'Larry,' Quaker of Oatmeal Fame, Gets a Makeover

Decode a Marketing Message: The Quaker Oats Logo

The Wall Street Journal

The rosy-cheeked, white-haired man smiling out at you from the Quaker Oatmeal box is getting a haircut, losing some weight and dropping about five years from his age.

Known among insiders as "Larry," the venerable Quaker man on the logo is getting a makeover as part of a wider effort by owner PepsiCo Inc. to reinvigorate the brand globally. It hopes to keep the 134-year-old brand "fresh and innovative," says Justin Lambeth, Quaker's chief marketing officer.

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Consumers associate the logo and brand with heritage, trust, and quality, says Patrick Rowell, director of strategy for Hornall Anderson, Quaker's brand-design firm. And today, people associate oatmeal with "energy and healthy choices," he says.

To signal these qualities in the logo without losing a sense of history, Hornall Anderson made small adjustments. (The firm won't say how much it was paid for the revamp.)

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Larry now shows his shoulders, making him seem stronger and more vibrant, says Michael Connors, Hornall Anderson's vice president of design. Trimming his hair makes him look lighter and his neck longer. "It's the same neck," says Mr. Connors, but the haircut "makes him look thinner."

Hornall Anderson also removed his double chin and smoothed the rolls and plumpness in his face and neck. "We took about five pounds off him," says Mr. Connors.

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Quaker didn't want to make him look too young, so he still has crow's feet and "a little sparkle in his eye," says Mr. Connors

The color red is prominent in the new logo. Two blocks in slightly different tones form the backdrop. The shift in shades "adds a sense of movement," says Mr. Connors.

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The logo's new shape, and a band of gold along the bottom chevron suggest "a seal of quality" on every box, says Mr. Rowell. They also added "Est 1877" to reinforce a message of tradition, quality and trust.

Subtlety was a primary aim. The "goal is not to have anyone notice that he is different," says Mr. Connors.

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The old Quaker Oats logo (Courtesy: PepsiCo)


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The new Quaker Oats logo (Courtesy: PepsiCo)

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