evoke a completely stiff or stuffy expression."
posted by clavdivs at 8:32 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I just now realized I still think of the company as "recently rebranded 'thefacebook'"
posted by potrzebie at 8:36 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I feel like it's been lost in the "omg what a stupid rebrand" stories that this isn't about making the service more appealing or whatever. From what I can tell, it's specifically about making the company's name and the name of the service different.

I imagine there are probably serious business reasons for this, the same way Google had serious business reasons for becoming Alphabet, and I wish I was seeing people talk about those business reasons. But instead I'm seeing a lot of "lol what a shitty marketing decision," which is frustrating.

Am I completely barking up the wrong tree here?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:37 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


This is the first time I've seen a service originally aimed at millennials so explicitly pivot toward the Boomer market.

So the only proper response to Zuck is "OK BOOMER" then?
posted by emjaybee at 8:40 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


HERE FOR THE CROCKETY BLOAT
posted by asperity at 8:43 AM on November 5 [16 favorites]


I imagine there are probably serious business reasons for this, the same way Google had serious business reasons for becoming Alphabet, and I wish I was seeing people talk about those business reasons. But instead I'm seeing a lot of "lol what a shitty marketing decision," which is frustrating.

It's pretty clear that the "serious business reason" for this is to try to "break" ties between Facebook and Instagram/WhatsApp to protect them from the deserved shellacking the company is getting as a whole.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:46 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Fuck this boring bland-ass design. Someone needs to reanimate the corpse of Paul Rand. Even zombie Rand could make something more interesting than this.

Here's a rare example of a high-profile logo design that doesn't suck: the Paris Olympics.
posted by Nelson at 8:46 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I'm fine with this, so long as everyone also agrees that every time we say its name, we have to make a primal scream of rage, a la Shatner exclaiming "KHAN!"
posted by Mayor West at 8:47 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


This is the first time I've seen a service originally aimed at millennials so explicitly pivot toward the Boomer market.

Do... do Boomers prefer things in ALL CAPS? Is that what I've been doing wrong communicating with them? What about sᴍᴀʟʟ ᴄᴀᴘs, does that get the same benefit? Do I have to shout when I'm talking, too, or is it just written communication?
posted by Mayor West at 8:51 AM on November 5


Am I completely barking up the wrong tree here?

You're not wrong, it's just a lot more fun to dunk on Facebook. The "real business reasons" certainly matter, but Facebook has won none of the public's goodwill. Plus it's just stupid to make the distinction: "Oh, you meant FACEBOOK, not Facebook, silly me!"

At least Google/Alphabet is actually distinct.
posted by explosion at 8:54 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


If they wanted to put some distance between FACEBOOK and facebook then they should have changed some of the actually letters, not just their majesculity.
posted by aubilenon at 8:55 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


WAIT are we sure this isn't small caps?
posted by aubilenon at 8:56 AM on November 5


Some Boomers do apparently prefer things in ALL CAPS, like Douglas Bruce, anti-tax activist and convicted felon (these are not unrelated). We have to print ballot questions in Colorado about taxation in ALL CAPS because of him.
posted by asperity at 8:58 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


In fairness, they're in the computer business. 'F' and 'f' are entirely different characters.
posted by explosion at 8:58 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Do I have to shout when I'm talking, too

Depends if the individual boomer has admitted they need hearing aids or not (and whether or not they're actually using them).
posted by asnider at 9:00 AM on November 5


In fairness, they're in the computer business. 'F' and 'f' are entirely different characters.

I'm in the computer business and they both equal 15 decimal.
posted by Slothrup at 9:05 AM on November 5 [8 favorites]


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug: Facebook.design has the story and dubious explanations of the why and what.

Instead of the company owning a single color, we designed the brand to be responsive to its context and environment.

