I thought this was kinda odd: Ken Lewis, the CEO of Bank of America, who either wanted/got stuck with/was forced into owning Merrill Lynch’s herd of brokers, is doing some redecorating.

No, not John Thain’s former office, but rather, he is retouching one of the most the famous logos of the business world over the past 30 years: The Merrill Lynch bull:

The scuttlebutt is that Lewis wants to replace this:




with this:




The logo is probably the best asset Merrill Lynch has going for it! I am not so sure I would be so quick to dispose of that recognizable asset . . .

LogoTales.com notes:

Anybody who is somewhat familiar with the world of business and stock market will recognize this logo instantly. A raging bull makes for a perfect logo for a company that is “bullish on America”. . . The existing logo of the company was adopted in 1974. The logo was designed by King Casey Designs for Marketing, Inc. (now King-Casey Inc). Three years earlier, the company had come up with a marketing campaign “Merrill Lynch is bullish on America” during a baseball World Series. So the designers might have derived the inspiration from that campaign.

Hat tip: TheDeal.com

Category: Corporate Management, M&A, Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

26 Responses to “Say Good Bye to the Merrill Bull”

  1. mathman says:

    It’s more like “bullshit on America” as we find more and more financial mismanagement the longer we look.
    The best logo i can think of (off the top of my head) for any large investment firm, at this point, is a house of cards.

  2. mark mchugh says:

    I agree with mathman. Sure, Merrill has name recognition, but so does Madoff Securities.

  3. matt says:

    I thought it was pretty interesting when JPMorgan pretty much removed all vestiges of Bear Stearns in the combined organization. Within the last year, they have made efforts to differentiate teh Chase and JPMorgan brands, but Bear Stearns just disappeared.

    This is probably for the best, as keeping those names around just reminds us of all the illegal government intervention during this period.

  4. Transor Z says:

    Watched the re-broadcast of the 6/16 Frontline “Breaking the Bank” last night. Covered the Merrill BoA merger story. Not surprising given Lewis’ fixation on a single national brand. What’s the status of Countrywide’s assimilation? Mike in Nola?

  5. wunsacon says:

    Lately, Bank of America seems to place its own logo onto a red background. “Nice.”


  6. call me ahab says:

    a combination of the 2 names might be best- my personal favorite is-

    “Lynch Bank of America”

    or because it is now not just a bank maybe we can shorten it to

    “Lynch America”

    that way we get across the idea that they are not just about banking but have other incredible services

  7. Chief Tomahawk says:

    BR, you should offer Ken Lewis $5k for the Merrill Lynch logo… add it to the Big Picture website!!!

  8. Chief Tomahawk says:

    By the way, yesterday’s tradgicomedy: Larry & Don Luskin rationalizing use of corporate jets for personal vacations by CEOs who’ve received TARP money: “They’re stimulating the economy by employing pilots/crews, etc.” UGH!


  9. Mannwich says:

    Logo, schmogo, branding, schmanding. The only people that believe in this crap having any meaning anymore are the empty suits.

    mathman is correct but I would say the U.S. new logo should be a house of cards. Move over bald eagle. You got company.

  10. VennData says:

    I see “the bull” logo.. as some sort of a era-identifying sock puppet.

  11. km4 says:

    A paper mache statute of Charles Ponzi should replace the wall street bull

  12. Stuart says:

    Wow! Considering the very negative image Bank of America has with much of the public, deservedly so, this would be a horrifically bad idea. For Lewis to propose such a thing…. OMG.

    P.S. not that Merrill Lynch has been a star of good graces in the public’s eye either , but not to the same degree of scandal and corruption as BofA IMO.

  13. PrahaPartizan says:

    A little off topic but it does deal with brand name changes and the stupidity which goes into them. My spouse tells me that Pizza Hut’s advertising people have persuade their corporate overlords that they need to change their image for the 18-34 demographic and they’ve hit on a perfect way to also convey the image that they’re not just a pizza joint anymore. They’re going to call themselves simply “The Hut.” I asked my spouse if they also announced that they were going to change the spelling to “The Hutt” in recognition of the high-carb menu they push.

    On a related note, KFC (formerly of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) wants to convey the message that they’re not just chicken anymore. They’re changing their name to “KGC.” That sounds just like the infamous routine from the “Spinal Tap” movie when the one band member tells the reporter that they’ve changed the volume adjustment to go from 1 to 11 rather than from 1 to 10 because 11 is bigger than 10. “G” is one letter higher in the alphabet than “F” so it’s gotta be better.

  14. cvienne says:

    The allegory of the BULL logo tends to make me think of the venerable “buy & hold” strategy of owning stocks…

    It’s just my opionion that we might be YEARS away from ever regaining a mentality like that (which assumes “stability” & “progression”)…

    I see financial markets as being kind of a shooting gallery over the next few years (maybe longer)…

    Therefore, maybe the BULL should be replaced with a statue a MAGICIAN…

  15. Mannwich says:

    @cvienne: Maybe a picture of David Copperfield should be BofA’s new logo, or maybe all of Wall Street’s.

  16. jc says:

    First the ML Bull goes, then Lewis makes the ML brokers salaried order takers, then Lewis is forced out then his replacement dumps ML – value destruction in action!

    O’Neal, Thain, Lewis they didn’t just destroy ML they crushed it, especially O’Neal, in just a few years he erased every bit of value built up over decades.

    In just a couple years so many american icons have been obliterated, ML, GM,Chrysler, AIG, CITI

  17. Mannwich says:

    Logos mean nothing, nada, zilch, squat, without the actual organizational competencies (e.g. it’s the people stupid) behind it. That’s why I said in an earlier post that it only means something to the empty suits. It’s shallow, vapid, window dressing, if you will. If the organizational competency goes away, it’s all smoke & mirrors. I’ve always been amazed at just how long big, established companies could carry on and be successful while they rot from within, but that’s what ultimately happens to most of our big companies over time, most of which I attribute to the “churn & burn” mentality at these places. The employes are all just numbers on a spreadsheet to manipulated at the whims of corporat execs so that they can fatten their own paychecks, even if it means hiding the plethora of hidden costs that ultimately bring down the firm in the end. Most of them are long gone by then with their pockets full, so why should they care? What we have in this country is a complete vacuum in real leadership everywhere we look. Real leaders don’t just look out for themselves. I think that’s been forgotten in this country.

  18. nebyarg says:

    Good logo, lousy reputations… How ’bout “Bank of Bull”!

  19. cvienne says:


    How about a motto to go with the name…

    “Merrily Merrilly Merrily Merrily Lynching America…Life is but a dream…”

  20. Jeff,

    I hear your explainations of what is/has seemingly occurred in Corporate-landia US, but, take a peek at jc ‘s post, above yours, see O’Neal, and, similiarly, Thain..

    that cat’s reality is on different vector than you describe–true Blackguards–Pirates, they be..

    it is, to me, beyond, simple “selfishness”..

  21. Christopher says:

    BOA….perhaps they should with a big snake logo…..coiled tightly around a small sheep….

  22. cvienne says:

    Maybe they just need to put Obama’s face on it…(he seems to like his face on everything)

    …and while GM is at it, they might as well design Obama head hood ornaments & hubcaps…

    …let’s see, what’s next…the NBC peacock?…or I’m sure he would fancy himself as the new “NBA guy” on that logo if the leagues franchises get distressed and need a bailout (as they probably will)…

  23. philipat says:

    Speaking from experience, in any merger, the most difficult part is aligning cultures and bringing on board the folks from the aquired Company. Changing the name and logo to BOA would make it that much more difficlt to do as it would alienate the Merrill folks and ensure that they feel like second class citizens. If it is essential to change anything, and I personally don’t think it is for reasons other that ego, the correct approach would be to start again with a new Corporate identity and launch an internal PR Campaign around it on the basis that this IS a fresh start and all are equal, irrespective of which Company they came from.

  24. gloppie says:

    Logos are extremely relevant, “marketing-wise” that is, as in the necessary conditioning of the heard of sheeples out there.
    Now, sophisticated investors on the other hand will do their homework and tend to disregard the brand and seek the substance. That is a good thing.
    The entire FIRE industry could aptly be visually represented by a subset of the well established, albeit unpopular and as such a bit elitist (read nerdy) J R “Bob” Dobbs, the figurehead of the Church of the SubGenius.
    If you don’t know Bob, do your home work, you will become a different person (I did not say better).
    OTOH, you may have spotted the blue hand and already have dismissed me. Good for you !
    Disclosure: Short wheelbase.

  25. dcsos says:

    Just make sure the revised Merrill TV spot shows Ken Lewis on WALL ST completely naked at dawn!

  26. rch says:

    I am not a Merrill fan. Having said that, it should be spun back out and let it run its course.
    Lewis is not to be trusted, he ought to be ousted before he can cause any more damage. I am concerned that “the bank” is nothing more than a conduit to sell unsuspecting, uneducated investors more trash.
    I am still bullish on America but it will take some time for Americans to accept their individual responsibility and turn the government back to where it belongs, in the background, not at the forefront running businesses with a bunch on amateurs.
    Rhetoric is nice to a point but it can’t alter the basic rules of humanness, the sum of which is business and investing.
    Back to basics, I hope.