It's Goodbye to Snoopy as MetLife Rebrands

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It might be the TV special's 50th anniversary, but there will be no Great Pumpkin this Halloween for MetLife Inc. The company unveiled new global branding on Thursday, and it doesn't include the Peanuts gang of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy.

Instead, the insurance firm is opting for a more simple identity, with a new logo and the tagline "MetLife. Navigating life together." MetLife had been using the Peanuts characters in its branding for more than three decades, but it was time for a change, according to Esther Lee, who joined the company as global chief marketing officer two years ago from AT&T. She noted that the brand first turned to Snoopy in 1985 as a way of making MetLife relatable and fun for consumers, who felt alienated by the cold harshness of the insurance industry.

"Now, 31 years later, being friendly and approachable isn't enough," said Ms. Lee. "What [consumers] are looking for, from a company like ours, is a partnership to really help them navigate some of these important times in their lives." In addition, she noted that more than 1,000 other companies use the Peanuts characters in some capacity, so their value is diluted from a branding perspective. MetLife found, through customer research, that few associate Snoopy with its brand.

The new branding push is the first comprehensive rebranding for MetLife in 30 years. It also comes amid other changes. Earlier this year, MetLife announced it would be spinning off its U.S. retail business into a new offering, called Brighthouse Financial.

"We're driving ourselves out of being a sales culture into a value culture," said Ms. Lee.

Credit: MetLife

To develop the new effort, MetLife worked with Prophet on the design. The name now appears in black, rather than blue, in order to differentiate from competitors awash in a sea of sapphire. The company worked for a year to research the best direction for its new business transformation.

MetLife is also working with BBDO Asia and McCann Erickson Latin America on other aspects of the campaign push, and has continued to work with Argonaut, which won lead creative duties last year.

The company spent $55 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media. The new branding will roll out through next year; print ads will begin this week while a TV push is set for later this year.