I can’t recall the exact date or place. I just remember seeing an A2 poster somewhere with Al Marai written on it, and a logo I didn’t recognize, so I shrugged it off. ‘They couldn’t possibly change the logo!” I thought. And then one day, I take the milk carton out of the fridge, and it hits me: They DID change their logo!
I am a person that appreciates stability. I hate seeing all these changes taking place around me, especially that I’ve been consuming these products pretty much all my life.
Oh, cow, where art thou?
So why has the Al Marai cow been forced into retirement ? I asked Eccentric Marketing Strategist Said Baaghil for his thoughts on the matter:
“Al Marai corporate brand is designed for the purpose to accommodate the current strategy changes taken by the company and I believe it was dictated by their new mission and vision. Most recently, the company added two new brands in bakery and poultry. They decided to keep the Al Marai brand of the dairy product and juice product as the corporate name. The two things I fundamentally disagree on is first that the juice brand and the dairy product brand both operate under the same name while in 2 different categories. Secondly, the new identity only serves the corporate level. In their logo they have removed the cow in the icon of the brand from Al Marai, thus removing one of the primary strong elements of the brand that had a long lasting relationship with the audience. That is not a smart move at all, and it will be painful for the brand in the long run. The stubborn position that Al Marai is holding on the juice brand as a name is not effective and I highly recommend that the name for the juice should be changed. The new corporate identity of Al Marai is not much to be noticed other than they just added two new brands into their portfolio.”
Now from a design point of view, the logo does not bother me at all. It does look more modern, especially that they used a different Arabic typeface. They haven’t changed the packaging, which made it less of a disaster because we can still identify their products (not saying I love the packaging). Use the new logo for the company, be my guest. But why did you slaughter the cow? Why get rid of an icon we’ve been familiar with for so long?
More brands are getting ‘facelifts’ and makeovers. I honestly feel betrayed. It is as if my opinion no longer counts, and they’re now focusing on targeting ‘younger generations.’ And I say that when I’m only 22 years old. I asked my mom – a freelance translator and devoted mother, grandmother and wife – how she felt about the new logo:
– “New Marai logo?” she said, squinting at the package. “You didn’t make this, did you?”
– No mom, I’m just writing an article about it. What do you think? Did you even notice the new logo?
– I didn’t notice and I think it stinks. What does it represent? It doesn’t represent what the company does. It just looks like a pair of wings or something. That’s the problem nowadays; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. People are getting away with crap.
Al Marai, this is what one of your consumers said about your new logo. What have you got to say about it? They haven’t stopped buying your products, but will future generations choose Al Marai, Nadec, Al Safi, or Nada?
I’m seriously considering starting a collection of product packages. I probably don’t have enough space, so perhaps digital documentation would be better. You never know; you might wake up one day and all the brands you’ve known since childhood have gotten new identities. Some day, all these old packages will be considered vintage. Take a minute to look at this cream cheese packaging. How can you not appreciate it if you see it 30 years from now?
“Why is the cheese on the grass?!” I exclaimed as I examined the packaging. The housekeeper took me seriously and said, “The cheese isn’t really on the grass.” Well that answered it… If Al Marai and other brands get better packaging in the future, I’m going to miss having things to make fun of every time I open the fridge or go to the supermarket.