The eagle is grounded?

There's talk that Barclays is considering dropping its historic eagle logo as part of its £96bn bid for Dutch bank ABN Amro, over fears that the Dutch people may be offended by the bird's Nazi connotations.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010
The very idea reminds us once again of the perils of the globalised world: never mind that the logo has had 317 years on the British high street without so much as a screech of protest. But a brand heading into a new market has to adapt to the visual and linguistic sensitivities of that area, lest they put their foot - or talons - right in it. To take another less sobering example, the Japanese go mad for drinks such as Calpis (read it out loud) and Pocari Sweat, but strangely enough they've yet to take off over here.

But is the mooted eagle move not a case of bald stupidity? Eagle imagery has been used for hundreds of years, by everyone from the native Americans to the United States government, Crystal Palace FC and Olympic ski jumping buffoon Eddie Edwards. Unlike the swastika, which despite its hindu origins has become directly synonymous with Naziism, the eagle is simply a generic symbol of power and majesty, a connotation derived directly from the fact it sits proudly at the top of the avian food chain and looks pretty damn mean.

And that's not to mention one other not insignificant detail: Barclays hasn't even got the gig yet. With the RBS consortium still in the bidding frame, it seems a touch premature for Barclays to be talking of dropping logos. A case of culling their eaglets before they've hatched?

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