04.10.2023

When Marketing Goes Wrong: Burberry Underground Takeover

Sian
burberry-street-station-hero
burberry-street-station-hero

A good idea in marketing may not go the way you expect – even if it has been done before. And Burberry has discovered that.

Last week, the British luxury brand Burberry temporarily renamed Bond Street tube station in London to “Burberry Street” as part of a marketing campaign for London Fashion Week. The move was met with widespread criticism, with many accusing the brand of being tone-deaf and out of touch.

The rebranding involved changing all of the signage at the station, including the iconic roundels on the platforms and the entrance to the station to Burberry’s signature beige and blue colours.

It drove headlines and engagement, but not in the way they expected.

Social media was inundated with people complaining about the rebrand. Some people said that it was confusing and that they had missed their stop because they didn’t realise that the station had been renamed. Others said that it was simply a marketing stunt and that Burberry was trying to buy its way into London’s cultural scene.

One Twitter user wrote, “I’m all for brands doing creative marketing campaigns, but renaming Bond Street station is just ridiculous. It’s confusing and unnecessary.”

Another user wrote, “Burberry’s rebranding of Bond Street station is a tone-deaf marketing stunt. The brand is trying to buy its way into London’s cultural scene, but it’s only alienated itself from its customers.”

The criticism of the rebranding was so widespread that Burberry eventually relented and agreed to change the signage back to Bond Street. However, the damage had already been done, and its reputation had been tarnished.

burberry-street-station
burberry-street-logo

Why Did the Burberry Bond Street Renaming Fail?

There are a number of reasons why the Burberry Bond Street renaming failed.

It was simply unnecessary. Bond Street is one of the most iconic and well-known streets in the world. It is the home to many of the world’s leading luxury brands, and it is a popular tourist destination. There was simply no need to rename the street, especially for such a short period of time.

The rebranding was confusing. Many people, both Londoners and tourists alike, were confused by the name change. Some people thought that the station had been renamed permanently, while others thought that they had missed their stop.

The rebranding was simply out of touch. In a time when many people are struggling financially, Burberry’s decision to rename one of the most iconic streets in the world after its own brand was seen as insensitive and out of touch.

 

Lessons to be Learned From the Burberry Bond Street Renaming Fail

There are a number of lessons that brands can learn from the Burberry Bond Street renaming fail.

  1. Brands should think carefully about the potential impact of their marketing campaigns before launching them. It is important to consider how the campaign might be perceived by different audiences and to be aware of the potential for backlash.
  2. Brands should avoid marketing stunts that are confusing or unnecessary. These types of stunts can alienate customers and damage a brand’s reputation.
  3. Brands should be mindful of the public mood when launching marketing campaigns. If people are struggling financially, it is not a good time to be launching campaigns that are seen as out of touch or insensitive.

 

What Can Brands Learn From Burberry’s Mistake

The Burberry Bond Street renaming failure is a cautionary tale for brands. It shows that it is important to think carefully about the potential impact of marketing campaigns before launching them. Brands should also be mindful of the public mood and avoid launching campaigns that are seen as out of touch or insensitive.

Here are a few other things that brands can learn from the Burberry Bond Street renaming failure:

 

As an expert branding and marketing agency running for over 23 years, we have seen markets shift and change throughout the years. If you feel like you need branding (successfully!), then getting in touch with Brave’s specialist branding team can help to reinvigorate your brand.

A good idea in marketing may not go the way you expect – even if it has been done before. And Burberry has discovered that.

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