According to The Free Dictionary (2011, Para. 1) parody refers to the imitation of works of art or literature so that they can achieve comic effects. According to Rose (1993, pp. 10-12) parodies are variations that are done to original works mostly aimed at ridiculing the works. Logo parodies are increasingly being produced by people for different reasons. The logos being the face of the different companies has been the front for which different objectives of parody creators can be expressed. The essay will discuss reasons why people create logo parodies with concluding remarks on the importance of logos.
First, parodies are a form of criticizing notions that have long been held by people. For instance in the United States, the Barbie dolls have been used to represent some form of mythical beauty. The global evolution of the Barbie dolls as representing beauty has been challenged by logo parodists. The gentle nature of Barbie dolls was first challenged by a photographer who created photos of the dolls holding kitchen upholstery. The photo was accompanied by warnings to the viewers. The point of view that a woman is an object of beauty has also been criticized by some people. The representation by thee artist led to the decreasing of the view of women as non equal partners in the global arena (Casenotes, 2007, pp. 91-92).
Logo parodies are also used to raise environmental awareness about the uncontrolled industrialization brought about by the current wave of globalization. The environmental damages that are a common place in the current world due to the increasing need by companies to make quick buck with little regards to the state of the environment. The portrayal of BP as “Big Problem” was driven by the capitalist nature of the company. The BP oil spill had a significant impact on the Gulf of Mexico such as the death of avian species that inhabited the place. This led to the increased demonization of BP as an agent of environmental destruction. The company continued to post profits while on the other hand they acted slowly in plugging the rig that was spewing oil into the ocean (Goldenberg, 12th July 2011, Para. 3-12). The increasing ease by which the world can get information led to an increased awareness of the blunders of BP. People expressed their anger and this prompted a quicker resolution to the disaster.
Consumerism and consumer information is also a reason why logo parodies are created. The creator of the parodies sometimes wants to educate the consumers of products on the dangers that the production of their favorite foods or snacks cause. There has been an increasing call for consumers to ignore Nestle branded Kit Kat Chocolates. The Greenpeace movement has tried to make the consumers aware of the threat that the production poses to the environment. Instead of using the “Kit Kat” they state “Killer” in reference to the Orangutans whose habitat in the rainforests of Indonesia is being cleared. Sinar Mas, the largest supplier of Nestle palm oil which is needed in the production of the chocolates engages in reckless clearing and burning of forests to maintain the need by Nestle. The advances in technology such as the WWW’s Youtube enabled the parody to move to new heights as the consumers in other continents now know the danger that their consumption poses to the world in terms of habitat destruction and global warming (Armstrong, 2010, para. 1-10). According to Lee (2010, para. 8-9), Nestle was forced to change tact due to the looming consumer boycott brought about by the revelation by the Greenpeace. They were forced to change the supplier
Freedom of expression is also a reason why people create logo parodies. Logos being visible have been used easily to expresses any ideas that an individual may have. A person enjoys freedom of speech if what they say is the truth. Most of the parodies are aimed at expressing the disgust of the creator at an issue, criticizing it or ridiculing it. The author of Nestle “Killer” logo wanted the world to be informed about the realities of the operations of Nestle Company and how they impacted on the environment. The logo was not for any commercial purpose, was succinctly different from the “Kit Kat” logo. It should also be noted that the parody was for the interest of criticizing Nestle based on objective facts (Armstrong, 2010, para. 1-10).
There are many reasons why logos are used with the first being the creation of brands. Davis (2010, 328) argues that use of logos make the company very easy to recognize from the others. The logos will make customers either reacts positively or negatively to them. Established companies have logos that many people are conversant with so the people will want to associate more with the logo. Due to the rapid exchanges of information brought about by the technological advancements, the logos of different companies have come to be associated with the perceived quality that they offer. After the bursting of the BP oil rigs, the company has come to be associated with uncontrolled capitalism and most people no longer accord them the respect that they had before the accident happened (Goldenberg, 2011, Para. 3-12).
Logos have also been used so that the companies can help fend off competition. The realization by Starbucks that their good fortunes and that the sales that they recorded were as a result of the logo led to a series of court battles with companies and individuals who were trying to ride on the name (Melewar, pp.37). Melewar further state that Xingbake had acknowledged the strength of Starbucks in the food industry and they wanted to use the goodwill created to beat competition. Logos make companies be known for something they are good at. Being the only visual element of the company people associates the logo with the quality and they will expect quality whenever they see the logo.
In conclusion logos being the faces of the organization they represent must be used as to portray the ideals of the company. The logo parodies can sometimes have an issue to spick with the company regarding the way the company operates or carries out their business. Logo parody is meant to expose those acts by the companies whether national or multinational which have negative impacts on the lives of consumers, environment or any other issues that may be of interest to the parody artist or the general pubic. However, not all logo parodies are done in good faith as some may be sponsored by rival companies to bedevil successful companies. There also acts that have been aimed at making profits for instance Dwyer parody of Starbucks logo (Harold, 2010, pp. 121-122)
Armstrong, P. 2010. Greenpeace, Nestlé in battle over Kit Kat viral. Retrieved on 22nd August 22, 2011 from http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-19/world/indonesia.rainforests.orangutan.nestle_1_sustainable-palm-oil-greenpeace-video-sharing-web-site?_s=PM:WORLD
Casenotes 2007. Copyright law: Gorman and Ginsburg. New York: Aspen Publishers.
Davis, J. A. 2007. Competitive success: how branding adds value. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Goldenberg, S. 2011. BP's oil spill crowd sourcing exercise: 'a lot of effort for little result' Retrieved on 22nd August 22, 2011 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/12/bp-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill-crowdsourcing
Harold, C. 2007. Ourspace: resisting the corporate control of culture. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2007.
Lee, J. 2010. Handling bad PR can be sticky, Nestle finds. Retrieved on 22nd August 22, 2011 from http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/handling-bad-pr-can-be-sticky-nestle-finds-20100325-qzxp.html#ixzz1VlB47Rl9
Rose, M. 1993. Parody: ancient, modern, and post-modern. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993.
The Free Dictionary 2011. Retrieved on 22nd August 22, 2011 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/parody