The lights at the Allianz Stadium were cut off and the music intensified. In the dark, a small patch seemed to be shining in the middle of the field. The center circle began to pulse and wave. And then the grass appeared to pull itself out, as if it were nothing more than a tablecloth. Three words run around electronic advertising boards: “History. passion. Lol. “
The extraordinary buildup did not match the occasion. Juventus was home to Genoa that night, a run-of-the-mill Serie A game. It was at the end of October 2019, to be judged for the title very early in the season or to win a trophy. What is the matter, however, was not playing for Juventus, but what was playing in the team.
That night, Cristiano Ronaldo and his partner will showcase a special edition jersey designed in collaboration with their costume partner, Adidas and Palace, the Maverick British Skate and Streetwear brand.
The design was created with the history and passion of Juventus, incorporating the team’s traditional Biancaro Stripes and disruptive touches made the Palace a street phenomenon. The team’s logo and player numbers were displayed in an acidic green color. At the bottom, stripes started to pixelate.
The jersey was greeted as a masterpiece, but Juventus never wore it again. By the time Ronaldo and his teammates stepped into the field against Torino a few days later, he was back in his regular uniform. it did not matter. Later that week, the Palace jersey came online – or, as the streetwear world puts it, would drop.
It sold out in 12 hours.
A few years ago, Juventus held a grand reception at the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan. The guest list included players past and present, but also pop-culture fixtures such as Giorgio Moroder, leading music producer and model and actress Emily Ratajkowski.
The party was arranged for the beginning of a new era for the club. Its team was in the midst of an unending round of on-field success, dominating Serie A, however, it outpaced its continental rivals. To remain competitive, it needed to close the revenue gap at clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United, its president Andrea Agnelli said. To do this, he was convinced, Juventus had to become “more pop”.
He Thought that he is not the only executive in European football. In 2018, fans lined up around the block outside the Paras des Princes to get their hands on the first drop of collaboration between Paris Saint-Germain and Jordan Brand, its primary apparel partner, a subsidiary of Nike. Earlier this year, Arsenal unveiled 424’s collaboration with a streetwear brand based in Los Angeles.
With the Palace having an audience for Juventus’ collection, the main market for these collaborations is not a fan of the club. It is not necessarily a fan of the game either. The collection is not intended to be worn as football products or as a declaration of loyalty to a team; Tie-ins are not, as they are often presented, attempts by Europe’s unsuspecting superclubs to sell more tickets or grab more fans.
“A lot of people who buy those PSG Jordan shirts won’t care about the team’s league status,” said Gopher magazine founder and creative agency Jordan Wise 9. “Many of them may not even like football.” Their value to clubs is fine: a completely untapped market, not subject to behaviorism and tribalism affecting football fans.
“Working with the streetwear brand gives clubs access to a completely different location,” Wise said. “But to do that, they have to think and look different: less like clubs, and more like sports brands.”
No team has adopted that innings like Juventus. In 2016, at Agnelli’s Instruction, the club decided to launch a comprehensive rebrand. Every aspect of the team’s identity, most controversially, would be its iconic crest, a symbol that had roots for more than a century.
“This was more than a change in the badge,” said Juventus chief financial officer Giorgio Ricci. “It was a new visual identity, which would enable us to see it as a new, one step forward.”
The club gave rebrand ideas to several marketing agencies, and eventually opted for a pitch from a long-time partner, Interbrand. Its approach was risky: After consulting with advisors to the company’s global network, Lidi Grimaldi, managing director of Interbrand’s Milan bureau, decided to present the club with a suite of options, in the hope that they caught the imagination .
Instead, she said, Interbrand decided to go with a design. Although the company had previously helped tweak the Juventus Shikha, it was slightly less ornate, changing the color scheme to a touch, this time Interbrand would suggest something more revolutionary. “Something really bold,” he said.
They did not have much time. Because Juventus and Adidas needed to start work on the club’s jersey for the next season, Interbrand had less than a month to bring their ideas together. Grimaldi said that instead of something that looked like a football crest, he designed a logo that was “more in line with Google or Apple or Nike”.
There would be no depiction of the charging bull, as every version of the century had been around for over a century. There won’t even be a crest, such as: just a sleek and stylish J, a design that will become the focal point for further updated visual recognition. She was not an accident. “The whole strategy was to broaden the spectrum of activities, leaving the core of the club, which is football,” she said.
To present the idea to the Juventus board, Interbrand made a short film, which gave a glimpse of what this new future would be like: That style Cafes and hotels are chopped on organizing events, used in collaboration with cutting-edge fashion brands. Grimaldi said that Juventus officials, including Agnay, were thrilled. This was exactly the kind of sea change they were demanding. The main response, he said: “Wow.”
Of course, the club knew that such drastic changes would not be universally welcomed. When the new logo was revealed, the response from fans was mixed at best. Juventus felt he had no choice but to come out of the storm.
“We needed a new identity that could change the perception of Juventus among the various stakeholders,” Rikki said. “One that can increase our business scope and potential goals. We needed a new identity, something that should be a trigger for the creators, not only for the main customers, but also for the new audience. “
Perhaps the best measure of its success came on Tuesday. After a similarly intense design period, Inter Milan – Juventus’ fiercest domestic rival – introduced their new crest, a simplified version of the badge, which has graded the club’s jersey for decades. Imitation, after all, is the most honest form of flattery.
Football Recreation Complex
For years, Manchester United has been held to be the gold standard of football in turning the game’s unique popularity into cold, hard cash.
This partnership model, which pioneered a combination of 25 official club partners with a thunderous roar of regional allies around the world, may have made it an easy target for satire – all of those tractor and noodle endorsements – but it has given the club Turned into a financial househouse. Able to make a profit even during the coronavirus epidemic.
Increasingly, however, the consumption habits of younger people are making that approach outdated. “We’re seeing a move away from the license model,” Wise said. “We know that Generation Z and Millennials are being hated. This means that it is no longer enough to plaster a club badge on something and assume that fans will buy it loyally. “
Instead, he said, the partnership should feel “authentic,” and the content used to promote them should “tell stories”. This authenticity was the rationale behind the Juventus rebrand, using not only its crest but the entire visual personality of the club, from its social media – A bespoke font – For its branding.
“It was about keeping football in a wider recreation framework,” Rikki said. “We see our competition not only as a club, but also things like the gaming industry.”
For the partners, the appeal is clear. Football has a reach that cannot match any other aspect of culture. Cristiano Ronaldo has more followers on Instagram than anyone else on the planet. Lionel Messi can leave his opponent behind there, but it will be something that he is, at least, ahead of Beyoncé.
Similarly, Juventus has a name recognition that can supercharge a brand like Palace. The difference is that, increasingly, football also has little to offer. It has to accept the principles Grimaldi called “strategic design”, the idea that design itself can change consumer behavior and expectations.
“The rebrand was not a way to be cooler or more contemporary,” Grimaldi said. “It was a chance for you to understand the verbal and visual codes that you want to understand in other places. For example, to work with the Palace, you must adopt the design codes of their world. “
This, however, is a slow burn. Four years after its rebrand, Juventus is not in a position to provide any immediate financial boost, which has traditionally been the primary motivation and metric for any football club. Looking at the club’s books, Rikki said, the result of the rebrand is hard to separate, and a result of winning the trophy or signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
He However, “absolutely convinced” that it was worth it. Internally, the new identity gave the club a direction, he said. Externally, resentment over the new badge was quickly eased: signing Ronaldo and taking another handful of Serie A titles did not mean the club’s traditional fans felt isolated.
But at the same time, it meant that Juventus had become something more than a team, something more like a sportswear brand.
It is still sometimes possible to buy one of those original pixelated, acid green, special-edition Palace jerseys in the thriving resale market of streetwear. Prices start at several hundred dollars, even higher than the latest Juventus jersey. And no matter how the team is performing on the field.