A Bad Case of Transition Branding – C&E becomes AUCE

Have you seen these banners on the streets or maybe received an emailer? Take a closer look…

C&E becomes AUCE


C&E is made up of all dried up branches & AUCE of thriving greenery. What’s your automatic association? C&E is crap! No?

Now read the tagline ” Ism Jadid Li Madin 3arik” ( Which is liberally translated to : ‘New name to a legendary past’).  Don’t you see a contradiction?

How can a some feeble shriveling tree branches represent a glorious past?

Besides knowledge is supposed to be a well rooted mighty tree and now a collection of green bushes, don’t you think?

Someone really went out their way to make AUCE look bad!

Do you know of any other re-branding campaign disasters?

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  1. Liliane’s avatar

    ahhhh I only saw it now here. interesting remark btw! very perceptive


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Yay! my comment scene is alive!


  2. Jo’s avatar

    It’s true what you are saying regarding this campaign. Mainly the Creative Idea & the art direction failed to deliver :) .
    It’s not only “not there” but the scary part is that they are trying to build a brand equity, and the strategy behind this equity is to build on the prosperous past. They don’t need that, they only need a new brand.
    AUCE or CBQW, it doesn’t matter what you were, it’s where you want to be. If they chose this direction, i think they would have delivered.
    And yes, they need an agency…quickly.


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Jo Good point. Let us expand on this – let us think for a second, why would a fresh university who is the market less than 6 years rebrand, when people are only starting to know about it. I mean they’ve only had like 3 graduations. And I can imagine their graduates now going to interviews and no one has heard of neither C&E nor AUCE… It’s a disaster…

      And I completey agree with you – the way I would have done, if it seemed absolutely nesseccary, was put some slogan that empahsizes on growth and the future… not the past…

      The name doesn’t change who you are, you do!


  3. Patrick Semaan’s avatar

    Its really bad, it certainly was made in-house, not an agency could of done that. No art direction nor creative direction. The layout and alignments are off too..

    Its like saying (from the visuals) that the past was dead and all dried up and only now with the new name that it grew a little.


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      I guess they have an inhouse designer on a rampage. Either this or the CEO meddles in everything and he just had this concept and insisted on it. I have heard that this University is a one man show.


  4. Jo’s avatar

    There might be many reasons darine.
    Strategic planning for a university is a tricky subject, such it depends on alot of attributes, but mainly the education.
    I think maybe they are getting new majors (brands) into their portfolio & they need to change the image of a brand that use to deliver X & now delivers Y.
    God, the more i think about analysing this, i trully believe that this transition was given the effort of 10 minutes, including Bacon.



    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Certainly, even LAU has gone through a rebranding through its life cycle…
      7 years ago we had a university boom, new universities popping like crazy and after like 3yrs they started rebrandig and renaming themselves… talk about long term strategy and brand equity.


  5. Jo’s avatar

    in my opinion, the university that will make it to the next level is AUST.
    Great location & major selections. They need around 10 years & they’ll make it :)


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      On another hand MEU is one of the oldest universities in Lebanon with a really good program, but they do very little Marketing and are hence not so well known. The sad thing is that education these days is about marketing & prestige and not actual education.


  6. Lynn’s avatar

    you are a bit jealous of the booming of this university. u better be!

    and btw Angi Barakat is an AUCE graduate, sosee the link on the banner of this page:
    * Story of true Lebanese Entrepreneurship – Angi Barakat from Graphic Designer to Handbag Brand Creator


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Dear Lynn, It is not a case of jeaulousy, as I do not work in the education industry! The matter at hand is the branding strategy & the nonverbal cues sent out with their corporate message that provide a negative impact. If you have any constructive thoughts / points pointing to the opposite, I would be very interested to hear them :)


  7. BACARDI’s avatar

    I guess the comments up are far from sense, they are rebranding the name only only its not that C&E was bad its becoming a university and receiving a university degree, they are rebranding the name.
    So i guess its the name only that became dead and transfered to become a university by a presidential or cabinet act.
    Campaigns in lebanon is like politics these days if u are at aust then u should be against c&e or auce, they did a good job in the ad.


  8. Lynn’s avatar

    u r 100% right Bacardi..
    it is a competition, a fierceful one!
    and when u are afraid to lose, u start talking about others reputation..


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      I am happy at this coincidence of two like minded people coming together to comment at the same time.


