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  • Writer's pictureIan Morris

Rebrands that made the biggest difference in 2021

We hit restart and made it to the beginning of another year. While 2021 may have been 12 months many of us would prefer to forget (a myriad of political fiascos, continued climate change issues and global generalised anxiety of Covid), there were some exciting moments in the branding arena!

Decoration of a dark sky with blue clouds and the text "The biggest rebrands of 2021"

Let’s face it, in 2021 we welcomed any distraction – especially if it was a feast for the eyes in the form of a good rebrand (…personal opinion of course.) It just so happened that three brands, in particular, seemed to pique our interest. These brands became nestled firmly under our noses, forming part of our day-to-day lives.

During the last two years of lockdowns and restrictions, it should be of little surprise that food, pharmaceuticals and digital platforms were among the three largest areas that continued to dominate our world throughout 2021.

So which were the biggest rebrands in 2021? Let’s get into it.


Who are they?

To be honest, you may already be intimately familiar with them. They created one of the primary Covid vaccines which were/are being rolled out across the world. However, to sound more official: “Pfizer is one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, discovering, developing and providing over 150 different medicines and vaccines to help improve the lives of millions of people in the UK and around the world.”

Why have I picked them?

No other big pharma corporation was as well-known and spoken of in 2021 as Pfizer. During the world’s desperation to find a vaccine, Pfizer plunged itself into the spotlight. As the world watched on, an early rebrand in 2021 was very well-timed to match the attention they were receiving.

Why the rebrand?

The timing of the rebrand seemed perfect, a new sparkly face-lift while they held the world’s attention. Described by Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, the rebrand was prompted by a ‘new era’ for the company. It was Pfizer’s key move towards being noted for curing and preventing diseases and not just treating them.

Was it successful?

Yes! The DNA-themed logo takes centre stage to reflect its science and research capabilities. The use of abstract 3D shapes, inspired by the double helix structure, is a modern and noted trend-worthy move. They allow the shape to be created and represented in a manner of different ways, allowing for interest and flexibility. An interesting topic to mention is colour. In an industry saturated with blue hues and tones, I was interested to discover the reasons behind their colour choice, “In an industry awash in blue, we’re doubling down,” Pfizer says. “A choice that champions our history as a leader for the pioneers who have followed.” I love that they are championing the blue hues in this particular landscape, a bold and unapologetic move.

Recommended for you: Find out what’s going to be big news in the branding world in 2022 and read our article on when it’s the right time to rebrand.

Burger King

Who are they?

A delicious and yummy (but not-so-good-for-your-waistline-as-I-wished-it-would-be) fast-food burger chain. You know the one, think Whopper thoughts.

Why have I picked them?

With explosive growths in food delivery platforms such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, getting food delivered from restaurant to door became an indulgence we all couldn’t (and didn’t want to) refuse. Under the gloom of multiple lockdowns, ordering food online became a habit a lot of us enjoyed. Burger King was one of the key global fast-food chains that decided to rebrand themselves and take the opportunity for a fresh new image during this time.

Why the rebrand?

It’s been a while, 20 years since Burger King rebranded, so it’s a pretty significant move. They carried out their brand overhaul to update all visual elements of their identity with branding that they describe as “mouthwatering, big and bold, playfully irreverent and proudly true”.

As part of the rebrand, they introduced a flat logo design that is more aligned with their branding used throughout the 70s, 80’s and 90s. “We were inspired by the brand’s original logo and how it has grown to have an iconic place in culture,” explained Jones Knowles Ritchie, the agency brand the rebrand. “The new logo pays homage to the brand’s heritage with a refined design that’s confident, simple and fun.”

Discovering why the move was so significant to the brand’s future, Raphael Abreu, head of design at Restaurant Brands International, which owns the Burger King brand, explains, Design is one of the most essential tools we have for communicating who we are and what we value, and it plays a vital role in creating desire for our food and maximising guests’ experience”. “We wanted to use design to get people to crave our food; its flame-grilling perfection and above all, its taste.”

Was it successful?

Yes! The new identity has such a renewed energy and friendly nostalgia, that it’s hard to not get excited about this rebrand. We are so used to seeing new brands use neon colours and 3D visuals to align with current trends, so it’s refreshing to see Burger King stand apart from the noise and focus on their heritage, a look that is uniquely theirs.

The warmer colour palette gives a sense of vibrancy while also making me think of the brand’s trademark flame-grilling approach (did they pull a Derren Brown on me …just me?). In addition, the playful and approachable typeface graphics and illustrations only add to my further love for this rebrand. …I’m after a Whopper now.


Who are they?

Trust me, you’ll be familiar with them… (or should I say, they’re familiar with you!) You know them, they’re the ones who needed a parent name to house together some of the top social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. If you’re like the rest of us, you use at least one of their platforms every day, (#hooked).

Why have I picked them?

Over the last two years, connecting in the digital world has not just become out of necessity, but second nature and a priority. Online quizzes? Check. Online family meet-ups? Check. Online work meetings? Check. Of course, the digital world was always a huge part of our lives, but 2021 continued to push this trend to the extreme. So, I’ve gone there. I’ve opened Pandora’s box and I apologise. Meta might be a bit of a controversial topic since its launch – some loving the move and embracing the updated branding, others continuing to get riled up over copyright issues regarding previous companies using similar logos and names. However, the introduction of Meta was too huge not to mention.

Why the rebrand?

According to the brand, the name Meta represents a link towards the Metaverse – a digital world where users, represented by their digital selves. They can bring the metaverse to life by connecting with others, finding communities and growing businesses. According to the Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg explains that “the renaming was to signal that the company was branching out and was linked to more than one product.” He added that Meta was a better representation of what the company is working towards.

Was it successful?

Only time will tell. However, they have created a fresh and vibrant brand that adapts to current 3D and motion trends. I like how the animated Meta symbol embraces different textures, colours and movements – a representation of diversity and flexibility. The symbol captures the creativity and imagination of the 3D world.

Promptly moving into 2022, it’s safe to say that the same industries will still dominate our lives. However, if you’re like me, then I’ll be keeping an ear to the ground and seeing how the food, pharmaceuticals and digital platforms landscapes evolve in a year that will hopefully be a more positive outlook for us all.

NEED HELP MAKING 2022 A BUMPER YEAR? Building strong brands is what we do, day in, day out, at Threerooms. If you’d like to discuss a project, get in touch today.

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