Branding

Tokyo 2020: When the abstract world meets the games

The logos for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were recently revealed, and so far, they have been the target of many critics. Something expected for an identity so simple - and yet so deconstructive.

Olympic Games Tokyo

Above are the official emblems of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games at Tokyo, released at the end of July of this year. In order to better understand the factors that led to these graphic representations, I couldn't help but want to find out everything I could in terms of the reasoning behind them.  

According to the Olympic Committee, the first symbol illustrates the letter "T" - in this case "TOKYO, TOMORROW AND TEAM". The Paralympic symbol illustrates the universal sign of "="  - meaning equality. The circle - present in both emblems - represents a more inclusive world. (Source: Official Website Tokyo 2020)

The color black – the combination of all colors – represents human diversity. And the red, the power of every beating heart. (Let's not forget it also represents the sun within the Japanese flag.) 

THE ESSENCE OF IT ALL

“When the world comes together for Tokyo 2020, we will experience the joy of uniting us as one team. By accepting everyone in the world as equals, we will learn the full meaning of coming together as one. The Tokyo 2020 emblems were created to symbolize the power of this unit.” (Source: Official Website Tokyo 2020)

The brand identity and the logo itself were created by designer Kenjiro Sano, who's work was chosen among 104 other competitors. He is well known for his prowess in various creative fields and has won numerous awards on an international scale.

Kenjiro Sano 

THE PROBLEM

Despite not liking the color scheme, I must confess that I find quite interesting the fact of seeing something that differs so greatly from past games, and that genuinely reflects Japanese culture and art. 

Olympic logos

After watching the explanatory video, I fear that the logos are something more along the lines of abstract art and less of a brand that actually communicates something specific.


In terms of typography, it certainly seems a bit more occidental than Asian (some even refer to it as a reformed version of Clarendon). The straight serif disappoints those who expected the classic combination of geometric symbols and sans serif fonts, something perhaps done intentionally with the purpose of conferring more detail to the whole minimalist set. 

But most likely, it is possible that the intention was to provide a nostalgic evolution from the Tokyo 1964 logo, designed by Yasaku Kamemura (notice the yellow). After all, the Japanese are nothing if not devoted to their traditions.

 Tokyo 1964 2020

But the biggest problem - and asset- from this identity lies in its simplicity, and the fact that it generates different interpretations, in a world as connected s this one.

The act of representing diversity through universal geometric symbols is not an easy one - even more so when the task entails presenting them in a new and innovative way. Now imagine what is must be like to design a logo as global as the Olympic games. Challenging, huh?

PLAGIARISM?

It's no surprise when the world accuses a brand of copying something previously seen somewhere. And with Tokyo 2020 it was no different.

According to sources, Belgian courts will issue a lawsuit against the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  Designer Olivier Debie claims that the Olympic logo is a copy of one of his designs, specifically the Théatre de Liège, launched in 2013. 

 Tokyo and Theatre de Liege

I personally don't pay much attention to rumors on plagiarism. For me, good ideas may arise in different places, making it common for things to look similar, especially in a technology-driven era. I do, however, consider that this particular case is beyond common sense. Both designs are extremely similar in proportion, balance, number of elements, form, typeface, and in... well, almost everything. I probably would have felt - and done- the same thing Olivier Debie has done.

The Committee insists that it thoroughly researched all trademarks on an international level before announcing the winning artwork. Mr. Sano claims he had never seen the other design. Could that be true? In any case, I  honestly doubt Mr. Debie will win - although he does have a point.

We still need to wait five years until the games, and many interactions and deconstructions will still be made with this identity. Perhaps it will improve with pictograms and be slightly altered with some dynamic graphic arrangements, making it a bit more commercial, without losing its Japanese delicacy.

As they say: "2020 is right around the corner." Let's wait and see.

Follow Giovanna Lettieri at EsttudioG

National Congress of Marketing in Mexico: Day 2

Congreso Nacional Mercadotecnia Mexico

The second (and final) day of the 6th National Marketing Congress in Mexico City was nothing short of an insightful and notable experience revolving around the world of Marketing, Advertising and Media. 

The day kicked-off with a conference by Fabian González, Marketing & Corporate Communications Manager of Comex, who dealt with the issue of Street Art: the urban art of selling and how this is linked to the company’s marketing strategy. He shared some great insights on how to take advantage of this wonderful communication tool: 

  • Creative strength + independence = inspiration
  • Color + art = transforming power
  • Communication + awareness = action
  • Empowerment + entitlement = movement
  • Individual expression + content = unique and unrepeatable
  • Urban art + brands = disruption

We amidst the era of democratization of content, where art is reachable to all of us. Brands should take advantage of this to emotionally connect with consumers and inspire them.

Meanwhile, Adrián Peregrino, CEO of Spotify Mexico spoke about the digital music industry and shared some interesting facts with the audience:

  • Technology has radically changed the way we listen to music. When Napster was launched, the record labels lost 50% of their business.
  • 59% of the music industry income in Mexico is coming from digital platforms. For the first time digital data is more relevant than the physical one.  
  • There is a 79% annual increase of music apps in the world, while video streaming is increasing by 114%.

There is no doubt Nike is one of the most renowned brands when it comes to innovation. And this was confirmed when its E-commerce Marketing Leader, Ana Lizz Pardo took the stand and spoke about social videos, highlighting some stimulating points, such as:

  • Digitally savvy kids grow up and change everything
  • It’s a she-conomy
  • Social networks fuel the participatory economy
  • Consumers control the relationship
  • Localism creates a new way of life
  • Internet has an emotional side
  • Context is king
  • Facebook video is the new YouTube
  • Real-time storytelling
  • Viral is the only currency

“In social media, you are not competing with other brands, you are competing against the user’s family and friends.” - Ana Lizz Pardo.

