I noticed a big advertisement today in the Wall Street Journal for Covidien, the medical device company recently spun off from its former Tyco Healthcare identity.
I think it was good to separate Covidien from Tyco (which had a number of unrelated businesses under its umbrella), and the name Covidien, if not all that inspired and memorable, is at least acceptable. After all, it is a difficult challenge these days coming up with new names.
But the logo and tagline left me snoozing. Covidien has just joined the Branding Zzzzzzzz list
I believe there is a virtue in simplicity, when it comes to logo design. But this treatment is tired. Yet another uninspired takeoff on the medical Red Cross look. Yawwwwwnnn. A company in the pharmaceutical training space that I know quite well, MedSN, did something similar a while back. At least they used a few colors. The Covidien treatment, with a few variations of blue, looks like it never got beyond a Powerpoint storyboard. Let’s take a few blue shades of magic marker to a Swiss flag.
And the tagline, Positive Results for Life, is yet another retread from the pharma/healthcare/biotech bargain bin. Some of the most uninspired and insipid taglines have been adopted by our industry, all vaguely promising health/life/goodness in a way that is utterly non-differentiating. I’m reminded of a phrase from A Christmas Carol, where young Ebenezer Scrooge gives a response that is “terribly safe.” That’s what these taglines are. With an emphasis on both words.
I don’t yet know who came up with this logo. Maybe, after I finish this post, I’ll look it up. But let’s take a flight of fancy here, and imagine we’re in the boardroom, as the agency gives its explanation/rationalization for this look:
“The background field of blue represents the universal desire for long life and health, tapping into the singular global aspirations that a healthcare provider such as Covidien will be a premier provider of positive results toward that end. Since the earth is mostly water, and water represents life, we encased the logo in the uplifting presence of a sea of calming ocean blue. Of course, the medical cross symbol is recognized across the universe as a positive and aspirational symbol of well-being, and now it is softened and yet heightened by being re-stylized in enriching shades of health-inducing cerulean, leading the thoughts and feelings of the onlooking world to pleasant deliberations of the intersection of medical devices and ongoing health. The merging of life-giving blue palettization, the subtly blatant medical undercurrent, and modern encapsulations of individual aspirations will create the inevitable conclusion that Covidien creates positive results for life.”
And now, rewind a day into the design studio as the logo and tagline are being feverishly finished off for the next day’s presentation:
“Did you whip that thing up in Powerpoint?”
“Yeah…took me about an hour and a half. I billed 45 days of creative time for the team, however.”
“Looks like a couple of colorized Band-Aids to me.”
“Ain’t life grand? I came up with that this morning while fixing a shaving nick.”
“And did you pump something out of that funky ObviousTaglines.com website?”
“Oh, yeah – it was great! I just told it ‘healthcare’, selected a couple standard keywords, and out came ‘Positive Results for Life’. It’s a beautiful thing. And, I now have 10 others we can use for our next client. Anyone want ‘Your Health is our Life’s Work’? How about ‘Because a Healthy Life is our One Purpose’? Or ‘Your Life is our Promise’? I got this stuff down!”
All right, I made all that up. I’m sure a bit more effort went into this. But I wonder…how much did this branding cost? And why is it so…undistinguished?
Not Impactiviti says
Could you come up with any other blogs than to knock down the new kid on the block???
You have to admit that the first posters comments were pretty articulate and on track. A lot of branding these days, especially in the healthcare industry is just very old school and not very creative or imaginative … just safe. Although, some companies do have a lot of corporate red tape hoops to jump through to get the logo approved. Yet when the branding agency comes in, the individuals who make the decision sitting around the table typically have very little branding experience or background. So they view the branding agency as a “God” with all their indepth color theme stories. “Although, I personally think the blue is meant to eminate the sky that surrounds us, it’s “blue” (on most days) and reassuring, soothing and comforting. Isn’t that why most hospitals paint the patient rooms blue? LOL.
Room Zeiss says
How much did it cost? Oh, not so much – a couple of million bucks for whole corporate identity, I heard. Great deal for a morning poop 😉
Doesn’t really matter how generic the new design is….it’s light years above the Tyco branding for this subsidiary that existed before it.
Big Red says
The imaging devision is terrible! There is not a person in the company not out looking for a new job. They raised the quotas on the sales force during the year twice. Once they raised it 4 months before the FDA approval for the generic heart agent. Now they’ve been delayed by the FDA for at least two months. Guess what? They have elected not to adjust the quotas!! Every sales person in the entire company is so mad! I worked for them for over twenty years. It used to be a great job. Now it is below entry level medical sales. Most reps are in the 60-80 K range including bonus which is non-existent. They lie and tell you you’ll make 125-200. It’s all lies. It’s the last place anyone in medical sales should consider working.
The executives, by the way, are making money hand over fist. The stock is going through the roof because wall street sees great margins and low cost of doing business. They are raping their sales force. Most of my friends have not had a bonus in more than 8 months. They assured everyone quotas will be re-evaluated at the end of the fiscal year. They know they blew it but are unwilling to fix it. It’s all about wall street and the stock. They assured the sales people they would be treated fairly months from now whenever they get around to it. Guess they are too busy spending all their bonus $$$$ as they rape the sales force.
If a recruiter calls you about covidien, run don’t walk!
Big Red says
By the way, the company was 1000% better when they were TYCO. They spent all that $$$$ for the logo to pretend they are now a respectful honest company. It’s all BS, don’t kid yourselves.
I stumbled on this blog answering a discussion question for a college class. Granted the logo does not jump out at the everyday person and yes it is not that exciting. But they are not selling a new basketball sneaker, nor are they selling cars. They sell medical devices and other healthcare products. If it was that bad would Big Red have been there for 20 years. (Granted it was Tyco for some of those years) Most reps making 60-80 K??? I find that hard to believe when there are people on the packaging floors with only high school diplomas making that much.