The World Cup South Africa is not the only world tournament taking place this year. In August, Turkey will host the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Best basketball teams in the world will fight to claim the top spot. Considering the huge popularity of basketball in the States, in China and some parts of the Europe this event is going to be a fantastic one. Turkey has been preparing for the Championship for years, building modern arenas in many cities. Recently, they launched the promotional campaign. Today, I would like to evaluate the visual identity of the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Let’ start with the logo. Two elements are obvious: The Turkish flag and the basketball. The designer used a bleeding flag, giving it a more modern and edgy look. Underneath the crescent you can see the friendly typography the Turkish Ministry of Tourism uses. However, the typography has one more element: a tulip. For those who are not familiar with history, tulips originated from the Ottomans and the Turkish Republic wants it to be used on all communications. Very good for consistency. Not so good for this logo. Because there is another tulip in the basketball, which creates duplication, noise and busyness. Also the basketball is in gray, a weird colour decision I cannot understand. Overall, the logo has five colours and too many elements, making it very costly logo to print and replicate. From brand strategy point of view, this is a poorly designed logo.
Next, let’s look at the mascot. First of all, an organization would use a mascot to appeal to younger audiences. So your mascot should be kid friendly. Seriously. Is this a mascot that you would want your kid to look at? The mascot is based on a distinctive breed of domestic cat that is found mainly in the Lake Van region of Turkey (Ironically, there will be no games in Van). It is unique because the cat is all white, and often is odd eyed (one green and one blue eye). The cat itself is a work of art by mother nature. This mascot on the other hand is a horror movie character. With its crescent-shaped head (why the obsession with crescent?) and sinister looking eyes, this mascot could very well be the worst one I have ever seen. Also, colour selection is astonishingly poor; making the mascot look so dated… Cold-war era dated.
Finally, let’s look at the ads. The idea is to blend the world’s best basketball players with the most beautiful scenes of Turkey. While it is not an original idea, if executed well it could be a solid ad concept. The problem is; it is not well executed. I will skip the photoshop job, which is amateurish and concentrate on two elements: the mise en scene and the slogan.
Almost all ads look weird. Nowitzki is looking towards horizon (actually towards Asia). Why? Why is he holding the ball on his shoulder? That is not a basketball posture. What are you trying to communicate here? Probably nothing. God knows what Gasol is doing. Joel Anthony? I don’t even want to go there. The point is, these are very poorly executed ads and we, basketball fans, deserve much better.
The second awkward element of the campaign is the slogan: “Giant get-to-geth-er”. Vertical lay-out of the sentence makes it difficult on the eye. As a reader I try to make some meaning of the initials, thinking it is a acrostic poem. Again this is a bad design decision. Moreover, the translation is awkward. For those who don’t know “giant” (dev in Turkish) is a term Turks used to promote their national basketball players. (here is the legendary 12 Giant Men ad) However, in English it just doesn’t work the way it does in Turkish. Instead , I would stick to “Big gathering”. It is shorter, simpler and more meaningful.
Visually this is an amateurishly executed campaign so far. I don’t know if the organizers designed these materials in-house. From pure brand strategy point of view, I cannot give kudos to anything here. Let’s hope that they will put much more effort into the games than the promotions.