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Mixed Reactions on the Channel 4 Rebrand

by on October 9, 2015

Channel 4 has recently unveiled its new logo.The refreshed identity reflects Channel 4’s public service remit focussed on innovation, diversity and taking creative risks and is the latest evolution of a brand that has existed in its current form for over a decade.

The new on screen identity for Channel 4 will be visible across programme brands that currently incorporate the channel’s branding including Channel 4 Racing and Channel 4 News – for which a brand new title sequence launched on Wednesday 30th September.

Mica Levi, aka Micachu, of Micachu and The Shapes, (Under the Skin) composed the music to the idents. She is currently an Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre.

At the same time as refreshing the identity of the main linear channel, Channel 4 is introducing an updated corporate brand to reflect the whole network of channels and services it delivers.

This brand identity uses the new multi-coloured 4 logo reflecting all the channel brands which was first introduced to launch All 4. This will now be used on all corporate and network branding. The name of the corporation will remain Channel 4 Television Corporation.

James Walker, Head of Marketing, Channel 4 said: “Channel 4’s main channel identity has been running for ten years and has been hugely successful. This ground breaking brand refresh pushes it forward once more, reflecting our public service remit to be diverse, challenging and innovative.”

Chris Bovill and John Allison, Heads of 4Creative said: “Most TV branding these days is like watching wallpaper. It’s pleasant but gets boring very quickly.

However, Channel 4 is much more than just a big shiny number and some nice vibes.

Many have complained that they are unable to see the number 4, but Pippa Nordberg, Strategy Director at LPK thinks it’s a great move for the brand. Please see below her comment.

“There have been a lot of mixed reactions to the presentation of the iconic Channel 4 logo in the new idents. Many have complained that they’re unable to see the 4, whilst others see it as a doing a great job of presenting the brand as irreverent and challenging, which is part of their DNA. I agree with the latter, and this is a lot to do with context.”

“Channel 4 has not actually ‘messed’ with the iconic logo they’ve used since 1982. We need to remember that they will continue to use their full identity in off-air advertising, where the purpose will be to direct viewers to the specific destination (the channel). However, once they’re there, do they really need to be reminded which channel they’re already watching?”

“Because the identity has remained unchanged for over 30 years it has built up a lot of equity and awareness – which actually gives it permission to ‘play’ in certain spaces – such as the idents, which are designed to add interest during viewing. When Coca-Cola created their logo-less Ramadan cans, which were used to promote the idea of a “world without labels”, it proved that a brand that is widely known and immediately recognisable can change a lot and still remain on equity.”

She added “Above all, as the re-brand isn’t dispensing with the iconic logo, simply playing with its presentation, Channel 4 isn’t preventing itself from going back to a more traditional usage if it doesn’t drive the values or message they are looking to promote: but I think it will.”

We at Brand Weekly think sometimes a re-brand could signify a new start and a new era. Consumers are moving further and further away from over branding which is being replaced with more subtle yet creative branding. So, maybe Channel 4 is onto something here… only time will tell!!