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Iain Morrison

15th March 2017

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JUVE BEEN (DE)BRANDED

 

 

When I read an article in June last year that exclaimed ‘the future of branding is debranding’, I dismissed it as quickly as I’d clicked on the link. My true mission was to surf my way to Wikipedia to read up on the merits of Serie A, the top league in Italian football.

 

Euro 2016 had arrived and I was keen to complete as much research on the various teams and players competing so as not to be left behind during the frenzied WhatsApp conversations my friends use to commentate on such events. In truth, my knowledge of the beautiful game rarely strays beyond Scotland’s borders. My disinterest in foreign leagues is something I am berated for by contemporaries on a regular basis.

 

Little was I to know that my fleeting glance over the article and my concentrated enquiries into Turin’s top goal scorers would align nearly six months later.

At the beginning of 2017, Juventus, one of Italy’s oldest and most respected football teams, announced they had been colluding with Interbrand to create an entirely new look for the record-holding champions. Many fans, not just of Juventus, but of the game, dismissed the new symbol for football in north-eastern Italy as a demonstrable departure from the pride and history of the club.

 

 

Fastco’s article suggests that debranding should not be confused with visual de-branding. Instead, it refers to the importance of consumer habits and that the public increasingly choose to spend more on fewer, quality products. However, I would argue that Juventus are in the process of both, refining their brand whilst simultaneously reaching out to a wider audience. As domination of business over sport increases, puritans of football will continue to be blinkered by what is seen as a departure from what they hold dear. As with my own narrow knowledge of football outside of this country’s four professional leagues, fans need to understand that success on the pitch can only be achieved by monumental strides off it.

 

What critics of the new brand may not be aware of is that Juventus are far from the first team to launch a debrand - rebrand.  It has been an immeasurable on-field success in Germany, where Red Bull Leipzig (formely SSV Markranstädt) have risen from the doldrums of the fifth tier to the heights of the top tier in less than eight years.  Ironically, Leipzig fans couldn’t be happier at the outcome and instead it is the fans of other teams that harbour discontent.

 

Debranding is here and, whilst having a team of creatives re-evaluate everything your brand stands for is not essential, Juventus will show over time, I believe, that quality in every respect is priceless.

 

 

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Iain Morrison

15th March 2017