Does it still fly?

New logo and identity for Dodo by Deloitte Digital

Dodo logo before and after
Dodo logo before and after

Established in September 2001 as solely an internet service provider, Dodo is an Australian owned and operated company now offering a full range of telecommunications, energy and insurance services. These include NBN, ADSL2+ and mobile broadband; home phone; VoIP; mobile phone plans; gas and electricity; and home and car insurance. This is the company’s first major rebrand since its inception, as part of a market repositioning and wide-ranging transformation of its customer experience.

New Dodo logo
New logo

The old logo represented a company known for its unapologetically cheesy ads and chirpy dodo mascot (who could breakdance, might I add). Its colour palette, based on a complementary scheme, was just as unconventional, but it was striking, memorable. I didn’t see the point of integrating eyes into the o’s, though, as it didn’t connect with anything else in the visual identity – not even with the eyes of the dodo mascot itself (below). All in all, the old logo had a playful appearance that was appropriate for the company as well as its budget-conscious target market.

Keeping the skeleton of the old characters, the new logo simplifies things by getting rid of the eyes and sticking to a single, richer shade of purple. Without the eyes, the logo is cleaner, and you have to admit, there is something so gratifying about seeing those four perfect circles in a row. The stems of the d’s have also been refined to look less stumpy, and the result is a logo that’s more polished while retaining the style and equity of its antecedent.

Dodo bird mascot before and after
Dodo mascot before (left) and after (right)

Deloitte has also introduced a new dodo mascot, and it is decidedly the most significant change in this rebrand. The new bird is a more detailed and historically accurate rendition of the real-life dodo. It makes you wonder what the hell the designers of the old mascot were referencing when they created the primary-coloured cartoony version.

I must say, I felt unsettled when I first saw the new mascot. I mean, imagine a friend you’d known for years suddenly changed their face. It would be confronting, right? Part of me thinks that the soul of the old bird still exists in this new one, but on the outside, it’s just utterly unrecognisable. (I probably wouldn’t feel so uneasy if there was never a mascot to begin with.) It doesn’t help that the real-life dodo on which it is based wasn’t the prettiest of birds. However, I think the creative liberties taken in its design strike a good balance between accuracy and cuteness.

Watching the latest ad above, I’m developing more of a liking for the new mascot. He seems like a down-to-earth friend that’s got your back. Compared to the old mascot, he doesn’t overdo it with his personality to the point where you’d roll your eyes. Plus, the animation where he struggles to get off the bean bag is so very cute.

Dodo billboard executions
Billboard executions

Looking at the various brand applications, Deloitte has opted for Gilroy as the primary typeface, a modern geometric sans that capably meets today’s typographical requirements and complements the geometric nature of the logo. Furthermore, yellow is no longer a part of the brand colour palette; in its place is a bright turquoise which links with similar hues in the new mascot’s plumage.

Dodo website home page before and after
Website home page before (left) and after (right)

A new identity for Dodo was a long time coming, and the solution delivered by Deloitte helps take the brand from “cheap and cheeky” to “affordable and affable”. The updated logo feels like a natural evolution of what existed before, looking smarter and bit more dignified in this basic form.

I’m still ambivalent about the mascot, though – not so much about its character, but rather its necessity. Look, I don’t know how effective brand mascots really are. Optus, for example, introduced a brand character in a massive 2013 rebrand, but they have pretty much abandoned it since a subsequent redesign in 2016. St George Bank, on the other hand, continues to feature a dragon mascot, which has been around in various forms for many years. Mascots aren’t for everyone, but if Dodo ensures that its new bird is relatable and engaging to its target audience, then I’m all for it. A pleasing update overall.