B(R)ANDING: Wal-Mart’s clandestine asterisk

What ever happened to rolling back prices? Or when the happy little smiley face dressed up like a ridiculous cowboy and shot high prices dead? It appears that our little buddy, the generic smiley face, has gone by the wayside for an equally impressive replacement…the asterisk. Well that’s what it looks like at least. I hesitate to call it a logo…it’s more of a service mark really. Just as with the smiley face, you cannot see the asterisk and identify the yellow bugger as Wal-mart.  The company’s Web site calls it a star and indicates the entire name is part of the new logo (note that “Wal*Mart” became “Walmart” in the logo). At first I thought this logo was stupid, but after I looked at the history of the company’s logos, it’s the best one its had yet. I imagine we’ll all soon see that sunny asterisk and immediately want to buy discount goods from around the world, but for now it just looks like little smiley got throw at a windshield and they took the resulting mess as the new and improved look for Wal-mart. I never saw any advertising for the new logo; I just noticed it. Apparently it’s from October 2008, so it’s not super super breaking news. Usually re-branding campaigns have something to them, but I guess if you make a small change as the largest company in the world, everyone will notice. It was similar with the “Save Money. Live Better.” tagline they started using recently. It just became a part of the world. Wal-Mart is a bit sneaky. On the upside, it is more middle-class looking and cheerier. They may be on to something here. I guess I was just looking for something more with the logo…did each point in the asterisk represent a company core value or something? Nope, just a star…a battlestar. See the progression of the logo over time.

Kmart prototype logo green

Oh, and check out this one-time prototype logo for Kmart. They kept their low-class colors though, and they still suck.


5 Responses to B(R)ANDING: Wal-Mart’s clandestine asterisk

  1. Allison says:

    It looks like a flower to me

  2. shea says:

    The star represents the pain that radiates from my head each time I am forced to enter a Walmart. Go Target!

  3. PauvrePlume says:

    One word: incongruous. I had no clue about the Great Walmart Flower Shift of 2008. Probably because I tend not to enter within a 10-mile radius of one of those hell-holes. But I *do* watch a lot of TV, so… curious. In any event, I don’t understand how they can just take back the hyphen. I mean, the former star served to replace the traditional hyphen (as designated in their evolutionary logo link that you provided, which I just checked out), right? I always assumed Wal-Mart was short for something, like “Wallet-Martel,” because who doesn’t love war hammers coming out of billfolds? But now, what, there’s no hyphen? Wallet & Martel have fused into one with no explanation? And the hyphen-star gets cast to the end of the line? WTF?!? Not cool.

    Also, I think that hyphen-star-flower is Wallet-Martel’s attempt to appear organic and less nASS-tay. As Al said, it DOES resemble a flower. A bright shiny beacon of wholesome goodness. Which, I think we can all agree here, is precisely the OPPOSITE of what Wallet-Martel is. Anti-wholesome, anti-goodness.

    But… nice try.

  4. PauvrePlume says:

    Oh, PS… I just realized that I never even got to my point about the “incongruity” that I mentioned at the beginning of that last comment: so, I went to the Walmart/Wal-Mart website, and they’re still freaking using “WAL-MART” with the hyphen all-the-freak-over their site. Yet their new name/logo no longer contains the hyphen?? They need to figure their sh*t out and adopt a uniform usage. Sheesh.

    OK, now I’m done.

  5. davidryancarr says:

    I agree with you Ariel Plume. I think they have hashed out this new look “for new and remodeled stores,” but I don’t buy the incongruity. If you refresh a brand, you can’t do it half ass. You can use up what you’ve got, but the Web site? Come on! buncha bitches

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