Five rebrands - but for what?

The first raft of idents for Five's latest brand update went live this week.

Since its launch in 97 the channel has been steadily moving away from its cheap, smutty image towards a more respectable and accessible channel. The rebrand is the first move from Five's new head of brand and marketing Carl Ratcliff, who came over from ad agency Lowe. Looking at the overall strategy I can't help but feel they have missed a great positioning opportunity. The BBC and Channel 4 are already well established and respected brands, so why work so hard to catch them up? Surely Five would have won more ground by taking a risk and going in the opposite direction. By embracing their cheap image they could have essentially become the TV equivalent of The Sun. Sadly the moment for this move has passed, as a million other channels have entered the market with the advent of cable, digital and satellite. It seems they will now be destined to play catch up for the foreseeable future.

Channel 5's old logos

The use of the circle in the new logo is very on trend right now, but the type has some flaws. the curves in the 'f' aren't reflected in any of the other characters. But the 'v' is the real shocker, the decision to use a leaning character, rather than using a centrally seated letter leaves a gaping hole in the type and brings attention to the wrong areas. It's also an unusual choice to use black and red in the primary palette. Black and red are not often associated with friendly and accessible organisations and creates an odd juxtaposition between the light hearted tone of voice and its delivery.

Overall it's a bit of odd update and it's not immediately clear what the benefits are. Hopefully has it continues to roll out and mature the identity will find its feet.