Oh, Kiss Off! Why Hershey’s New Logo Doesn’t Stink

Written by Kimberly MacArthur Graham on September 3, 2014

As the owner of three pets, I know a steaming pile when I see it. And frankly, emojis* aside, I don’t think that Hershey’s new logo is one. To those who say that the “Kiss” looks too much like a pile of poo, I say you spend too much time texting and not enough time in the trenches of today’s overworked creative agencies. We are beating our brains out daily, trying to come up with new brands that will immediately connect with consumers on an emotional level while portraying our clients as the approachable, progressive, forward-thinking, etc. companies that they are. And while we’re working with carefully budgeted time and money, somehow there often seem to be unlimited resources with varied and conflicting opinions!


It’s enough to make a marketer binge on a barrel of chocolate bars.

The hue and cry around Hershey’s iconic kiss hits close to home for another reason. Here in Colorado, we skewered another little triangle last fall, when the State unveiled its new branded “watermark” to similarly unflattering reviews. It is a simple, legible “CO” inside a green-and-white snowcapped mountain, with “Colorado” spelled out underneath. Though it looks like a sibling to our beloved license plates, naysayers have vilified this mark as everything from a hazardous waste symbol to grade-school drivel. (For the record, I like it. Read my blog post about the brouhaha.)


In both cases, many of the negative folks are missing the point – while ironically underscoring each design’s success. For if a logo is judged by its ability to elicit emotion, these have most certainly succeeded.

Kidding aside, I consider both of these successful and not “stinky,” for two reasons.

1)      They are extremely simple.

2)      They refer to a common object by shape, color, etc.


Being readily accessible allows a logomark to achieve that oh-so-desirable “immediate” and “emotional” connection.  Of course, you also want to create a brand that has positive connotations – and frankly, for me, the new Hershey logo does. It never crossed my mind that it terminated with anything other than a charming interpretation of the iconic foil-wrapped Kiss. Yes, some see it differently, and that will always be the case. But who’s to say that the agency and the client do not anticipate some of the inevitable flak, maybe even relish it? The viral online “stink” has generated significant brand buzz for Hershey’s, which will likely boost sales. Suddenly that “steaming pile” of manure looks more like a heap of black gold!

*For those of you not addicted to texting, an emoji is one of the Japanese icon or emoticons that have taken over the virtual world. We were warned nearly 20 years ago with the classic video game mistranslation: “All your base are belong to us.” If you missed this the first time around, check out http://www.allyourbasearebelongtous.com.) 


Posted Under: Advertising, Branding, Design, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Messaging, Online

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