Prudential Insurance Company of America has been in existence since 1875. This longevity has obviously resulted from a history of marketing excellence. Eric Ortner became intimately familiar with the company’s identity system while working as Art Director for one of its Real Estate Affiliates. Prudential sold its real estate network to Brookfield Residential Property Services in 2011, partially as a result of the housing market crash of 2007. This illustrates that Prudential has always managed to change with the times as has its logo.
The Rock of Gibraltar became the driving force behind the company’s brand identity in 1896. The Rock was first used in an ad placed in Leslie’s Weekly with the text, “The Prudential Has the Strength of Gibraltar.” The inspiration behind this slogan is said to have come from an ad man’s commute as he past volcanic Laurel Hill in Seacaucus, NJ on the train into New York City. Prudential continued to innovate the world of marketing in 1955 when it became the first company to sponsor a television program with “Prudential Family Playhouse.” In 1970 the company unleashed one of the most powerful taglines in the history of advertising with, “Get A Piece of the Rock”. The Rock of Gilbraltar mark was changed to a stylized graphic translation in 1985. However, in 1989, a more refined illustrative version of the Rock of Gilbraltar was created. The Prudential logo’s text was designed by Doyald Young utilizing Century Schoolbook typeface as its base.
The following example is an interesting look at The Rock’s historical journey. I spent a few hours trying to determine what the year was for each version by doing several image searches for vintage Prudential Print Ads. In the process I found it interesting that up until about 1970 there really was very little consistency between the logos used. Even the shapes of the logo seemed to change indiscriminately. I’m chocking it up to the artistic whimsy of the various illustrators. As you can see, I’m still missing a few dates. If you can determine any of the missing dates or feel that I am mistaken in the ones that I have found be sure and Let me know.