June marks the kickoff of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa this year. As an official FIFA partner, Sony has prepared by planning ways to reach fans everywhere through communication design. Here, designers behind these activities take the field and discuss their teamwork.
Yamaguchi: Sony first joined the FIFA official partnership program in 2005. This opened the door to conduct branding and marketing activities at more than 40 tournaments (including two world cups) over the eight years from 2007 to 2014. It's truly a rare opportunity to reach international audiences on this scale, over a period of so many years.
We also enjoy many different points of contact with people. The playing fields at stadiums are lined with perimeter boards, for example. An animated Sony logo is shown during live TV coverage—in opening shots, when cutting to the action, and at other times. And we have even set up special promotional venues outside stadiums, which are direct points of contact with fans.
Still, no matter how many touchpoints we have or how often people are exposed to Sony logos, truly reaching fans is difficult. When we watch sports on TV, few of us stop to realize that Sony TV cameras are capturing the action. Most people can't really see the connection between Sony technology or products and sports. This makes it difficult to get our messages across to fans. And as long as this perception persists, we can't hope for effective promotion.
It has called for communication design that answers the question of how Sony, as an official FIFA partner, supports FIFA, fans, and traditions of the sport. We also had to capture a sense of the fun and excitement. We therefore focused on developing a new, defining visual image for use with the Sony logo. We also began working with our FIFA Project Office and Brand Management Department to propose rules governing logo usage and guidelines to follow when introducing logos around the world.
Fukuhara: To meet this challenge in communication design, we started by creating the animated promotional image you see before the action on the field. This segment is an advertising medium we enjoy as an official FIFA partner. It's a branding opportunity, where logos are used. And it might be called the "face" Sony presents to TV viewers or FIFA website visitors watching a match.
The segment only appears on the screen for five seconds. We needed to orchestrate effective branding within this short time. The concept we developed for our key visual in this segment is something we call "color bars." As you watch, you seem to pass through dynamic bars of many different colors, and then the Sony logo emerges. The bars that form the design theme of this sequence recall lines in the sport itself, such as sidelines or the goal line, and the spectrum of colors is a positive way to represent all the distinct areas, people, and personalities involved. The bars also intersect, which is in line with the Sony ideal of wanting to interact with people around the world. In this way, the animation is a straightforward way to convey what's interesting about this international tournament that brings so many different people together.
Next we created guidelines on adapting the color bars for non-animated media. To introduce the color bars in many situations around the world, we needed to be flexible. We intentionally avoided detailed usage guidelines. Instead, we collaborate as needed to support local adaptation. We held briefings for our colleagues worldwide.