Now maybe this is a step in the right direction!
AOL has finally decided to break free of it's early 90's relic of an image and has come up with a new branding campaign and logo:
Does it work? Well, our staff seems to be divided over it; Some of us think that it's a very cool concept. The logo itself is nothing ground breaking, but the presentation is fresh, exciting to watch and does leave an impression. However those who have this opinion admit that the branding effort works much better as a video presentation (as the video above) than as a static image (such as the example below):
On the other hand, other members of our staff think that this is not a suitable branding effort by AOL. Their (our staff's) opinion is that it's a desperate attempt by AOL to shed their reputation and come across as something they're not. When I asked my colleagues if is that not the aim of any branding effort? The answer was that not necessarily; After all AOL used to be a respected brand that has other strengths to pull on whereas this whole campaign feels like AOL is an old guy trying to "dress hip" in order to look younger. It just doesn't work because AOL has a history (good and bad) which is very well known in pop culture and daily life, and this is not the way to go around it.
The whole effort is the product of Wolff Olins and their creative director recently stated that: "The constantly changing images behind the logo are also intended to elicit surprise." Sort of symbolize the wide range of content offered by AOL.
Perhaps. Though myself personally (thus dividing the whole Pixellogo logo design staff into three separate opinion groups), I think that it's time that AOL simply re-branded itself from the ground up, even shed the AOL name. There's too much associated with the negative publicity they attracted at one time during the merger and aftermath with Time Warner and then there's also the fact that the services for which AOL used to be famous and sought after for are no longer in high demand. In short, the web has changed but they did not keep up and so I'm of the opinion that they should follow the example of Phillip Morris and start from a clean slate.