Okay, look, iTunes and Stella Artois, you can’t just rip off the CBC logo.

Stella Artois steals CBC logo for Recycled-de-luxe campaign

iTunes gift card with something awfully akin to the CBC logo, photo by Lauren March

Dear Stella Artois and iTunes,
There are 30-plus million of us Canadians. Did you think there was a chance that none of us would notice your commercial appropriation of one of our most popular non-commercial national symbols? Why not just put the Canadian flag in your campaign? Yes, we know, Burton Kramer’s 1974 logo for the CBC is a pretty excellent piece of typographic and geometric design, but you know what? There’s hardly a Canadian over the age of 12 who doesn’t recognize this object and harbour a fair amount of nostalgic affection for it, so maybe you will consider removing it from your advertising repertoire. Maybe go steal the NBC peacock or something.
Yours sincerely,
Photo credits: CBC logo photos and video are via the Canadian Design Resource, and see the CDR’s article on the appropriation here. Even balder appropriation of the logo in the Stella ad’s designer’s own artwork here. iTunes photo by laurenlgmarch.

CBC logo by Burton Kramer, on billboard

CBC logo by Burton Kramer, animated for TV

CBC cars, 1970s

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5 Responses to “Okay, look, iTunes and Stella Artois, you can’t just rip off the CBC logo.”

  1. Perry Says:

    Interesting (re: stella ads)…it does look too similar to be an accident. I wonder where the designer got the idea from?-whether from an art director or herself. Her work is too top notch to be appropriating from a well know logo.
    She’s here:

    In addition to the CBC logo rip on the itunes package there is also a reference to the Bahamas campaign that Duffy & Partners did.

  2. LB Says:

    Perry, Thanks! It’s weird, isn’t it… you’d think a designer would want to respect another designer’s work. Burton Kramer was pretty famous for designing this logo, but he and the CBC are completely uncredited here (and I’m sure unpaid by Stella Artois). What was the designer thinking? I’d like to know if she knew it was the CBC logo and didn’t tell Stella or the ad agency Mother London. How can it have gone from her, to the agency, to Stella, without this coming to light? Did they know what it was and assumed it would be okay? A deliberate advertising gimmick? I find the whole thing quite bizarre.

  3. kgirl Says:

    thieving bastards!!!!

  4. Sharon Says:

    It’s funny, I recently travelled overseas and although I refused to be one of those Canadian-flag-toting-tourists (I am Canadian however), I proudly donned my “Nature of Things” t-shirt and flaunted my 1974 CBC logo key chain, knowing full-well that these things made me more Canadian than any patch stitched to a backpack. The CBC logo is an iconic Canadian symbol although, sadly, only recognized by Canadians and Canada-lovers. It’s like the emblem of the secret, Canada club. And clearly iTunes and Stella Artois are ignorant of that club. Either that or they assume Canadians are too “nice” to call them on their design thievery…

  5. LB Says:

    Sharon, my latent CBC nationalism came as a surprise to me too, most anti-nationalist of anti-nationalists. But actually I think it’s more that it’s a public, shared non-commercial symbol being so casually used for consumerist profit that bothered me the most!

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