Accommodations service Airbnb unveiled a massive brand overhaul this week, but it's the company's rather, um, suggestive logo that's causing the most buzz.
In a blog post published Wednesday, Airbnb detailed a new philosophy, 'Belong Anywhere'. and a fresh website focusing on big, bright images.
"Our shared vision of belonging is the thread that weaves through every touchpoint on Airbnb," says Brian Chesky, founder and CEO of Airbnb. "We have redesigned every single page of the user experience across the web and mobile to bring our new identity to life."
The brand redesign includes a new logo, called the Belo. "It's an iconic mark for our windows, our doors, and our shared values," says Chesky. "It's a symbol that, like us, can belong wherever it happens to be."
Twitter users are seeing something very different. Many tweets claim the new logo represents parts of the human body that we won't mention here (use your imagination). As Verge reporter Casey Newton joked on Twitter: "I showed someone the new Airbnb logo and was arrested for indecent exposure."
How many people in AirBNB meetings didn't tell their bosses the new logo looks like testicles? All of them, right? pic.twitter.com/2e9b1PpyeN — Kate Stayman-London (@_ksl) July 16, 2014
Airbnb's new logo is probably my favorite testicle based logo for sure. — Tad Carpenter (@TadCarpenter) July 16, 2014
the new #airbnb logo kinda reminds me of certain sexual organs. #uncomfortable — Mark Kellar (@mkellar2) July 16, 2014
The Thought Process Behind the new #airbnb logo pic.twitter.com/pUEps6e5Ik — Shaun Pendergast (@ShaunPendy) July 16, 2014
A Tumblr page has been created with more examples not fit for this website.
Chesky said the major remodel occurred as "Airbnb has outgrown the original Airbnb brand".
"What started as a way for a few friends to pay the rent has now transformed into something bigger and more meaningful than we ever imagined."
The website lets people take in house guests who pay for stays in a variation of a "collective consumption" theme that taps into the power of the internet to let folks share the benefits and costs of possessions such as cars and homes.
"Like us, you may have started out thinking you were just renting out a room to help pay the bills,' Chesky said in a message aimed at Airbnb users.
"Or maybe you were just booking a bed for a night on an unexpected layover. However, we first entered this community, we all know that getting in isn't a transaction. It's a connection that can last a lifetime."
Chesky said that changes to the Airbnb website were intended to reflect those in its community and the notion that the service lets travellers find places where they can feel as though they belong.
Changes included an improved "Discover" section to spotlight desirable nearby locales where Airbnb users can find lodging, and making it easier to explore listings and make reservations.
Airbnb has come under scrutiny in some US cities because of concerns that some people use the service to run what amount to illegal hotels.
The San Francisco-based start-up was launched in 2008 and quickly became very popular.
Traditional hotel chains see it as a rival and accuse it of helping people avoid taxes and hosting illegal hotels on its website.
LA TIMES, AAP
@joeshoop We prefer well-rounded. #BelongAnywhere — Airbnb (@Airbnb) July 16, 2014
The woman on the right is on the phone with her lawyer. pic.twitter.com/JnN1wvhcCa — Mike Monteiro (@monteiro) July 16, 2014
ok this changes everything @Airbnb pic.twitter.com/soyqm9vwLW — darth™ (@darth) July 16, 2014