Best Western Gets a New (Old) Identity

October 21, 2015

A couple of months ago, I was excited to read that 69 year old hotel chain Best Western were taking on a brand refresh - and they were targeting millennials. As such a large international brand, with a network of 4,100 hotels in more than 100 countries (and considering I fall into the millennial category), I knew this refresh had the potential to be something really exciting and awesome. Oh how horribly, horribly wrong I was.

The new identity is made up of a weird blue shiny gradient filled orb with the monogram “BW” stamped inside. A new typographic wordmark sits underneath, made up of a customised version of Costa Std. There is no crown referenced from the 60 year old logo, the badge has been dropped completely, as has the original typeface and the yellow, red and blue (even though Dorothy Dowling, Best Western senior vice president of marketing and sales, states the new blue is an important decision in keeping continuity with the brand). There is also a secondary versiopn of the logo, where the blue changes to red and the round orb changes to a soft cornered diamond, to represent the premium branch of the chain, Best Western Plus.

For such a huge time, energy and money consuming transformation, was it all worth it? For me, the logo just looks so, well, old. The stale blue and whites represent something more of a pharmaceutical company or a tired old IT company from the 90s. The exclusion of all of the heritage elements from the old logo somehow makes it look much cheaper than before - the crown was an elegant representation of comfort and quality.

The refresh has already received a substantial amount of backlash online and in the media. The CEO of best Western, Rob Payne, claims the rebrand is “revolutionary” - I just do not understand. It seems like another case of client cold feet - a case we see too often in the creative world. If you’re going to take a risk, do it beautifully. otherwise you end up with an expensive, generic and unmemorable result.

Source: Brand New, Ad Week