Sun, snow and sliding in Olympic team branding
Unlike bobsledders who compete by sliding downhill, some brands have to face an uphill battle when it comes to brand recognition. They struggle to gain the attention of their target audiences, and once gained, to retain it.
That is not the case for Jamaica Bobsleigh & Skeleton. Due to the astronomical success of 1993 film Cool Runnings, Olympic viewers, sponsors and reporters know about the Jamaican bobsleigh and skeleton teams. They pay attention when Jamaica takes the hill. And they noticed when the Jamaican flag was paraded through Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang last week.
But, in terms of brand, that’s precisely the uphill battle facing London-based agency We Launch when examining the Jamaican team’s rebrand. We Launch writes, “For too long they were only associated with one thing – Cool Runnings. PyeongChang would provide a significant opportunity to motivate, inspire and change perceptions – both within Jamaica and internationally.”
The shift in brand comes after a shift in organisational structure as the bobsleigh and skeleton teams were officially joined in 2016. The team has sent three athletes to compete in PyeongChang, two in bobsleigh and one in skeleton. The rebrand has helped to situate the team among the world’s most elite athletes.
The new look uses a stylised ‘J’ as the main logo in which the Jamaican flag is inset. Slightly italicised type completes the wordmark, echoing the speed of both bobsleigh and skeleton as well as the inclination of the hill. That sleekness is carried through the rest of the brand’s touchpoints, including the bobsleigh itself. According to Paul Bailey, strategy director at We Launch, the J icon combines the angles and curves from the track “into a dynamic ‘J’ that allows the lines and shapes within the Jamaican flag to enhance the feeling of movement and precision.”
The two woman bobsleigh heats kicks off on Saturday in South Korea and Jamaica’s sole skeleton athlete, Anthony Watson, has completed two heats thus far.
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