Founded in 1863 as the National Union Life and Limb Insurance Company to insure Civil War soldiers, the Metropolitan Life insurance company has grown to become a true powerhouse in the business world. A top member of the Fortune 500 Company, and the largest life insurer in the United States, MetLife is sure to dominate the world of life insurance for years to come. One important factor in the growth of the MetLife Company is the distinctive look of their logo. With MetLife’s strong international presence, millions of people around the world are able to recognize the simple blue logo and this sort of brand recognition is invaluable for any company. MetLife has also worked hard to become known in the business world of the United States, supplying health insurance for over 90 of the Fortune 500’s esteemed companies. This kind of brand recognition and supply cannot be understated and anyone who seeks to create a branding empire of their own should consider MetLife’s history.
In 1964 MetLife hired American designer Don Ervin to create its first logo. This logo shows the “MetLife” name in pleasing blue letters next to a highly stylized image that appears to be either M’s or L’s depending how the person looks at it. The blue color of the logo stands for excellence, class and prosperity. These are all traits that MetLife seeks to adhere to in their business dealings. The symbol next to the MetLife name is a clever optical illusion. Anyone who looks at it either sees the M’s and L’s, standing for MetLife of course, or they see a star. This clever image is meant to evoke both a sense of interest in the logo as well as a sense of wonder. This logo has actually remained unchanged for the past forty years. This speaks to the enduring quality of the logo and the high esteem that consumers hold it in. However MetLife, in order to make the company more approachable, did add one major change to the logo that has helped to catapult their name even higher.
In 1985, MetLife made waves by purchasing the rights to use the characters from the famous Charlie Brown comics. Since then MetLife and Snoopy have been inseparable. MetLife actually has 3 airships called Snoopy 1, 2 and 3 that serve to broadcast their brand. On these airships, the Snoopy character is displayed in full color for all to see. The reason for the addition of Snoopy to MetLife is probably quite simple. To give MetLife a warmer image so as to attract more people. Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang is a beloved American franchise and, by using Snoopy on their logo, MetLife cashes in on that adoration.
Why the Logo Works
The reason that the MetLife logo works can probably be broken into two concepts. First is brand loyalty. MetLife has had nearly a century to establish their logo and that kind of stability means that generations of people have come to know and trust MetLife. Second is the use of the famous Snoopy. This beloved character makes MetLife seem incredibly warm and approachable, feelings that are usually not associated with an insurance company. This, in turn, brings in even more customers.