The New Petco: For Healthy Pets Only!

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Petco began in 1965 as a mail order company selling veterinary supplies, but today it is one of the largest pet-oriented businesses on the globe. They sell small pets like fish and hamsters as well as supplies for dogs, cats and larger animals. Petco is something of a Walmart for pet owners because they have almost everything that you need for conventional and less-conventional pets. Last week, the superstore announced a change in logo design and brand, including a rather questionable addition to the logo.

The old logo was in dire need of change. The puffy, round letters were so last decade, especially when combined with the rounded letters with serifs. The image is cute, however, and I have always liked how the dog and cat are drawn to nestle together. It is a friendly image, one that has been changed only minimally for the new logo design. The colors remain almost identical as well. The real changes are in the lettering, with a new and more modern lower case font, and the tagline.

The old tagline was ‘Where the pets go.’ This is relevant to the company because Petco is one of the few stores that allow customers to bring their pets—all of them. Many people tote their Maltese, but at Petco you can see a cat and even a Great Dane shopping with their owners. Plus, this tagline gives the store a feeling of being ‘pet approved’. This is a little silly; animals don’t care where you buy their kibble as long as it is their preferred brand and flavor. However, many pet brands are at least a little silly. That is simply what sells in this field.

The new tagline on the logo is ‘Where the healthy pets go’ with ‘healthy’ accented with bright blue lettering. I can see where Petco was going with this; healthy living is very popular, and likely as much so for pet owners as other people. However, this could be troublesome for the brand. First, it is a move away from veterinary roots, which is not always bad. Second, Petco sells some conventional animal foods and products which are not necessarily healthy choices, so it seems a little disingenuous, like when McDonalds promotes their chain as a healthy choice. Last, because the company sells over the counter medicines and treatments for animals, many people are there to get products for not so healthy pets. Petco’s logo and tagline seem to exclude a large segment of their consumer base, which is never a good idea.

One interesting fact about this logo is that, while the lettering is skinnier, the animals seem plumper. Was this done so that they look like the overweight pets that are so much more common now? And if so, how does this tie into the new, healthy brand?

The logo design definitely looks better, but I have to wonder if the overall change is right for the Petco brand. The new tagline may hurt the company, although they have a solid enough customer base to take it. However, a bad tagline is a bad tagline, no matter how well your company can withstand the damage. I have a feeling this new brand will not last nearly as long as the old one.