A Massive Ecommerce Site Changed Its Handshake Logo to Promote Social Distancing

Gut gives an elbow bump to Mercado Libre

Mercado Libre wanted to use its visibility in Latin America to help spark a change in behaviors. - Credit by Mercado Libre
Headshot of David Griner

Latin America’s largest ecommerce platform, Mercado Libre, is using its most central design element to make a statement about stemming the global outbreak of COVID-19.

Agency Gut Buenos Aires has redesigned the site’s logo to replace its longtime handshake with an elbow bump, symbolizing the small daily changes required to create “social distance” that helps limit the spread of the coronavirus that’s been rapidly expanding around the world.

“Mercado Libre is a brand that reaches many people,” said Louise McKerrow, branding director for Mercado Libre’s landing pages. “That is why we are committed to helping our users and collaborators with different prevention, solidarity and responsible consumption initiatives. Changing our iconic logo from a handshake to an elbow bump is part of these new habits that we try to promote.”

While the brand’s original handshake logo is still being used in places such as at the top left of its homepages, the elbow-bump logo has replaced it on social platforms and various other parts of the large ecommerce player’s online presence.


Mercado Libre (or Mercado Livre in Brazilian Portuguese) is an auction and shopping platform headquartered in Argentina and popular across much of Latin America. Founded in 1999, the site now operates in 18 countries, with its primary markets being Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

Latin American countries are seeing the coronavirus spreading rapidly this week, with Argentina, Colombia and Chile closing borders to foreign travelers and other nations implementing measures such as curfews. By contrast, Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, has largely dismissed such preventative measures as “hysteria” and has said he opposes moves like suspending professional soccer matches.

Mercado Libre isn’t the only business that has changed its logo to raise awareness of how the respiratory disease COVID-19 is spread through interpersonal contact.

San Francisco creative agency Partners in Crime announced earlier this month it had changed its logo, albeit temporarily, from a handshake to a mid-air fist bump:

Partners in Crime

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@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
Publish date: March 18, 2020 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/a-massive-ecommerce-site-changed-its-handshake-logo-to-promote-social-distancing/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT