The emotional viral video that started this whole mess.
If you read the article I wrote yesterday about the controversy surrounding the failed protein infused frozen yogurt company YoPro, you’ll remember that in the midst of YoPro’s $20 million dollar lawsuit against Loblaws, a scorned designer has emerged who says she created the YoPro logo and got fucked over by these frozen yogurt barons. Well, Amanda House, the co-creator of YoPro, was not very pleased with that article. In a comment, she wrote: “Shane O'Brien designed our logo in 2005 (as he noted in his post on our FB page), and we have also worked with Tamara Pettman and bcreative solutions. These people worked so hard on developing the graphics, photography and branding for YoPRO, I want to ensure they get the recognition and credit they deserve.” Ok, Amanda. Let’s see what they deserve credit for, then.
I spoke to Shane O’Brien a couple of times over the phone today and he sent me all of the working files that he used to create a version of the YoPro logo in 2005. You can see his package designs below.
Shane's original designs.
When compared to the actual, final version of the logo that a designer named Allison Choppick says she designed, the version that appears on the YoPro website and on YoPro packaging, you can see that there are slight differences between the two. For one, there’s a blue gradient over part of the text that gives it an icy look, and the angle of the “YoPro” text is different from the original. When I brought this up with Shane, he agreed that evidently someone else finalized and polished the original concept that he designed.
The finalized logo on the YoPro website.
Was it Tamara Pettman or bcreative solutions who finalized Shane’s concept? Nope. I called them both. Both parties told me that they were delivered the final logo and that they only worked on web and package branding.
Clearly there is another party involved in this chain of logo design who is not being credited. Was it Allison? Maybe. While she certainly claims the logo is her work, she has not been able to prove it to me with digital working files that she really was the one that finalized the design. She did, however, send me a censored screenshot of an email she sent to Amanda in 2011 after seeing what she says is her design on YoPro packaging in the ice cream section of a Loblaws store.
What is clear is that Amanda House, co-creator of the now infamous YoPro, left out a piece of the story when describing how the YoPro logo came to be. It seems as if she was trying to warp reality into a more convenient situation to benefit her own interests. Amanda is evidently very sloppy in describing YoPro’s business relationships, and if she was sloppy about this, whole annoyingly complicated logo fiasco, then she was probably being sloppy about her description of YoPro’s ill-fated dealings with Loblaws as well.
This afternoon, Loblaws released the following statement after the CEO Galen Weston spent an hour with the YoPro creators: “We acknowledge that mistakes were made. However in the overall context, these were outweighed by the significant effort made by colleagues [at Loblaws] to support the sale of YoPro in hundreds of the Company’s stores in Ontario and Quebec for more than a year. Unfortunately for both parties, the product simply didn't sell well.
YoPro’s claim that we misappropriated the recipe or process for the manufacturing of their product is completely without merit. The manufacturer of Loblaw's PC Greek yogurt is using the same process to make bars for the Company that it has used since the late 1990's - years before YoPro was introduced to Loblaw.”
So there you have it. Sorry YoPro, but your story doesn’t add up. While viral marketing sure can be effective in getting peoples’ emotions drummed up, it really doesn’t do a good job of paving over an illogical recounting of your numerous failures in business. That said, I do have a craving for frozen yogurt right now. Preferably the fatty kind.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @patrickmcguire
Thank you to the VICE Canada design team for their forensic analysis.