The Flipkart-owned e-commerce brand redesigned its logo after being called offensive by a Mumbai-based social worker.
Over the past weekend, leading online fashion retailer Myntra created quite a buzz on social media and otherwise after it revamped its five-year-old logo ‘M’, which is simply overlapping shades of two colours - pink and orange. The move came after a Mumbai-based social worker took to social media to claim that "the overall placement of the colour scheme" of the letter "M" in the logo was "obscene to the eyes of any person of normal prudence.”
Ekta Naaz, founder-director of Avesta Foundation, a Mumbai-based NGO, had filed a written complaint with the police in December last year demanding that "the logo be changed", or Myntra may face legal action.
According to the complaint, it was "deliberate placement of the colour scheme" to "depict a woman’s vagina and such is again highlighted with the colour scheme of depicting her legs spread out in a suggestive manner."
This comes at a time when many brands from across categories have come under the scrutiny of netizens for their advertising campaigns and marketing initiatives. Are the brands being constantly put under pressure to respond to such consumer complaints these days?
In light of Myntra’s quick response and action towards the consumer complaint, we reached out to a couple of industry experts to understand their viewpoint on the same. Was the previous logo offensive, and was Myntra right about redesigning its logo?
Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder, Elephant Design
I don’t believe there is anything offensive, neither intentional nor unintentional. An illustration, a word, a phrase, or even a photograph may throw up some unexpected and totally unintentional meanings, especially when they are seen out of context.
From branding perspective, if Myntra believes it has built a strong image aligned with its promise, then it should not change anything. The logo has been around for years and it should be changed (like any rebranding exercise) only when there is a gap between promise and perception.
The world is full of all kinds of opinions. A brand can’t control them. But a well-meaning brand has no reason to change its course for the sake of few opinions.
Arnab Ray, creative director, Landor & Fitch
One individual’s perspective does not make up an absolute truth! In my opinion, people are reacting unfairly and the opinion is very subjective. Myntra is a popular shopping destination, and while I know many Myntra fans, I’ve never heard anyone find the logo offensive. In fact, Myntra’s communication strategy has always been very forward and inclusive.
I strongly believe that Myntra shouldn’t have reacted so quickly to the pressure and updated the logo. A logo evolution impacts changes across multiple 360-degree elements and, perhaps, a little bit of deliberation would have helped prevent this churn. Even the social media banter supports Myntra and the brand could have definitely used its fan following to rally support.
The support I see could be a good thing actually, business-wise, and should not change the way people shop on the platform.
Although on a positive note, I feel the update, purely design-wise, makes the logo neater than the earlier one. There was no need for a controversy.
Ashutosh Karkhanis, creative head and managing partner, Open Strategy and Design
We are in the business of creating meaning. Symbols, by themselves, never have meaning on their own. The context, the culture around them lends meaning to them. There was nothing around the Myntra logo that would give it undesired meaning, so I didn’t see the need to change.
When Airbnb rebranded, some fuss was made about what the logo looked like. They chose not to respond to it. Today, when we see that logo, we see the ideas that Airbnb wove around it, nothing more. That's how it works. We must understand that the opposite also happens. Innocent symbols gaining undesired meaning.
Shekhar Badve, founder director, Lokus Design
The logo was fine and not offensive. If one starts looking at things only with that eye, then the world is full of objectionable materials and visuals.
It will cause a lot of damage in (terms of) wastage of printed materials, packaging, digital content, etc., and redoing the whole thing all over again.
The basic promise and the offering remains unchanged and won’t have negative impact on sales.
Brands, of course, have to respond and be sensitive towards customer sentiments and resolve them. But they will have to choose their battles to ensure that their energies are conserved. On the other hand, the customers also need to be a bit considerate and tolerant with brands.