Rebranding 220 Shell service stations in New Zealand will cost NZ $35 million. But a rebrand means its owners, Greenstone Energy, will save around NZ $7 million a year in royalty fees.
While the New Zealand-owned Greenstone claims 17,000 New Zealanders were surveyed about the change, I am unsure to what they were actually asked. In reality, this seems to be a case of an investment business deciding to cold shoulder Shell’s royalty fee, for long term financial gain. Meanwhile, they get to party wrap a new look for Kiwi’s to love and belong to.... yeah, right!
According to CEO Mike Bennett, when ditching a global heritage brand, he said, "We arrived at Z because it's short, sharp and to the point. It reflects our national identity and our commitment to New Zealand. To us, Z is all about New Zealand."
Apparently "Z" was chosen as it is the last letter of the alphabet and first letter of the last word in New Zealand. But there's more! The logo also represents the infinity symbol recognizing the millions of car journeys Kiwis take each year. According to "Z" we actually never get out of our cars. We drive them forever.
But beyond this nice and simple description of a logo, the real story behind this new Kiwi brand appears to be in the delicious cupcakes and coffee that "Z" will serve and the 200 new employees to provide forecourt service during the day. Does this sound familiar? At my local Shell, forecourt staff offer to fill my car and I can get a great cupcake and coffee at BP’s Wild Bean Cafe.
In my opinion, this is not a brand but an ABC kindergarten logo. A logo slapped up with the thought that selling Kiwi to Kiwi’s will fix everything. The rest of the world may recognize it as a logo that looks interestingly rather familiar. A piece of Astra Zeneca's logo, perhaps?
This is not a rebrand but an investment company’s indulgence. The bottom line is that New Zealand has lost a heritage service brand that helped build this nation and has replaced it with a rather cheap and painfully bad logo of an independent petrol station — a logo that belongs at the bottom of the world.