Emphasis mine -- this is one of those instances where the words may be technically correct, but should probably be phrased in a different way when talking to anyone other than copyright and trademark lawyers.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


OK FACEBOOKER
posted by chavenet at 9:14 AM on November 5 [11 favorites]


I wish I was seeing people talk about those business reasons.

for a (painful) but revealing and remarkable look at fb's incongruence -- NOT GETTING IT from a high level -- check out mz's conversation with yuval noah harari! it's like too many dinners with peter thiel :P
posted by kliuless at 9:24 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Here's a rare example of a high-profile logo design that doesn't suck: the Paris Olympics.


Not to derail, but I'd rather be shouted at than have a coquettish woman avatar represent a worldwide sporting event. But that's just me.
posted by knownassociate at 9:24 AM on November 5 [7 favorites]


Emphasis mine -- this is one of those instances where the words may be technically correct, but should probably be phrased in a different way when talking to anyone other than copyright and trademark lawyers.

My parents taught me to never talk to copyright and trademark lawyers.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:36 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]




I'd rather be shouted at than have a coquettish woman avatar represent a worldwide sporting event

That's a coquettish woman avatar? I thought it was an Olympic flame.
posted by flabdablet at 9:43 AM on November 5


That's a coquettish woman avatar? I thought it was an Olympic flame.

The French Olympic logo tumbles out of bed on a Parisian morning. She tousles her messy bob, dons breton stripes and ballet flats and whisks down the stairs from her fifth-floor apartment to grab a baguette before enigmatically texting two men who are pursuing her romantically.

Subtext is everything.
posted by e1c at 9:50 AM on November 5 [11 favorites]


I downloaded the press pack and somehow the simple image files sent my computer into an absolute meltdown until I managed to delete them, then my locked phone started burning against my leg, 10/10 I like the subtle rounding.
posted by lucidium at 9:56 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I think the requirement is that you shout it when you use it as a verb
posted by mbo at 10:16 AM on November 5


Ooh I'll need to re-train my phone's keyboard to auto-correct to FACEBOOBS asap.
posted by carsonb at 10:22 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


What about sᴍᴀʟʟ ᴄᴀᴘs, does that get the same benefit?

Boomers will receive communication in small caps sooner than they expect.

ɪ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴍᴜʀᴅᴇʀ ᴀ ᴄᴜʀʀʏ...
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:40 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


they both equal 15 decimal

Same as in town, dammit.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:48 AM on November 5


I mean, the Paris Olympics logo is a visual pun and "flame" is in there too, but it definitely has a pair of lips on it
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:50 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


It's pretty clear that the "serious business reason" for this is to try to "break" ties between Facebook and Instagram/WhatsApp to protect them from the deserved shellacking the company is getting as a whole.

(cough hack cough) See also: Altria (cough)
posted by gimonca at 10:55 AM on November 5


I heard there was free food?
posted by Mrs Potato at 10:57 AM on November 5


> This is the first time I've seen a service originally aimed at millennials so explicitly pivot toward the Boomer market.

The service is explicitly pivoting toward Gen X. The younger and/or more internet-savvy Boomers are a perk.
posted by desuetude at 11:32 AM on November 5


Am I completely barking up the wrong tree here?

I think this would make more sense if Facebook the parent company had actually bothered to change its name. Instead, the expectation appears to be that people will think of Facebook the parent company with new elegant/bland uppercase logo as a separate entity from Facebook the service with old-school blue logo, at least to the extent that people will see "Instagram by FACEBOOK" and not immediately think "oh yeah the company that doesn't understand what privacy is, refuses to set reasonable ground rules regarding political advertising, and nearly destroyed an entire industry by grossly overstating its video plays, thus committing massive amounts of fraud."

Alphabet and Google are two obviously different names. So are Altria and Philip Morris. Both do a better job of conveying that the parent company is not one and the same as the services/subsidiaries they run. In Altria's case, that was the whole point: they didn't want everyone to think "cancer sticks" and "fraud on the American public," surprise surprise.

