Can you spot what’s wrong with this new Big W ad?
Can you spot what’s wrong with this new Big W ad?

Big W blunder: New logo launch hasn’t quite gone to plan

EFFORTS by struggling discounter Big W to relaunch itself have fallen flat after it made a schoolboy error in a new advertising campaign.

A few days ago it premiered it's new logo in a TV commercial; there is just one problem - the chain's old logo was plastered all over the screen.

In a single shot the company's old logo was visible in three different places while the new logo could only be seen in two locations - even then it was blurred.

A marketing expert, said the logo confusion was symptomatic of a chain unsure of its place in the world and he likened tinkering with its logo to "rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic".

In January, Big W's owner Woolworths announced that the chain had lost $27m in the previous six months. The company's latest quarterly sales results showed Woolies supermarkets revenue rising 5.6 per cent but over at Big W sales plummeted by more than 6 per cent.

The department store has chewed through three CEOs in as many years.

With little fanfare last week, Big W replaced the logo it's sported for almost a decade.

While similar, the new logo loses the baby blue colouring and family-friendly curvy lettering for an in your face dark blue graphic with chunky writing that heavily resembles the chain's no nonsense 1990s look.

LEFT: Big W’s new bolder and bluer logo. RIGHT: Big W’s previous curvy logo. Source:Supplied
LEFT: Big W’s new bolder and bluer logo. RIGHT: Big W’s previous curvy logo. Source:Supplied

It doesn't bode well for a retailer which is fighting a resurgent K Mart and that analysts have warned has a "last chance" to make itself relevant to the Australian public.

An advert accompanying the new look shows a store employee walking the aisles extolling "big changes".

A new slogan, "That's a big win", has also been introduced.

Yet throughout the ad, examples of the old logo appear. From carrier bags to the on screen graphic in the corner.

Even the actor playing the staff member is decked out in a uniform sporting the company's previous look.

Retail analyst and managing director of Marketing Focus, Barry Urquhart, said he wasn't surprised.

"Big W is the weak link within Woolworths and changing that is far more fundamental than updating the branding," he said.

However, Big W has denied they have a new logo at all, claiming they were not rebranding but rather "refreshing our existing brand".

The chain said it was part of campaign to "regain customers' trust on price".

Mr Urquhart said the discount department store market was too crowded with ambitious retailers, such as Harris Scarfe, looking for their piece of the pie. Only Kmart was having any success in the space.

"You can rebrand but you need to reposition. If Big W's repositioning is just staying within the discount department store space, that's just rearranging the deckchairs on the titanic.

"There is no compelling message to go with this logo change."

Big W has released what they call a "manifesto" to accompany the new logo.

The manifesto spruiks "big name brands for no name prices" and "toys and homewares that won't cost the earth."

But Mr Urquhart said it was nothing the chain's customers' hadn't heard before.

"What are they saying today they couldn't have said ten years ago? It's the same book with a different cover."

New players like Amazon entering the market would challenge existing players for price and quality which would leave the current retailers with their physical stores as a point of difference. And these stores were lacking, he said.

"The problem for discount department stores is the ambience is poor, the shops are, dull, crushingly boring and they're too predictable."

The new Big W ad has multiple versions of its logo all over the place. Source:Supplied
The new Big W ad has multiple versions of its logo all over the place. Source:Supplied

Shoppers wanted theatre, colour and movement, Mr Urquhart said.

"Tinkering with the logo is two dimensional when they need to be multidimensional. People will be disappointed once they get beyond the shop front".

In a statement, a Big W spokesman told news.com.au bigger exciting changes could be expected down the track for the chain.

"Big W's new television advertising campaign reflects the work that is underway to refresh our brand, regain customers' trust on price and show that we understand how Australian families shop.

"While we are not rebranding Big W, we are refreshing our existing brand, including the Big W logo. This work is a process that will continue to evolve in line with Big W's transformation and will be reflected in how we communicate our offer to customers."

Last month, a leaked internal Big W memo revealed a new plan to entice customers back through the doors by focuses on a series of retail "universes".

Called "About Kids", "About Leisure", "About Homewares", and "About Everyday and Seasonal" each universe would have a new head responsible for product in their category and driving customer strategies.

Retail Oasis' Pippa Kulmar told news.com.au at the time that the strategy would be Big W's last chance for survival - but even gargantuan universes might not be enough to save the store.

"The market is a bit sick of hearing about [Big W's] turn around. They've been through so many CEOs and they have to do something demonstratively different.

"The idea of universes is interesting and customer centric, but there needs to be something fundamentally different," the retail analyst said.

"As a shopper it's not a big enough change."

Ms Kulmar said Big W needed to show they had a solid game plan or else sell or slim down.

But they weren't alone with plenty of other retailers struggling for relevance in a rapidly transforming market place.

"I feel for Big W, I wouldn't want to be them right now."

News Corp Australia

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