Corporation's New Logo Changes Everything

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Vol 35 Issue 32

Study: 82 Percent Of Americans Want To Run Over Nathan Lane With A Tractor

PRINCETON, NJ—According to a Gallup poll released Monday, 82 percent of Americans describe themselves as "wanting very much" to run over Broadway and film star Nathan Lane with a tractor, with 60 percent of respondents preferring that a trailer loaded with pig iron be attached to the rear of the vehicle. "These figures reflect a 12 percent rise from last year," Gallup official Tom Ross said. "That's remarkable when one considers that Mr. Lane's cancelled NBC sitcom Encore! Encore! was on the air at that time." Of the dissenting 18 percent of respondents, 11 percent wanted to bind Lane's ankles with a cable attached to the Space Shuttle, and 7 percent wished to strap him to a stone slab and force him to watch The Birdcage for 800 hours on continuous loop.

Man Who Didn't Get Joke Acts Like He Did

LAS CRUCES, NM—Comprehension of a joke involving Jeffrey Dahmer and Lorena Bobbitt was unsuccessfully feigned Monday, when area resident George Browner, 31, laughed along with tablemates at the Steaks Alive! eatery in Las Cruces. "Whoa! There you go," said the confused Browner, offering an intentionally vague response to what he suspected may have been the joke's punchline. "You got that right." Browner added, "Well, she's sure crazy enough to do it," making his non-comprehension all the more obvious.

God Legally Changes Name To Jake Steele

CINCINNATI—In an unprecedented image makeover for the eternal deity, universal creator God legally changed His name to Jake Steele at the Cincinnati Municipal Courthouse Monday. "Let the word ring out across Heaven and Earth," said Steele after obtaining documentation of His new moniker. "I shall now be known as thy Creator, Jake Steele. And thou shalt have no other Jake Steeles before me." In the wake of the change, the Vatican has announced that the Lord's Prayer will now begin, "Our Father, Jake Steele, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy new name." The decision was reportedly prompted by the former Jesus Christ's changing of His own name to "Shane Chance Steele" in July.

Report: Some Americans May Not Work In Offices

EVANSTON, IL—Despite strong evidence to the contrary on television sitcoms and in USA Today, a Northwestern University report released Monday claims that some Americans do not work in office settings. "The non-office-employed worker, long thought to be a fanciful creation from the realm of business fiction, may actually exist and walk among us," said Tim Irving, professor at Northwestern's Kellogg Business School. "Many offices, for instance, receive materials from outside, such as mail and food. While these items are undoubtedly produced in other offices, the people who bring them from one office to another do not necessarily appear to have an office of their own." It has been further theorized that, given the existence of jobs outside offices, workers may exist who do not wear business suits.

Strapping Young Man To Address Congress

WASHINGTON, DC—Congress will receive a visit later this week from strapping young man Johnny Armstrong, Beltway sources reported Tuesday. The robust, corn-fed 20-year-old is expected to discuss numerous key issues and impress legislators with his sturdy frame and genial, easygoing manner. "What a fine young man," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said of the all-American boy with the winning grin. "Johnny Armstrong gives me hope for the future of this nation." "I don't know what he is going to speak about," Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) said, "but what a charming, handsome young fellow--much better than the pale, uncharismatic sort we usually get around here."
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Corporation's New Logo Changes Everything

INDIANAPOLIS—Responding swiftly to a 60 Minutes piece exposing its longtime use of child labor in Malaysian sweatshops, Fortune 500 consumer-goods manufacturer United Home Products unveiled a brand-new logo Tuesday.

"After the 60 Minutes story aired, we received a lot of tremendously helpful feedback regarding our staffing policies at some of our facilities in the Asian sphere. And after listening to you, our customers, UHP saw it was time for a change," said CEO Dale Schwantes, gesturing toward the red, white and blue logo. "And here's that change, America!"

"If you thought you knew UHP, look again!" Schwantes added.

While the business practices of UHP, the nation's fifth largest manufacturer of household consumer goods, will remain unchanged, the introduction of the new logo signals "a brand-new corporate philosophy and an entirely different way of doing things."

The decision to be "a whole new company" came as a result of the Aug. 5 airing of an exposé on one of UHP's toaster factories in Songkhla, Malaysia. The report featured footage of 12-year-olds laboring at dangerous machines in unventilated, overcrowded rooms for $5 per week.

Faced with boycott threats from angry human-rights groups, UHP executives decided a major company overhaul was in order. The next day, UHP's old graphic-design staff was fired and a new 14-member team was brought in.

Children make serving trays in one of United Home Products' Asian factories.

"America spoke, and we listened," said Schwantes, reading from a UHP ad slated to appear in next week's issues of Newsweek and Time. "We've got a whole new look... and a whole new outlook!"

Deeply committed to change, Schwantes made certain that the overhaul extended to the entire corporation, and it did: Not only was the new logo placed on all UHP products and packaging, but also on company letterhead, internal memos, embroidered employee polo shirts, and the marble edifice in the front of UHP world headquarters.

"The public made it clear that it didn't want to support a brand it associated with a cold, gigantic corporation that exploits Third World child labor," said Mark Ingersoll, head of DesignOne, the San Francisco-based graphic-design firm that created the new logo. "So we totally did away with that harsh, 'corporate-looking' lettering and went with a friendlier, more inviting font with a little more warmth and visual flair."

"It sort of brings to mind the old country store on the corner, doesn't it?" said Ingersoll, who has worked on logo redesigns for, among others, Western Federated Electronics, GenCorp Amalgamated and Global Tetrahedron. "The color scheme is very cozy, but it still conveys confidence."

Ingersoll said his design team went through "literally hundreds of ideas" before settling on a classic red, white and blue motif for the logo. Among the ideas considered was "UHP" in a child's handwriting in crayon superimposed over a pair of small handprints, but the idea was nixed when focus groups said it reminded them of the 12-year-old Malaysian factory-laborers.

Thus far, public response to UHP's transformation has been overwhelmingly positive.

"This logo brings to mind the comfort of hearth and home," said Margaret Talmadge, a Valdosta, GA, homemaker. "It suggests the warm, inviting arms of a trusted friend."

"It's a major improvement," Rochester, NY, forklift operator John Spillman said. "Seems like they've really turned themselves around."

A handful of skeptics, however, are not convinced that UHP has changed its stripes.

"We're definitely taking a wait-and-see approach," said Julianne Foyer, president of the Coalition of Concerned Consumers. "UHP has changed their logo in response to complaints before, only to go back to the same old original design within a year. Why should we believe that the logo will truly be different this time?"

In the past decade, UHP has changed its logo several times. In 1992, when an internal memo from then-CEO Robert Randolph about setting limits on minority hiring was accidentally leaked to the public, the company incorporated a pair of black and white shaking hands into the logo. In 1994, a new green logo featuring a tree coincided with the company's printing of 800,000 "We Care About The Environment" pamphlets and the relocation of several tons of toxic runoff to offshore storage facilities.

But according to Schwantes, the new logo and new commitment to people is "here to stay."

"United Home Products is not the same old company," said Schwantes before handing reporters complimentary vinyl cell-phone holders bearing the new logo. "Take a chance on change: Trust UHP."

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