José Alberto Terán, CEO & Founder of Terán TBWA gave some valuable advice based on his extensive experience working on several pitches for new accounts. He suggests to:

  • Choose your battles, don't go for everything
  • Work with your best-in-class team
  • Pay attention to the brief
  • Be organized to win and be prepared to invest
  • Act as a brand
  • Adopt a posture, choose a topic
  • Do you want to be right or do you want to win?
  • Make it smart, make it beautiful, have fun
  • Rehearse
  • Use your best presenters
  • Never give up - fight until the end
  • If you win, quickly celebrate and then start working. If you loose, have a postmortem.
  • Winning a pitch is just the beginning

When it comes to positioning, Corona is without a doubt an expert. Acting as the brand's representative, we had the pleasure of listening to Jorge Inda, Brand Director of Corona and Bud Light about the 4 key elements to develop a successful branding: superior product, a distinctive positioning, consistency and the establishment of consumer loyalty programs.

Jorge also suggested we go out of the traditional, and sometime subjective scheme, and instead ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the brand's vision?
  • What is my play field?
  • Which elements will allow us to win?
  • How can we create physical and mental availability?
  • How can we improve the world?

To continue with a superb lecture, we received Mike Arciniega and Arturo Diaz, Creative VPs and Founding Partners of Archer Troy, one of the top independent agencies, recognized for their campaigns for the film industry. They took us through their vision of the creative process to achieve a brand positioning.

Mike and Arturo raised a series of valuable points for all brands that seek to develop effective creativity that leaves a mark in consumers' heart and mind:

  • The foundations of our business are the ideas. Ideas move the world
  • Explore your surroundings and generate reference frames all the time
  • Come up with ideas instead of occurrences.
  • Generate simple but powerful ideas.
  • Never get stuck with the same idea. Go beyond.
  • Don’t use the same style in your ideas; versatility will be your strongest tool.
  • Exercise your thinking daily
  • Love your ideas or abandon them
  • Creativity always give you revenge
  • There are no manuals in creativity

“To find that great idea, muses should find you working.” - Mike Arciniega and Arturo Díaz

On key topic in marketing these days is Big Data. Mario Nissan, Performance Director of Flock, offered some great observations on this matter:

  • It’s important to have a data strategy. Big data is about quality of information, not quantity.
  • Big data should be: Smart and clean data.
  • We all leave a digital footprint when we go online. Brands should take advantage of this.
  • We should always ask: What issue is it solving? Is it useful for people?
  • Focus on the consumer is key.
  • We should seriously consider always the privacy and security of the information.
  • Don’t forget to study this concept and test it. Data Marketing is more reachable than we think.

Just a few hours before wrapping up the event, Alejandra Rueda, Shopper Marketing VP of Primer Nivel Group explained the trends that will set the consumer shopping habits for the next years:

  • Security: Consumers are feeling vulnerable and brands should make them feel safe.
  • Authenticity and innovative: Individualization is essential.
  • Hybrid consumers: Consumption is segmented and experiential
  • Diverse Society: Traditional roles are evolving.
  • Constant social movement: Connectivity allows shopping access 24/7.
  • Time management: Products should make consumer’s life easier.
  • Connectivity: Consumption guide is set by the virtual world.
  • Health conscious: There is an increasingly cultural consumption of healthier products.
  • New social classes.

Iliana Pérez, Marketing and Business Development VP of Hill-Knowlton Strategies discussed the concepto of Innovative Influence and highlighted these key points a brand should consider:

  • Today the most demanding critic is the consumer. They have access to all the information.
  • Consumers area looking for unique experiences, but most important, they want it now! Timing is critical nowadays.
  • Brands must not only worried about being present, they should be useful. This is key.
  • We need to constantly innovate. Brands should have 365 days of disruption, WOW is not enough, we must maintain. 
  • Find insights. An insight is that thin line between what consumers say they want and what they really want.

The final lecture was held by Álvaro Rattinger, CEO of Merca 2.0 who explained the concept of Asymmetric Marketing - a result of small actions that produce exponential results. These are the small details that can bring big results and where the focus should be when a brand is looking to innovate.  Álvaro explained the following:

The concept that consumers want everything for free is false. When you make an effort for them your consumers are willing to pay for it, when you don’t, then they want it for free.

  • Innovative daily. The more you practice, the less chances you will have of failing.
  • Innovation is not about budget, is about making things happen. Is about willingness.
  • Creativity is not innovation
  • Be platform agnostic
  • Be metric centric
  • Use Big Data as an ally for the customization of products
  • Be consumer-centric

We can certainly say that this year’s congress has far exceeded the audience expectations.  Personally listening to the experiences and best practices of the marketing and advertising industry leaders of Mexico is not only an enriching benchmarking exercise but also an inspirational experience for us marketers.

Congreso Nacional Mercadotecnica Mexico

Photo credits: Martha Debayle

Translation by: Edgar Estévez

Nominated for the Journalist of the Year Award

I am extremely honored to have been nominated for the Journalist of the Year Award by the folks of Cannes Lions Dominicana. It's very flattering to be considered for the first edition of an award that values the efforts of all those whole love the industry and enjoy writing about it. 

One can't help feeling tremendously grateful and motivated!

Journalist of the Year Cannes Lions