Doppelgänger brand image

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"Hacker Inside", a parody of the Intel inside logo

A doppelgänger brand image is a company logo that has been modified in a pejorative manner. Such images are most likely to be spread via social media, or through websites of anti-brand activists such as Adbusters, and are often intended to highlight ethical issues regarding the product advertised.

A 2012 study concluded that doppelgänger brand images were able to negatively affect sales.[1]

In a 2006 paper, Craig J. Thompson, Aric Rindfleisch and Zeynep Arsel suggest that doppelgänger brand images are a sign that "an emotional-branding story is beginning to lose its cultural resonance", and can be useful as a warning symptom.[2]


  • The "Joe Chemo" campaign criticized the product message of Camel cigarettes, and emphasized the harmful effects of smoking, by depicting the company's camel mascot as "a camel who wishes he'd never smoked cigarettes".[3]
  • McDonald's is often criticized because of its harmful effects on human health. To illustrate its negative effect, McDonald's logo was redesigned as "McDiabetes".
  • In 2015, a designer reinterpreted the Pepsi logo to represent a corpulent man. The intention was to emphasize the direct relation between consumption of sweetened soft drinks and obesity.[4]
  • After General Motors launched the Hummer H2 in the mid-2000s, a creative viral Internet campaign called "FUH2" began. This campaign concentrated not only on the brand itself, but also on its owners who were portrayed as savages who cared about style more than the environment.
  • Nike's logo and slogan ("Just do it") appear in several images either altered or adjusted, often highlighting the company's use of sweat shop labor.[6]
  • Following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, several satirical logos reflecting a negative image were born out of a contest sponsored by Greenpeace.[7]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Markus Giesler: How Doppelgänger Brand Images Influence the Market Creation Process: Longitudinal Insights from the Rise of Botox Cosmetic Journal of Marketing, 76, November 2012, S. 55–68
  2. ^ Thompson, Craig J.; Rindfleisch, Aric; Arsel, Zeynep (1 January 2006). "Emotional Branding and the Strategic Value of the Doppelgänger Brand Image". Journal of Marketing. 70 (1): 50–64. doi:10.1509/jmkg.2006.70.1.50. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Joe Chemo: A Camel Who Wishes He'd Never Smoked". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  4. ^ "Designer Makes Fun Of Pepsi, Turns Its Logo Into A Fat Man -". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  5. ^ "John Oliver's 'Make Donald Drumpf Again' Is Really Taking Off". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Nike: Modern Day Slavery". 23 February 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  7. ^ ""We've got a winning logo"". Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  8. ^ Netter, Sarah (2009-10-01). "The North Face vs. The South Butt: Entrepreneurial Teen Undaunted by Lawsuit Threat". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  9. ^ Thompson, Craig J., Aric Rindfleisch, and Zeynep Arsel (2006), "Emotional Branding and the Strategic Value of the Döppelganger Brand Image" Journal of Marketing, 70 (January), 50-64