Quaker Oats man gets thinner face, new hairdo and broader shoulders to promote ‘heathy choices’

30 Mar

Owner Pepsi tries to subtly modernize venerable symbol without upsetting longtime customers

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]The Quaker Oats man has undergone a cereal makeover.

The smiling, white-haired man will be sporting a slimmer face, broader shoulders and tamer hairdo.

PepsiCo Inc., which owns the 134-year-old brand, chose to put the sweet-faced mascot on a diet to help consumers associate the products with “energy and healthy choices,” Justin Lambeth, Quaker’s chief marketing officer, told The Wall Street Journal.

They were careful to keep him jolly and inviting — no chiseled cheekbones or Botoxed grimace — but they axed his double chin and gave him a more flattering haircut.

“We took about 5 pounds off him,” said Michael Connors, the head designer of the firm hired to give the Quaker Oats man his new look.

The brand wanted the shift to be subtle; a too dramatic change to a well-known logo has spelled disaster in the past.

When the Gap decided to abandon its trademark blue logo for something more contemporary, fans and design buffs were outraged.

The Helvetica font, which is perceived as utilitarian – the MTA uses it for subway and bus signs – is not seen by many as the most creative choice.

A week after showing off the new logo, the clothing retailer posted a mea culpa and went back to its old look.

In 2010, Tropicana scrapped its redesign after customers complained they missed the old look.

“We underestimated the deep emotional bond” of the brand’s original logo, said Neil Campbell, the president of Tropicana North America. “Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded.”

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