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A Heroic Change?

Hero Motor-Corp

Hero Honda (left) and the new logo for Hero MotoCorp (right)

Hero and Honda parted ways in early 2011 after a 25 year JV; with the Munjal family buying Honda out. As part of the agreement the Hero Group was allowed to continue using the ‘Hero Honda’ brand and mark for another 3 years but clearly the Munjal led Hero Group has wasted no time.

Enter Hero MotoCorp. The new identity created by Wolff Olins was launched on the 9th of August at the O2 centre in London, with dealers, employees and other stakeholders attending a gala event–true Indian style. The extravaganza included the launch of two new products along with the launch of the all new identity.

Wolff Olins are known for their bold and groundbreaking work. But this identity is suprisingly weak and it may be that the client killed off even the slightest hint of imagination. The abstracted ‘H’ simply does not hold together. The previous mark had red and black as the primary colours but it’s not clear whether there was enough equity to retain them. The mark was previously bastardised on a weekly basis by shabby Indian ad agencies and a stronger visual form would have made the group’s intentions clearer. The typography, which could have saved the day seems rather lazy. An uppercase ‘H’ and lowercase ‘ero’ at the same height look disconnected.

What they have got right though is the name. Hero MotoCorp gives it this right out of Detroit, RoboCop feel. Which was critical. ‘Hero’ without ‘Honda’ raised fears of a lack of technological prowess. ‘MotoCorp’ will help cross-off those early doubters–instilling a sense of confidence and it’s upto Hero to ensure the brand does not promise more than it can deliver.

At the end of the day it is almost unfair to judge any automotive brand in 2D. The exciting part will be the badge that goes on the fuel tanks. More fun to come?



7 Comments

  1. KR wrote:

    Oh, that ‘r’! (The stroke-rot from Airtel?) Hero should’ve gone to Saffron (remember the Apollo branding?) instead. On a side note, there are two ‘are known-s’ in the second para.

  2. KR wrote:

    And I end up looking like an idiot mentioning Saffron in Chaitanya’s article. Woe is me!

  3. ChaiR wrote:

    @KR – Yup maybe Saffron was the way to go. But you can’t doubt Wolff Olins’ record. Even when it comes to understanding India. Knowing the Munjal’s they probably put forward some ridiculous requests – whats surprising is that WO caved.

  4. dinesh korjan wrote:

    I feel the name should have been changed to ‘Hero Hero’. This would help to reinforce the fact that nothing is amiss with the exit of honda. Plus the name is catchier.

  5. mouli g marur wrote:

    this was created by wolffolins? the mark is highly forgettable and the typography makes it plainly pedestrian. and the new commercials, with a panoramic screenfull of motorcycles raising a cloud of dust and smoke coming at you is remarkably meaningless. and what use is a helmet when a guy is dumb enough to use his Hero (Honda) to cross a rickety bridge too risky to even walk across without the additional weight of a motorcycle! what the dude should be wearing is a parachute and a lifewest (in case he lands in the gushing waters hundreds of feet in the ravine! and i think AR Rahman should take a sabbatical and produce silence for a while… he (and his music) is beginning to sound exactly the same no matter whether he is peddling Honesty in Satyameva Jeyate, or a motorcycle for a Gung Ho Hero!
    moulimarur@gmail.com

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