Social distancing. Two words together that I predict will make the shortlist for the 2020 Oxford ‘Word of the Year’, an annual competition which celebrates a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest over the last 12 months.

Last year’s winner was ‘Climate Emergency’ and in 2018 it was ‘Toxic’. The chosen word of the year tells us a lot about the time we are living in. The word supposedly reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of a particular year and is deemed to have ‘lasting potential’ as a word of cultural significance.

It's dark. Take me back to 2004 when it was ‘Chav’ – or 2013 when it was ‘selfie’ or better still, 2015 when it wasn’t even a word – it was a [laughing] crying face emoji.

Regardless of whether Social Distancing makes it to the shortlist, it is something we have become familiar with, and maybe sometimes frustrated with…We have to do it, but on occasion, we are also witnessing people not doing it. As governments around the world struggle to convince people to stay home to curb the spread of the coronavirus, brands are stepping up to help. With a logo change.

The cynical in us will obviously feel that this is a brand plug – and to be honest it is. How to stay relevant during this pandemic and act purposefully is front and centre of every marketer’s mind right now. And to be fair, like any business, they need to survive. Pushing the cynicism aside, we cannot forget the influence many brands do have on our way of life and if they can drive the ‘social distancing’ message home, let’s give them the opportunity.  

As it turns out, brands that haven't jumped on the bandwagon with a logo change have found that others have done it for them anyway. Slovenia-based creative director Jure Tovrljan reimagined some of the world’s most iconic logos for this new age of social distancing and here are some of our favourites from Jure. We have also featured a few official ones from the brands themselves and we have even transformed our own logo. Blame our fabulous creative team [crying laughing face emoji – so 2015].

Starbucks [Credit: Jure Tovrljan]

Olympics [Credit: Jure Tovrljan]

Nike [Credit: Jure Tovrljan]

McDonalds Brazil separated the golden arches.

Mastercard [Credit: Jure Tovrljan]

Audi created a social distancing logo for its social media accounts.

LinkedIn [Credit: Jure Tovrljan]

Good Year [Credit: Jure Tovrljan]

Volkswagon separated its V and W.

Our creative team experimented with our own logo.

What do you think? Is changing a logo helpful in the battle to encourage social distancing? Join the debate on our social channels: