May 25, 2023

A look at the biggest rebranding hits and misses

Branding is an art, a science, and sometimes, one helluva ride. When done right, a rebrand can offer a new lease on life for a business. Done badly and you could leave a lasting impression but for all the wrong reasons.

Even the best intentions can go awry when it comes to rebranding, so let’s take a look at a few times Australian rebrands flopped.

Women’s Network

Let’s start with a relatively fresh one. The Women’s Network found themselves entangled in a logo controversy that took an unexpected phallic twist. With a focus on aiming to promote gender equality and empowerment, the Women’s Network rebrand didn’t land when their new logo design reveal was widely thought to bear a striking resemblance to a crude drawing of, erm, male genitalia.

This example serves as a reminder that even with the best intentions, it pays to get a bunch of independent (and honest) eyeballs to look over what you’ve come up with to see if there are potentially negative or embarrassing connotations.

Bureau of Meteorology

The Bureau of Meteorology had a doozy of a rebranding mishap a few years back. This one thankfully didn’t resemble any body parts but was more a series of poorly thought-out blunders in the roll-out.

Firstly the BoM, as the organisation is affectionately known by many, requested in their brand refresh media release that people refrain from referring to them as the BoM and instead use their full name. Secondly, they announced a bunch of new social media handles but had not actually secured them at all — awkward. And the final key error was releasing their brand update in the midst of a major weather-related flood crisis.

Some valuable lessons here — know your audience, dot your i’s and cross your t’s, and timing is everything.


The popularity of the iPhone proved inspiring for the marketing team over at iconic Aussie brand, Vegemite. When seeking a new name for their cream cheese and Vegemite concoction, iSnack 2.0 was the name they went with. The name did not hit the spot for Australian consumers, to say the least.

The backlash was so bad that they relaunched as Cheesybite pronto (clearly a superior name), but many still recall the tragic first incarnation. Lesson learned: don’t piggyback on trendy names without considering your target market.

The importance of getting it right

Rebranding can be a make-or-break moment — when you nail your rebrand you can strengthen brand identity, attract new customers, and generate positive buzz. And as the aforementioned examples show, a failed rebrand can alienate existing customers, tarnish your reputation and could cost a bomb.

It’s all about ticking the boxes — carefully crafting a strategy to get your where you want to go, then nailing the visuals and timing your roll-out to perfection.

When City of Melbourne undertook a rebrand, they were careful to tick all the boxes, capturing the vibrant and diverse culture of the city, while creating something recognisable and dynamic. It was and continues to be well-loved, because when you do something right it can stand the test of time.

Rebranding is a delicate process that requires careful planning, research, and a re-evaluation of your brand’s values and audience. And if you need some practical tips to avoid looking like a silly sausage, check out our guide of essential must-dos before launching your rebrand here.