Also worth noting: another company with sketchy dealings in the recent past is doing the opposite of Facebook. THQ Nordic AB recently renamed itself to distinguish the parent holding company from the game studios they owned. One of those studios is THQ Nordic GmbH, which you might better know as the game company that thought it was a good idea to hold an AMA on 8chan, of all places. THQ Nordic AB's statement at the time was something along the lines of "hey we didn't sign off on this, also this is unrelated but we are literally changing our name to avoid future confusion."
posted by chrominance at 11:36 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


> This is the first time I've seen a service originally aimed at millennials so explicitly pivot toward the Boomer market.

The boomers got all the money, millenials are broke, in debt and on low pay. That's the story of the Young Mans Blues.
posted by Dr Ew at 11:44 AM on November 5


Pivot to nerds: BOOKFACE
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:59 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Imagine, if you will, an Electronic interface used for all information, like bundled rods with an axe attached, you have entered The whytype zone.

FAsCEBOOK
posted by clavdivs at 12:32 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


If they really wanted to market to Boomers they should've gone with "The Facebook."

Then they could change the name of their holding company to "Glyph," just to fuck with Google.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:33 PM on November 5


On the local news this morning they said the LOGO comes in different colors denoting different services, apps, or whatever. I prefer FACEPALM.
posted by njohnson23 at 12:58 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


The page on the facebook.design page gives me the warm and fuzzies for another document of the utter bullshit factory of brand marketing, the new Pepsi logo of 2009.
posted by theartandsound at 1:32 PM on November 5 [8 favorites]


Alphabet and Glyph Battle for World Domination would be severely fucking cyberpunk, of the "read too much Borges" subgenre
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:37 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


HELLO HUMAN TEENS I HEAR THE COOLEST PLACE TO HANG OUT IS FACEBOOK

LETS GO DO NOT BRING WEAPONS
posted by egypturnash at 1:45 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


> ...and mega-retailer Target with its red, iconic text...

Except last year Target rebranded with an all-lowercase sig.
posted by ardgedee at 2:14 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I'm a somewhat tech-savvy boomer in my early 60s and I was an early FB user. These days, I'd rather not use it but too many friends and family communicate over it. At least by viewing it on my PC rather than my phone I don't get hit with ads/promoted content and the feed from said f/f is better. I still don't think it's as big of a cesspool as Twitter can be and I still use that. In fact I use it more - better baseball talk and hey, Drew Magery just announced he is sleeping on the couch and Vice. The funbag is open.

All that said, fuck Zuckerberg.
posted by Ber at 2:31 PM on November 5


This is the first time I've seen a service originally aimed at millennials so explicitly pivot toward the Boomer market.

Millennials abandoned Facebook once their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. discovered it.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:09 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Well sorta. Millenials are too busy eating Tide pods to realize that WhatsApp and Instagram are Facebook properties.
posted by Nelson at 4:14 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Given Zuck's legal troubles and the increasing pressure from lawmakers as well as his love of the alt-right, maybe he's going full Freeman on the Land where having letters in the wrong case is critical to why the government doesn't have a hold on you. "Ah, ah, ah, Congressman, that's a gold-fringed flag!"

Now if only P. Barnes will taze him.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:22 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


>every time we say its name, we have to make a primal scream of rage, a la Shatner exclaiming "KHAN!"

Like this?
posted by mogget at 6:34 PM on November 5


Well sorta. Millenials are too busy eating Tide pods

You're thinking of gen Z.
posted by Dysk at 9:00 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


The name TRONC is free now and would do more to burnish up their Death Star vibe.
posted by away for regrooving at 10:07 PM on November 5


the exclamation point in Yahoo!

It's Yahoo! Not Yahoo! Yahoo!
posted by Cardinal Fang at 11:53 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


I think you'll find it was YAHOO! and is now yahoo! which is clearly not the same thing as Yahoo!

One of these days they will have sold off and shut down so much of themselves that there will be nothing left in the budget for the next rebrand beyond a vestigial !

Oh the whimsy
posted by flabdablet at 1:50 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Dude, you're yelling at me. Like, it's making uncomfortable.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:55 AM on November 6




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