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Unfiled November 3, 2006
Re-branding: A Simple Exercise
By Alex Shifrin Browse author Email

So the newly re-branded campaign for GE Money Bank just hit Moscow's streets the other week. By the way, the name "Money Bank" reminds me of those redundant adjective schticks that people use when impersonating Texans: "I'm gonna get me one of them thar sittin'-chairs, or drivin'-cars, or wearin'-shirts. Yee-har!"

GE Money Bank, for those who don't know, was re-branded by:you won't ever guess, so I'll spare you the drama:yes, Wolff Olins. That's right, the same London based agency who did the re-branding campaigns for BeeLine and MTS. Both of those company's re-launches worked around the idea of simplicity, with the slogans "Simpler Talking" (prosche govorya) for BeeLine and "Simply MTS" (Prosto MTS) for, of course, MTS.

So GE Money Bank's new re-branding slogan should not be hard to guess. It's "Simply Get Cash" (Prosto Vozmi Nalichniye). I shit you not.

In a previous article, I wrote about how Wolff Olins' deft usage of the simplicity positioning platform has wielded them countless clients, and millions of dollars from a single PowerPoint presentation. It's almost beyond absurd but they continue to successfully rake in these suckers.

This time however, the visual identity in the ad is almost exactly like BeeLine's. Look at the photo here, and you'll see they use the same black and yellow stripes as BeeLine! It's as if Wolff Olins has finally decided "fuck it, why even bother pretending that we're working," and they're rubbing it in everyone's faces.

These re-branding days, it seems that simplicity is the new black. A recent casual surfing of Moscow's TV channels allowed me to compile the following slogans from popular ads:

  • Philips - Smart and Simple
  • Skoda - Simply Clever
  • Fruktoviy Sad Juice - Happiness is Simple
  • BeeLine - Simple Talking
  • MTS - Simple MTS
  • GE Money Bank - Simply Get Cash

GE Money Bank

There's a rash of re-branding hitting this city, most of which did take place after BeeLine's successful showing. Others on the radar include Golden Telecom, M-Video, and of course The eXile.

I fully support companies wishing to reassess market conditions and provide an offering that's up to date and relevant. However, it would seem that a class action re-branding fad, all aggregating to the same system of values and messages, would be a huge waste of time and money. It's as if Moscow is becoming ACME, with everything under the grey sky falling under the umbrella of simplicity.

Advice to the next generation of brand owners: Try something a little more complicated. Oh, and if Wolff Olins calls you, tell your secretary that you'll have your people get in touch with their people.

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