About me
About me

Abbey lights a flame to fan hopes


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Which of Abbey’s new looks do you prefer? I can certainly see why, in this modern age, someone would rebrand from the first to the second, but why would anyone in the right mind go from the second to the first?

The first logo looks staid, old-fashioned, and boring – very samey. The second looks funky, fresh, and something a bit different. Why, oh why, rebrand when you’ve just spent eighteen months making your brand a success, and turning around your failing business?

I don’t get it!

This 389th post was filed under: News and Comment.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / October 2019, 3 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / September 2019, 6 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / August 2019, 7 minutes long

A flying visit to Copenhagen / July 2019, 9 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / June 2019, 6 minutes long

Some random old posts

The Most Serene Republic of Simoneus / March 2005, 1 minute long

You’re wrong / October 2014, 3 minutes long

Humphrey has died / March 2006, 4 minutes long

Keep your shirt on Zac – we’d all be better for it / July 2014, 1 minute long

Don’t let germs be your gift / November 2013, 1 minute long

It got there first, it did it best, and now it’s on a roll / January 2005, 2 minutes long

Comments and responses

Comment from Matthew Revell

by Matthew Revell

Comment posted at 09:37 on 9th May 2005.

Ridiculous, isn’t it?

I wonder if Banco Santander will return the whole of Abbey to the 1970s.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 16:39 on 9th May 2005.

It seems to me that Abbey wanted to be one thing, whilst the new owners want it to be another. Which suggests to me that we’ll end up with little more than a disorganised mess, at least for a while – just after Abbey’s started to sort itself out.

They’ve recently updated abbey.com, and it looks most perculiar to have such a staid logo next to a picture of daffodils and simplified friendly copy. The whole situation is simply odd.

Comment from Jimmy Mack

by Jimmy Mack

Comment posted at 18:16 on 11th May 2005.

The Wolff Olins ‘abbey’ branding was and is certainly far more contemporary than the corporate Santander offering.

However, I can well understand the frustrations of the new owners: there appeared to be no agreed colour for it (branches were sometimes green, sometimes blue and sometimes magenta), leading to alot of confusion and a rather wishy washy feeling.

The broader communication strategy (‘turning banking on its head’) was also way beyond credibilty and not supported by particularly rel;evant or distinctive products. I can see why they retired it to the Costa Del Sol.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 19:01 on 11th May 2005.

Perhaps it’s a ‘small minds’ thing, but I liked the colour variations – it gave each branch its own identity. And their stationery came in the rainbow of colours too, so each month, you’d get a differently coloured statement, and similarly with receipts from the branches. It brightened up what could otherwise have been an excessively dull transaction.

As for the broader communication strategy, I tend to agree with you. I think they would’ve been better trying to communicate a more personal and friendly approach, rather than simply ‘turning banking on its head’ which, as you say, was not backed up with appropriate products.

They didn’t seem to fully think things through either, firstly introducing a regular product ‘catalogue’, which lasted one issue (or possibly two), then introducing a regular customer magazine which lasted one issue. It’s almost as if they chose to test these ideas on a national basis, instead of doing a local pilot before rolling them out nationally.

I actually think it was a mistake to completely remove the ‘umbrella’ logo and branding, as well as to rename to ‘abbey’. They would’ve been better just developing the old idea, rather than taking a completely new one on board – after all, as much as I liked the Wolff Olins branding, it would’ve dated very quickly anyway.

Having said all of that (far more than I did in the original post!), I think that the Santander branding is dull and uninspired, not to mention failing to fit in with the ‘abbey’ approach and being (perhaps) unattractive to their current and target customers.

Maybe it’s a good thing, and maybe the company will go much further with mainstream branding. I don’t know. We’ll see, I guess.

Compose a new comment


You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.