  9. BACARDI’s avatar

    Seriously im a graduate from ndu long time ago and do work in the field of advertising and marketing, im stating this so they dont think im a c&e graduate :) i saw the campaign and i thought its a very creative way of rebranding the name and im saying again “rebranding the name” so when they know the difference from rebranding teh content and the name.
    As i said its like politics here we lebanese should fight each other rather then saying its something good we should do better ethically.
    When a tree is dead it doesnt mean it was fruitful but we should say that we planted 5 more trees instead.
    Anyhow its a good branding campaign and the people above should see it in another perspective not in an envy eye.


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Dear Jean Pierre,

      It is indeed also very Lebanese to pull out the ‘bias’ and ‘jeaulousy’ card in the absence of a good argument ‘for’.

      Do you believe that one should voluntarily associate his brand with negative connotations, like death, weakness, destruction… as opposed to flourishing , prosperity, & stability? Would you risk sending negative messages about your brand to potential customers, no matter how few they are? Would you opt for leaving a weak flang that your competitors might attack? (again I have to mention that I do not work in the educational field)

      And once again let us not confuse talking about the subject and discussing it, with talking at each other.


  10. BACARDI’s avatar

    Dear miss darine let me tell u something i dont work in the education field either and i work in the retail field handling teh advertising and marketing campaigns, since im fond Benentton and it was my major work i can assure u that the best ad campaigns for a retail brand and did create that retail brand iit was benetton, their ads were connected with weakness setruction and opposites, i dont know if u remember but i guess their sales were in the sky after they did the ad the aids sick person then after that the ad of the gulf war in 1991 where they showed a cementary, the ad of the newbornbaby, the wars teh black and whites nuns and fathers ect…………..
    all these ads are based on conflicts and on taboos, on the impossibility of co-existence, on a difference that separates rather than unites.
    Advertsing and branding are not based only on prosperity and stability so for god’s sake dont just give a shallow opinion about something u are so far from.
    Anyhow again i say its a rebranding ad that is based on teh opposites to stress on their new name not on the content.

    If any1 reading this comment please check the link below about the best ads ever done that made a brand sales in teh sky.


    jean pierre


  11. Bilal’s avatar

    Since I’m a C&E graduate *hides face with hand* I can only say that this ad does not deliver anything to people, because in my opinion, C&E is not an essential product as Soha let’s say, no one would really care if C&E became whatever.

    Second, concerning the transformation, C&E has been in the country for more than 30 years, first as an institute, then in 2001 they opened the university in Hadath, so you’re right Darine, people did not get used to the idea of C&E being a university for them to change their brand identity.

    I guess the only question that should have been asked by them is “Do we really need a new brand identity”?

    How do you know that they’re re-branding failed badly, just look at their homepage address at the bottom of the poster, they didn’t even bother to change it to AUCE.




  12. BACARDI’s avatar

    YIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I really hate to argue with such levels seriously, ya jame3aaaaaaa its rebranding of teh name changing from c&e to auce its not brand identity and if teh university is better or worth its changing names policy its called rebranding its not brand identity .


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Jean Pierre,

      Thank you for ‘stooping to our level’ really, you do not seize to amaze me!

      a) Branding, Re-Branding & Brand Identity are interrelated it is obvious
      b)You are not the only expert in marketing here
      c) Retail branding & marketing is quite different from service branding. Yes Benetton have the most amazing ads, that got their names on the top of the news. A great ad that creates ‘agiotage’/buzz/hype, call it what you may, is very different from a WEAK ad that misrepresents that brand and portrays a negative image. You will notice that the Benetton ad never/ever conveyed negative connotation of the QUALITY of their PRODUCT – their clothes. Their ads conveyed their position on the contemporary issues, a protests if you may, that associated their brand with a certain lifestyle, ideology, building up their brand equity… Which is quite contrary to what C&E are doing!


  13. Bilal’s avatar


    C&E is a “brand” as it has been in the country for decades. You cannot change the name of “Benetton” to “Badaboum” (for example) without somehow linking it back to Benetton in a way for people to be familiar with the new name (like getting a new email address, the link between your old email address and your new one is “you”).

    You’re right about it being only a name change, but in this case, C&E American University hasn’t created its identity yet for it to be carried to AUCE, thus, renaming it will only drift people away from it.

    That’s only my opinion, no matter what “level” it was.


