It’s the case of independent work that looks similar.
Ever since the Massy Group, formerly Neal & Massy, launched its rebrand—complete with a new logo—on Monday night, the company has been facing a barrage of criticism on social media from loyalist customers annoyed that some of their iconic local business places have been corporately renamed, but also an allegation that the Massy Group may have plagiarised its new look.
But group chief executive and president Gervase Warner has dismissed any claims that Massy’s new design is a rip-off of any other.
“This is something where two designers came up with similar designs around the same time. The infinity or butterfly design (on which the company’s new logo is based) is something that will occur naturally when you combine N and M—and it was important to us that we incorporate the N from Neal in this new look,” Warner told the Express yesterday in a telephone interview.
The new logo was designed by Canadian firm Blammo, and Warner said the Massy Group has trademarked it in the territories in which it operates.
“Our logo has been trademarked and when we did the search during that process, nothing came up. We are convinced that any similarity with this and another logo is a genuine case of two people coming up with a similar concept independently. Now what we have to do about it is we have to make sure ours is protected,” he said.
The logo in question is a prototype presented as an option for the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland. The similarities were first highlighted in a blog post by local designer Nicholas Huggins, which has been making the rounds on social media. Both logos feature that straight-lined infinity/butterfly effect from the N and M combination. Huggins also noted that the logos have similar fonts.
“Our research suggests our designers did have working designs of this logo before that one was presented,” Warner said, although he noted that Massy’s logo was presented late 2013, around the same time as the Warsaw Museum option; that logo is, however, not the official logo of that organisation. Warner said Massy was “pretty convinced this is independent work that looks similar”, although they were “quite aghast” as well to see the comparisons.
“We are doing research legally and otherwise. We most certainly don’t believe it is plagiarised and plan to do a more global registration and will protect our design in other territories. We did not copy anybody and we actually prefer our design,” he said.
The logo is not the only thing Warner has had to defend since the company took the bold step of rebranding one of the most well known and biggest corporations in the region.
“The four questions I keep getting since Monday are: Why rebrand? How could you drop Neal? How dare we drop HiLo? And did you plagiarise the logo? We will continue to answer all these questions through the mainstream and social media,” he said.
Regarding HiLo, Warner said he understood the attachment people had to the iconic brand, and other territories also had similar issues.
“We in Trinidad are thinking about HiLo; in Barbados it’s Supercentre; St Lucia, SuperJ’s—everybody is attached and for a long time we stayed away from touching it. We wanted, however, to pick an independent name (represented throughout the region). We know that it will be controversial so we’ve gone out of our way to make sure shoppers enjoy more benefits. We also have the Massy card that they can use to get in-store credit and points throughout the group,” he said.
Massy hasn’t changed HiLo, he said, but has now added a whole new set of offers that the company hopes customers will enjoy, and eventually come to appreciate.
“It’s so great the fact that (customers) are so connected to the brand. We are not messing with it, but doing something to deliver more value,” he said.
See Page 12 Opinion