Peacock just hilariously roasted the new HBO Max rebrand

Edited versions of HBO Max and Peacock logos
(Image credit: HBO / NBC)

We're not quite halfway through the year, but HBO Max has already given us a candidate for the most contentious rebrand of 2023. Now just called Max, the streaming platform continues to be mocked online for having to use its new strapline to clarify that it is actually still the home of HBO content.

One big winner to emerge from the debacle is NBC's rival platform, Peacock. It's dramatically upped its street cred with a single tweet poking fun at the controversy. The platform has promised not to follow the same strategy (it may have taken some insight from the best branding books).

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In case you missed the news, HBO Max is now just Max. But to make sure we understand that it's effectively still HBO Max, its new strapline is "The one to watch for HBO"... right. 

The merits of a rebrand are always doubtful when it needs to be explained, making the identity more convoluted than before. But this isn't the only criticism it's facing. Many people are also bemused by the fact that Max has gone and adopted the same brand colours as just about every other streaming platform out there.

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And that brings us to NBC's Peacock. Not missing an opportunity to comment, it's clarified on Twitter that it will not be jumping on the trend by dropping the first half of its own name, much to some viewers' disappointment. The service is named after NBC's logo, which depicts a male peafowl, but dropping the 'pea' would of course result in a somewhat NSFW brand name.

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One short tweet, but it's worked wonders for Peacock's credibility. "Someone in marketing is getting a big, fat bonus this year," one person commented on the tweet. "Where do I send my nomination for tweet of the year?" someone else asked (others are wondering brands started referring to themselves in the first person personal pronoun).

Of course, many rebrands involve a period of transition, and HBO's hope is presumably that the Max branding will soon acquire enough power of its own that it will no longer need the HBO name to back it up, but it still seems a very strange move when HBO itself carries such clout. The decision is almost as bizarre as the new Kia logo (the bad in our piece on the good, the bad and ugly in car logo rebrands).

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.