  14. Eliane’s avatar


    i guess the idea behind the visual is that C&E is the heritage and history of AUCE, and history can’t be called that unless it is old and that’s why C&E is in brown and looks away, otherwise why they have change the name if the old one still serving the purpose and goes with the expansion?
    in my opinion if a beautiful rose gets old and pail does not change the fact that it was a beautiful rose and same idea applies here, “C&E” the heritage is delivering the torch to AUCE and resting its case.
    and one last thing guys, getting old means becoming wiser therefore AUCE is launching from a solid background and not from nowhere.

    ba3den guys you are forgetting that it”s simply a rename w ma bada kil hal falsafe wil chari3a.

    PS: Mr Bacardi, i totally agree with your argument and the issue of Benetton as i have seen the articles and i like the contradiction in the ideas.


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Eliane, Thank you for your Zen Attitude! That is why women do not start wars, we like concessions!
      Thumbs Up:)
      There is nothing bad in agreeing to disagree!


  15. Eliane’s avatar

    certainly not dear :) but honestly i like the artwork and did not get any negative impression from it dear Darine maybe because women see things positively. cheers


  16. BACARDI’s avatar

    Exactly its renaming ma bada hal falsafeih its doesnt have to interfere with the content of the university or college to being good or bad they just renamed it and changed to being a university.

    Just i want to mention something again and again i say that Advertising is not only based on prosperity ads and flourishing cases its also the opposite and thats why i gave the Benetton example.

    As for mr. Ayash up some ideas just pump up and need less then 10 minutes to click and ma bada falsafiyet.


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      My Parents taught me the most valuable lesson: “If you can not add value to the conversation, while maintaining your INTEGRITY don’t. Shouting out the loudest, doesn’t make you right! It just makes you rude!”

      I wish you internal harmony!


  17. Raed’s avatar

    one last comment before i leave, i was just checking the first comment made by someone really shallow and need some history and moral lessons (forgive my language) and it really pissed me off, the smart one up saying “How can a some feeble shriveling tree branches represent a glorious past?”, just a reminder Mr smart that ruins of Baalbeck are bunch of stones but it does represent a glorious past, right? the Government of Lebanon made a huge investment to maintain the Roma baths discovered in the central district of Beirut (in case you haven’t notice them) to remind the Lebanese about their history and heritage, so the effect made on C&E made it look old and not “Crappy” as you said and about the bushes my dear, these bushes came from the roots of C&E which by the way you just said it’s crappy.
    Get a life “Smart”

    sorry guys but i just noticed that this smart guy has launched this argument on such a shallow bases and waisted our time, i’m going to have a drink now take care.


    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      Raed, you are right, great things withstand the test of times, they age with grace, and maintain their grandeur… I do not know how you can compare the Roman baths, or the temple of the Sun to an “INdesign” Ad done in a blink of an eye in comparison to our ancestor’s years of hard work! Do you consider it part of our National Heritage…?

      An old Tree can be great, and doesn’t need to be shriveled and dried up, and same goes to the new out-spurts…

      And I am sure time will settle our argument… Baalback temple remains while the straw house of the first piglet was blown out of existence by the big-bad-wolf of reality! Please do bash at me when this ad campaign wins a prestigious award, if it ever does!

      Thank you for contributing your opinion.


  18. BACARDI(Jean Pierre Keyrouz)’s avatar

    I will tell u another lesson ive learned from my parents
    “Every positive value has its price in negative terms… the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.”

    “Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.”



  19. Fred Shadian’s avatar

    In keeping with the tradition of middle eastern culture of “agree to disagree”
    Well i would have to “agree” the poster has no motivational pull or attraction quality, died branches have no connection with the ruins of Baalbeck of history and tradition.

    I do “agree” it it creative and very artistic, which is nice Visually.

    Here is a simple strategy to figure out if advertising/branding is effective or not, its so simple that 80% of Branding Experts and so called Marketing Experts miss by being too clever or simply put out to lunch.
    The bottom line: What does this poster wants me to do?
    The answer: i am not 100% sure and neither the person that created it.

    p.s.. no need to be rude to each other, remember to love your neighbor :)


  20. BACARDI (Jean Pierre Keyrouz)’s avatar

    I guess its my last comment on the issue, i guessmr. fred u dont read arabic its obvious from ur family name since half of the ad they made is in arabic. The ad doesnt want u to do anything its just renaming changing their name from c&e to auce no need to buy anything just telling every1 that we are now a university and changed our name thats it.

