Metlife giving Snoopy the boot

The beagle has to find a new doghouse: The insurance company said that although he ‘served his purpose at the right time,’ the brand is heading in a new direction.

After 31 years of faithful service, MetLife is firing man’s best friend.

“Peanuts” character Snoopy has appeared on the life insurance company’s marketing materials, including a prominent presence in commercials and on blimps. On Thursday, the company announced that it’s heading in a new direction.

MetLife’s rebranding effort highlights the company’s new focus on customer experience, according to its jargon-laced press release:

“To adapt to our changing world, we are re-thinking how we do business. We are moving away from a traditional product-development model to one driven by customer insights,” said Steven A. Kandarian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc. “Our new brand reflects our company’s transformation and differentiates us in the marketplace, ultimately driving greater value for our customers and shareholders.”

To remove the complexities traditionally associated with insurance, MetLife is making substantial changes to its customer experiences. The MetLife brand refresh will ultimately impact all customer touch-points from the website to customer service to its sales process to ensure a more focused, simplified interaction.

Instead of the cartoon beagle, MetLife’s revamped logo is a simple green and blue letter “M.” It will accompany MetLife’s new tagline: “MetLife. Navgating life together.”

Here’s what the MetLife had to say about its new look, via its press release:

“We are embarking on a journey to upend the long-entrenched norms of the insurance industry. We are focused on humanizing our industry and designing every customer experience to reflect the modern company we’re becoming,” said Esther Lee, global chief marketing officer of MetLife. “Throughout our nearly 150 year history, we’ve always played a very important role in our customers’ lives. Today, we’re evolving our brand to express this important role – our noble purpose – to be the trusted partner to help our customers navigate their changing worlds.”

MetLife’s new visual branding is built around a clean, modern aesthetic. The striking new brandmark brings contemporary blue and green colors together in a symbol of partnership to form an M for MetLife. The iconic MetLife blue carries forth the brand’s legacy, but has been brightened and now lives alongside a new color – green – which represents life, renewal and energy. The broader MetLife brand palette expands to include a range of vibrant secondary colors, reflecting the diverse lives of its customers.

In simpler terms, Snoopy doesn’t cut it as a symbol of professional leadership. Lee told Bloomberg:

We have a lot of affection for Snoopy. He’s rated very high as a good friend and on approachability. Where he didn’t rate as high is things like, as a leader, keeps promises, is a good adviser.

Lee continued that although Snoopy has helped MetLife seem more “approachable,” the beagle doesn’t fit in with the company’s new focus on employer-sold insurance coverage:

The decades ago, “the industry back then was seen as really cold and distant, and when we actually hired the Peanuts characters to represent the brand, it was a way to become friendlier and more approachable, so it made a lot of sense,” Lee said. “He really served his purpose at the right time when he was launched, and now the question is how do we find an expression of the brand that’s more in keeping with the company we’re becoming.”

The breakup will cost Snoopy an estimated $12 million per year, Forbes reported:

Publicly-traded brand management company Iconix owns 80% of Peanuts, with the remainder controlled by the family of Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts. Thanks to an estimated $95 million in revenue generated by the brand in the last year, Schulz’s estate pocketed some $48 million pretax, according to FORBES estimates.

The loss of MetLife’s estimated $12 million deal will cause Peanuts’ revenue to drop some 13% next year. Schulz’s afterlife earnings should decrease accordingly, especially when the merchandising bump from 2015′s The Peanuts Movie disappears.

What do you think of the rebranding move?

(Image via)

Topics: PR

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