Last month CBS launched a whole new rebrand. It’s a visual rebrand with a new audio logo that sets the tone for the animation. These kinds of rebrands are not uncommon, especially for a brand as old as CBS, but in this case, it sounds like they’re doing it for the right reasons.
“I wanted to create a deeper emotional connection to the brand and create that experience so it works across every single customer touchpoint.”
-Mike Benson, CBS President and Chief Marketing Officer
It pairs very nicely with the new visual component. The melody was designed to match the pace and feel of the “This is CBS” voiceovers of the past. This is a very smart move. It gives some structure and meaning to the piece rather than relying on a random and arbitrary structure. I also like that they went with a reasonably timeless sound. When you’ve been around for over ninety years, this is kind of essential.
This was designed to unite their entertainment, sports, news, and studio sub-brands, which was a very smart move. So much diversity of content could create confusion, or at least a lack of uniformity. This audio logo is simple and strong enough to tie them all together without feeling like a compromise. That subtle opening crescendo is also a nice touch. Audio logos often benefit from having some sort of built in transition or sonic palette cleanser. Intel’s audio logo has been doing this for decades.
The melody draws strength from its simplicity. They resisted the temptation to make it into a grand production, and instead created something that is accessible without feeling weak. At the same time the subtle harmonies give a little more colour and texture to the presentation.
This one’s clearly built with the long-game in mind. It’s very clean and simple. It’s not going to stand out to the average viewer/listener right away, but it’s strong enough to work its way into the public consciousness long term.
I’ve been very critical of a lot of modern audio logos in this regard. More and more big brands are adopting audio elements and strategies, but a lot of them are starting to sound the same. This one doesn’t necessarily jump out at you, but it doesn’t sound like anything else either. Again, assuming they have a long-term strategy, it will eventually stand out by reputation.
The new CBS audio logo is very strong, and it draws its strength from its simplicity and its timelessness. I look forward to seeing it grow both in terms of its application and its place in the public consciousness.