Kuala Lumpur’s new brand identity confuses Malaysian ad execs: ‘I thought it was a hoax’

The city of Kuala Lumpur’s new logo and slogan have received a bewildered response from Malaysian advertising executives, with a senior creative saying he thought it was a hoax.

A city of contrasts

KL’s new brand identity was unveiled yesterday by the city’s mayor, who introduced the new slogan, ‘A city of contrasts and diversity” and the words “Exciting, surprising, enticing” beneath bold lettering.

Vijay Anand, the executive creative director of BBDO Malaysia, said he thought the campaign was a “brilliant hoax campaign” to start a debate about how much Malaysians care about the city.



“I really thought it was a brilliant hoax campaign,” he told Mumbrella. “Where they put out a really bad logo, people pour their anger and heart out for it, then they reveal that it’s actually a fake logo which was designed to prompt a debate about how emotional and passionate we are about the city as the main theme.”

“That would have been brilliant. I really thought it was a teaser to an amazing branding campaign. But I’m still waiting [for the reveal],” Anand said.

Rupert England, Singapore-based freelance creative director, commented that he though that the branding work looked like it was the result of an in-house design competition.



“There is simply no way that the person who approved this “brand design” was qualified to do so. Not only does it crap on every design rule ever written, it shows a thorough lack of branding know-how,” he noted.

“There are many exceptional graphic designers and branding experts working in KL. Clearly their professional opinions were not a part of the process that gave birth to this malformed thing. When compared with more considered city tourism branding, KL’s messy multiple-messaging looks desperately dated. In fact, this cannot even be defined as design.”

Pratik Thakar, who spent a stint years in KL during his time at McCann, and is now head of creative excellence for Coca-Cola Southeast Asia, said he felt that the work felt “lazy”, and held up destination branding work for the cities of London, New York and Abu Dhabi as examples of best practice

Pratik Thakar


“I lived in KL for five years – it’s an amazing place. The logo and tagline doesn’t do any justice to this unique city,” he said.

He said that he suspects the logo had been created in PowerPoint, and the ‘City of Contrast & Diversity’ should have been the brief for the assignment, but not the actual tagline.

The words “Exciting, Surprising, Enticing” he described as cliches, and “just ticking the box exercise.”

Thakar pointed out that the city of KL did not have to look far for great destination branding work. “Malaysian tourism has created a great platform in “Malaysia, Truly Asia” he said.

Tony Savarimuthu, co-founder of the recently acquired LHS Merdeka, began with a single word to describe the branding effort: rubbish.



“I love my home city. I’ve lived almost all my life here and have walked the length and breadth of Kuala Lumpur both boy and man. As a KL-ite I’m deeply disappointed that City Hall and our unelected mayor has not been more participative in the process with the people who live and breathe KL.”

“The secret of the city lies in the heart of the people of KL. While he can’t satisfy everyone, the mayor needs to build and lead a common and exciting vision for KL with its stakeholders and reboot the city’s branding.”

“Both the city-dwellers and visitors deserve better,” he said.


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