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298. TCBY's New Logo? Just the Jimmies on the Top.

TCBY is a 30 year-old brand that is about to take some seriously courageous steps in order to revitalize its business. And even though this is a communications blog, it's clear that the design is perhaps the very least of the changes.

The company announced today that the development of a new store prototype is complete and ready to be launched in their hometown of Salt Lake City in July. The most important aspect of this initiative is a switch from the standard counter-service model to one centered around self-service stations. Attempting to recapture the leadership of the frozen yogurt category, TCBY anticipates that many franchisees will follow along in the near future. In fact, one store in North Carolina is opening with a self-serve format including some elements from the prototype, and another location is in the middle of converting. 

Restaurant News quotes Tim Casey, Chief Executive of TCBY's parent company as saying, “We feel like the tone of the experience, energy and choice self-serve offers the consumer is not only a dramatic departure from our current experience, but a departure from the category as a whole,” said Casey, who joined the company in May. “There has been a shift in behavior that clearly indicates that consumers like choice, convenience and options.” Wow. You don't see many stores with this much heritage willing to change things up this dramatically very often. 

 2 New Concept Renderings:

The new self-serve stationsThe new social lounge

TCBY's internal creative team and agency StruckAxiom have been working in tandem to design the experience which includes the new format, but also a refreshed brand and retail experience. The retail interiors will be more modern, bright, and colorful with a comfort level to match upstarts Red Mango (of which I have a beautiful Arabic version I need to upload here) and Pinkberry who have taken a little bit of the limelight from TCBY. Looking at the renderings there will be a lot of crisp lines, architectural paneling, clean surfaces and splashes of comfort and color throughout. The main focal point is something they are calling a social lounge which is the central seating area. I think they would be happy if customers came to TCBY to hangout, or at least to enjoy their stay enough to return. The self-serve bar starts with 10 to 16 soft-serve options and ends with a topping bar including everything from fresh fruit to hot fudge. Your creation will be priced by the ounce, at .39 cents each. I realize there are others in the business doing the self-serve thing, but these are the category leaders. Short of selling tires instead of yogurt, could they be changing more about their business?

Another Rendering of the New Look:

Now the branding has changed just as much as the store experience. Gone will be the seemingly hand-drawn and chunky-purple TCBY and in their place will be a modern almost digital-looking sans. The remodeled typography features rounded terminals and 90-degree bars coming off the t and y which are also now lowercase and pink. The new color palette moves away from the muddled southwestern-ish purple and green, to a vibrant neon pink, yellow, lime and cyan with a liberal use of negative space to boot. 

New Logo Compared with Old:

New Logo Compared with Competitors:

Part of the new branding is an attempt to redefine what TCBY stands for, which historically has been their tagline, The Country's Best Yogurt. In-store pieces feature new acronyms; totally cold & bold yogurt, tasty creamy blissful yogurt, and the creamy best yogurt among others. Basically they are more casual and approachable superlatives than before, though I imagine the old tag will play its part. I probably could do without this acronym element, though it doesn't exactly bother me since it is part of their past. It's harmless at worst.

TCBY Acronyms In-store:

StruckAxiom along with research company, Foster Research and Consulting, focus group tested the new logotype (which is usually the death knell of anything original or good) and received positive feedback on the new identity. Freshness, health and relevancy were areas where the mark scored highly. Both companies had glowing things to say about their client (And they better, right?!?). "

"From conception to roll out, TCBY has empowered us to explore boundaries and blend art with commerce while creating an experience that will resonate with existing and new customers," said Brent Watts, executive creative director at StruckAxiom. "It's OK if customers walk into the new store and recognize, 'this is not your parent’s TCBY.' It's designed to be cross generational."

Now for some critique. First, I applaud the courage to try something new. A lot of companies—particularly in the restaurant business—die a long and painful death to status quo. It's easier to do nothing and the fact that someone, whether newly hired Tim Casey or someone else had the vision and then the fortitude to see it through is amazing given most companies' bureaucracy. That said, parent company Mrs. Fields emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October of 2008 so maybe the changes didn't come quite quickly enough. But it came and that's good enough for one casual observer. Hats off to them for trying to turn their business upside-down in order to save it. Personally, I see the change to self-serve as a reaction to an increasingly DIY culture, stiff competition and a tougher economic climate. I bet the new format allows for fewer employees, better profit margins and perhaps impressively enough—a better customer experience though I'll have to try it first to see. You know... strictly for research purposes.

The new design is tough not to like. (If you are a regular reader of design blogs you know how designers love to hate everything that they didn't do. A love to loathe as it were.) Well, I'm no easy judge on my work or others for that matter but this update is just as bold and courageous as the new business plan. I like the new typography, friendly with a contemporary edge that matches the interior/signage work. There is a slight issue with the y looking like a 4, but in its current shape it also mirrors the cups yogurt is served in, which I like. So, I can forgive that. I also wonder with Baskin-Robbins in the mix, if they can truly own the pink or magenta color? Are they far enough apart from each other's core audience? Slight ssues aside, this is a solid effort in my opinion. More importatly, the design (and other changes) are a shot across the bows of other industry players that the giant has been awoken. Who knows if the triad of a new plan, new design and new branding will result in a more robust consumer base? But at least these guys tried something. Look for the new work to slowly spread throughout the more than 800 global TCBY locations.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a hankering for some chocolate jimmies and chocolate yogurt to execute. (I actually grew up calling those sprinkles, but enjoy saying the name jimmies much much more. Ha.)  Oh, and with Father's Day right around the corner you can get a free cup or cone for Dad on June 20th at your local TCBY. He deserves it. He puts up with you afterall.

*A lot of the information in this article relied heavily on two articles. One from Restaurant News. And the other from QSRweb. Not normally part of my regular reading, but wonderful ways to stay up on the food industry.


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    298. TCBY's New Logo? Just the Jimmies on the Top. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    298. TCBY's New Logo? Just the Jimmies on the Top. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    298. TCBY's New Logo? Just the Jimmies on the Top. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    298. TCBY's New Logo? Just the Jimmies on the Top. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    298. TCBY's New Logo? Just the Jimmies on the Top. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    298. TCBY's New Logo? Just the Jimmies on the Top. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    Wow! I really like the logo of TCBY, which is simple and innovative too. I appreciate the designer who has done a good job. A logo can recognize the company’s purpose. I like the designs that are painted on the walls which give a rich look to the restaurant.

Reader Comments (1)

The theme behind the name , the logo and the store all are truly impressive. Every thing is simple but elegant and that thing truly helps to attract the customers , customers love the thing which they can memorize well, complex ideas don't get too much appreciation.
June 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Loving it

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