    “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

    Concerning teh baalback issue up i guess its just an example no need for all this fuzz

    As being rude i can say “A polite enemy is just as difficult to discredit, as a rude friend is to protect.”

    I was raised not to be rude, but I also try to get the best work out of people.



    1. Darine Sabbagh’s avatar

      You do realize that you have just spent your evening defending a “we are changing our name to”? So are you affiliated to C&E or you have nothing better to do than step into logical fallacies and assault people?


  21. Jester theFool’s avatar

    Khay I have more than 140 characters.

    I agree C&E is better than AUCE


  22. Fred Shadian’s avatar

    Mr Bacardi, it seems you missed my point.
    “a new name of an old tradition” or something like that.
    is nice but there is no direction to the poster, no need to buy or sell. give me something to act on. maybe an open house, come and visit us. anything would have been great.

    i do like you little quote ““If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” well said.
    the second part, you might want to consider listening to what people are saying. it seems like its your point is the only point.

    by the way: i was born in Lebanon and i can speak & read arabic, english, italian and spanish. I make my living marketing online and creating networks. I do lectures across canada, usa, central and south america.

    wishing you the best is the only wish i have for you.


  23. Fred Shadian’s avatar

    Mr Bacardi by your name you sound like you are from Cuba.


  24. Hisham Sadek’s avatar

    I never saw this banner as I’m Egyptian and not following what’s happening in Lebanon for education but It’s simple .. Maybe It’s a marketing strategy mistake to not follow how others would think of re-branding the name and connecting this with the banner they released ..

    And also The Graphic Designer would have a point of view to show up the changes like that .. Sometimes we fail with re-branding and hurry to fix it ..


  25. Lynn’s avatar

    Mr. Bacardi: ‘I guess Mr. fred u dont read arabic its obvious from ur family name’ what kind of generalization is that?? Excuse me, but since when does being Armenian = not being able to read Arabic?? I know Armenian people who can speak Arabic just as well as you can.


  26. BACARDI (Jean Pierre Keyrouz)’s avatar

    Dear Mr. Fred,

    I will answer back to waht u said only and not teh rest since they think im affiliated to the university or college thats how lebanese are :) if u give an opinion or defend an ad as the case here then im with some1 against the other, i dont know them but i was defending the ad, and i guess the lady up is affliated with some 1 to speak bad of them i dont know i guess its a wild guess.
    Anyhow i agree with what u said but let me tell u teh case here, in lebanon to be a university and to get teh cabinet or president sign u that u are officially a university its in itself something big so this by itself is something big, it takes years of paper work and lobbying to have this signed and start giving a university degrees, so i guess that story in itself pushed them to advertise the matter that they are a university now and changed their name and they did it in this matter and they are just shouting out loud they we have another name thats it.

    Miss darine if u consider what i said is assualting people then think again cause i didnt and welcome to taugh world “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” :)



  27. Fred Shadian’s avatar

    Thanks Jean Pierre

    good explanation and nice feedback.



  28. Walid’s avatar

    well welll well

    1st i want to mention that m an accountant :)

    now i can mention that i like to check the new advertising on the street and evaluate it

    and from a simple personal perspective i look at the ad to see how much thesive and if he producer was impres was able to deliver his idea in the right and amusing way

    now for this campaign i have many questions like 1st why the hell they wanted to change the name

    some of u don’t know are saying they are rebranding the name not the content or whatever

    for me this is not the issue, the issue is y they want to change the name

    u said it is bcoz they are now a university, now so what ??/

    so if I amm “let us say B&B” and i have an elementary school then I started giving high school classes then a college or institute and then UNV

    so does that mean that i should rename my self 4 times as a celebration for being all this stuff :SSS::S

    i dont know how long C&E has Existed but they already have the name so y change it

    If I were a student, how can i convince my dad to let me go there, what m going to tell him

    i want to go to AUCE and he will say what is AUCE and ill tell him a story about that it was C&E & now it is AUCE he will definitly ask y they changed the name :S:SS:

    they r making a marketing campaign so they need people to understand and believe their ideas and trust them

    how can i trust some one who has doubt swith his name and has changed it :S:S:S

    i just need an answer y they changed it

    with the whole campaign they made and it is about the root bla bla bla but they didnt show y they changed the name

    so in my opinion a well known name has been changed to another name just bcoz they r a university now

    let us c how parent think

    one of the people that comment on this issue he said that he is from C&E he can argue with me about what im going to say

    i imagine a well known school and I am studying in it, my parents and me would wish for this school to grow and have a university license in the future so i can join “m i right”

    but when they r done and they had the possibility to be a unv they change the name :S::S:S
    i dont feel it is a nice idea

    and since it is not a good idea to start with, they can’t advertise it well and this is the problem


  29. patricksemaan’s avatar

    There is no argument that this is a name re-branding approach, but the argument (well mine at least) is about the execution of that approach.

