Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s “Alberta War Room” is in search of a new look, after social media users pointed out the newly created agency’s logo was identical to one for an existing software company.
The logo used by the Canadian Energy Centre (CEC), since it launched earlier this month, is identical to that of the large U.S. software company Progress, which has been around since 1981.
Kenney launched the provincially-funded centre to combat what the United Conservative Party (UCP) government calls “misinformation” about the province’s oil and gas industry. It produces advertising promoting oil and gas, while targeting mainstream media and social media critics. It has an annual budget of $30 million.
But how much of that went into the logo is up for debate. On Wednesday, Twitter user Edwin Mundt pointed out the striking similarity between the centre’s shiny new logo and that of U.S. software company Progress.
— Edwin (@edwinmundt) December 19, 2019
After correcting that Progress is an American company, Mundt wrote, “it took me all of three seconds to do a Google search.”
The only big difference is the colour, with the centre choosing a striking UCP blue compared to Progress’s maybe-too-environmental lime green.
Besides that, they’re exactly the same.
Others quickly piled on, particularly questioning how a government-created organization with a large annual budget could mess up so badly.
— Jillian Buriak (@JBuriak) December 19, 2019
omg this is pure graphic designer gold ✨
— Amanda Schutz (@amandaschutzie) December 19, 2019
Do they know where their logo comes from and what is the war room’s media IQ?https://t.co/dS5nd0OHr4
— Sam Bird (@sbird_) December 19, 2019
After the side-by-side comparison began to gain traction on Twitter Thursday morning, Progress responded that they were investigating the matter “immediately.”
Thank you and to everyone who has reached out regarding our logo usage. We have received all of the messages and are looking into this immediately.
— Progress DataDirect (@_DataDirect) December 19, 2019
In a statement to HuffPost Canada, a representative from Progress confirmed that the company is looking into the logo use.
A new look
In the statement to HuffPost Canada, CEC director of content and external relations Grady Semmens said the group is taking steps to replace the logo. He said it was commissioned from marketing agency Lead & Anchor.
“This is an unfortunate situation but we are committed to making the necessary corrections to our visual identity,” said Tom Olsen, the centre’s chief executive officer and managing director, in a statement. “We understand this was a mistake and we are in discussions with our agency to determine how it happened.”
WATCH: Demonstrators sing protest carols as Alberta premier opens “war room.” Story continues below.
Lead & Anchor is a Calgary based marketing agency that bills itself on its website as being driven by “research, assessment and strategy.” Evidently that may not include research into American software companies.
Semmens also noted that Lead & Anchor will front the costs of a new logo. On Thursday, the agency set its website to private.
It won’t be cheap to replace. The current logo is all over social media channels, physical marketing material for the centre and is even painted in a giant mural in the centre’s 1,500-square-foot Calgary office.
As of publication, it is still the profile picture of the CEC’s official Twitter account and all of the logos on the website remain the same.
Calgary …er…. Toronto?
The snafu with the logo brought the attention of another astute Twitter user, who pointed out the logo isn’t the only potential mix-up with the centre’s marketing.
— Alicia H-R (@ahopeross) December 19, 2019
And it is true — look closely at the banner image and you can spot a street sign for Toronto’s Bay Street, as well as the facade of the city’s Old City Hall in the background. The same banner image is used on Facebook.
It’s an odd choice for an organization purporting to promote Alberta to the rest of Canada.
Now what remains to be seen is what the Canadian Energy Centre will choose as its new logo.
Just remember the Canadian flag is already taken!