Um, Pardon Me, But You Seem to Have Borrowed the Amazon Logo

By  |  Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re one of the few regions of the country that’s got choice when it comes to cable TV and cable broadband. There’s a great big company that does it–Comcast, I think they’re called–but a little company called Astound is also in the game. I’m used to seeing Astound trucks around town, carrying this non-descript logo:

But I just saw one of the company’s trucks zip by, and it carried an all-new logo. Which looked like this:

I can’t imagine anyone seeing that and not thinking what I thought: “Good God, that looks almost exactly like the logo!”

The smiley-below-the-name idea is nearly identical. The typefaces are very close. The use of orange is similar. And the names of the two companies aren’t exactly radically different. They’re about as close as two logos can be without being the same logo.

In fact, they’re so eerily similar that I wondered if Amazon had bought Astound. Nope, as far as I can tell: Astound is part of something called WaveDivision Holdings.

I’m not a trademark attorney, but I do know this: If I were, and Astound’s logo isn’t somehow used under license, I’d be nonplussed. In fact, I might get all frowny over it:

Looking on the bright side, though, if the companies ever merge, the rebranding would be a cinch. Here, I’ll do it for ’em right here and now:

Or, conversely:

That was easy…



5 Comments For This Post

  1. Alex Says:

    I think the “smile” in amazons logo is supposed to signify that they have everything from A to Z hence the arrow. But yes, they do appear to be similar in nature.

  2. Dave Mackey Says:

    Like the time Fred Flintstone invented a glue that had been on the market for many years, it’s not the first time someone else came up with someone else’s clever logo. You probably remember the flap when NBC “borrowed” its abstract “N” logo from Nebraska Public Television. There was quite a settlement involved, IIRC. This was some 30 years ago.

    But there’s one that Technologizer fans will appreciate. Comcast similarly “borrowed” its current logo – and I was working for them at the time of the launch – from one that was being used at the time by a chain of transmission shops, Cottman. Both companies, which are coincidentally based in Philadelphia, had their first letter “C” haloed by a crescent-shaped “C”. I’m surprised Cottman never took legal action.

    Cottman has since changed their logo – it relocated that same big crescent “C” to the middle, slanted it, and changed the typeface of the company name. Comcast’s logo remains the same.

  3. Randy Says:

    Strangely I saw the smile as also looking sort of like a spear from sort of aboriginal tribesman… I didn’t see the a-z, go figure. Maybe they were going for the triple entendre

  4. Harry McCracken Says:

    In the case of the Amazon logo, I think they do indeed mean to have it read as both a smile and an arrow. With Astound, the smile appears to just be a smile…

  5. emoticon Says:

    astound needs to hire less lazy marketing.

    i just got a package from amazon today – saw logo on box and was like this looks familiar, then passed by my astound stuff – it’s almost as cheap as their crappy cable service.

    but nowhere as bad as their ad campaign where they impose the astound-smile onto people (who are usually not smiling) – now i associate feelings of deception and powerlessness with astound.

    i too am in the sf bay area – anyone else seen these crappy ads? or better, anyone know where the astound building is and a bag of rocks (preferably sporting amazon logos)?