    Plain simple, It’s rubish. badly executed. It is something made very quickly. The attention was all given to the fact that they needed to convey the message of grand history for a brighter future to come with a new name, so much that the finishing did not matter at some point.

    Here is how I can explain this when I say the finished product / execution is bad:
    If Audi were to change the name for their revolutionary Quattro system and at the same time convey that this sytem has solid history through achievement and performance and come up. They come up with the concept of showing an old Quattro built car against a newer car model with the new system name on it, would they use an old rusted, dull looking badly finished paint car for the old one? You think? I don’t think so.

    They will use an old model yes but it will certainly be looking good and all polished, so that it represents the old in its glorious time, looking all good because this old model can still perform and achieve pretty well in our days.

    Its exactly the same here in the case of this university. They have used dry, semi-dead dull branches to represent their past which they claim to be glorious and solid…. How can these dull branches represent that much glorry / achievement / past in a good and positive way?

    That is the point I am trying to make and I think what Darine is arguing about. Its not the idea of the campaign, its not the result of it, its not if its succefull or not, its the execution of all these. The brown dry branches were a bad idea, something else could of been done to maintain the level of their vision and what they want to convey. That’s all.


  30. Dany Awad’s avatar

    Umm, it’s bad too bad, maybe it works if C&E is Coca Cola and AUCE is Pepsi for example, i.e a new company took a place of another but not same company that changed the brand name.. It’s only see that C&E suks so AUCE came and replaced it..


  31. Sorry’s avatar

    I’m going to comment on the first post made by Jo and followed by Darine.
    The arguments started because whoever started to analyze this ad did it on a first level. Dried up branches = crap. And Thriving greenery = success.

    The fresh and the green does mean dynamism and freshness and success, it represents the youth, that spirit of leaping into the unknown to achieve you full potential.

    The bushes do mean glorious past. I know that in this plastic surgery age, everything is supposed to look green and lifted, but it kills the genuine side of the individual. From when wrinkles are signs of crap and a failed past, are we supposed to keep on hiding them and pretending we’re young. Wrinkles, dried up, shriveling are signs and marks of an experience and the signs of time and aging, they’re not ugly, they’re beautiful.

    If C&E was still green and fresh , it wouldn’t have a glorious past, it wouldn’t even have a past to begin with. C&E the legacy evolved and gave birth to AUCE, just like a cocoon dies to deliver a beautiful butterfly. The arguments presented above do not make sense, because if so, we need to stop time and no one, or no corporation will age.

    Aging reflects a glorious past, and every now and then it delivers a new born baby to continue it’s path only in a more updated version.

    I don’t think you need to fight more about this, unless you are fighting just to score some points against each other.

    There’s different reading levels in an ad, [comment edited]


  32. Jo’s avatar

    I feel sorry for the above comment.
    if you really think that people are going to analyze this the way you did, then you really have a problem.

    Our comments are based on our expertise in communication & marketing.

    I am an NDU graduate (Adv/Mrk), working in a multinational advertising agency handling P&G business.

    this Ad is Crap and that is a Fact.


  33. Jo’s avatar

    And yes, for the one who is claiming to handle benetton.
    Good for you in adapting creative work & booking the media.
    That’s really smart


  34. BACARDI ( Jean Pierre Keyrouz)’s avatar

    Actuallly i didnt want to answer but i have 2 things that surprisingly my name appears next to teh nick i used here ( magiclly done) and thx to facebook u can now know every1).
    2ND issue i handled benetton not in teh advertising part but actually in operational matters openning new branches and a lot of a complicated issues from making orders ect… but what i did up is that i gave an example that advertising is not only flourishing and smile thats it, if u got annoyed just consider that i didnt put that example, at teh end we graduated from the same university and we do work at a reputable companies but we have different opinions :)

    {comment moderated}


  35. Krikor Ohannessian’s avatar

    What really caught my attention on this ad is nor the old name neither the new one, but it is the website url.

    Getting a new name and going green with your name abbreviation and not changing your website url is just another unintelligent move.


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