Sports events brands:
containers of hope.

by Miguel Viana
New  —  19-06-18
Global sports events are the extreme celebration of hope. Everyone wants to be part of that utopia. Even if it is only for a tournament duration, a day, a game, a goal, or an amazing dribble.

While I am flying to Moscow with my fellow companions to assist to “our” FIFA World Cup in real life, great memories come to my mind about the project and people involved in the branding project of FWC2018, from Russia LOC team, FIFA and BrandiaCentral where we have developed all the project during 3 years. Starting in January of 2012.

It’s a privilege to be part of such incredible projects.

When less than 2 years ago, Carlos, José, Jaime, and myself decided to open our own branding company - Unlock - we dreamed of a firm that would push brands to new dimensions of consciousness. We are privileged to have a team, clients, and partners that helped us get to that edge.

The brand for FIBA Women’s World Cup 2018 is the latest result of that vision. It was just launched. Many times sports and sports events are seen with some paternalism from the media, public opinion, and opinion-makers. But I challenge you to find brands that can portray or contain such a blend of positive ideas, peace messages, cultural references, and respect for humanity and nature. These are brands with the magnetism to take people, communities, countries and decision-makers to new frontiers of tolerance, consciousness, respect and humanity. The global sport events brands are probably the best example of those ideas because they are containers of a multiplicity of positive gathering ideas.

Why does this happen? Why there are no other sectors or activities that reflect such values? Humans need to believe in something. To believe in religions, parties, clubs. Tending to adopt ideologies. Being part of common movements. We are all insecure beings. Being part of something helps us to feel better. To create a structure of confidence around each of us. Something that allows us to link to others. To link us to the universe that is beyond ourselves. Empathy. Intangible connections that link us to others. All six senses receive and issue information from and to others.

In Psychology, the empathic process is studied to understand the patient’s mental health. Empathy enhances a person’s mental health and the lack of empathy doesn’t. Being a flexible capacity, it can however be modulated by different cognitive, social, and contextual determinants. It is also studied that people need an exterior stimulus to activate their inner empathic processes. Positive environments help to stimulate connections. To create the necessary confidence to allow us to reach others. To be like others are. The sense of look alike. The sense of being part of something.

Even if it is only for a tournament, one day, one game, one goal, or an amazing dribble. The planet is living a era of disillusion. Science never gave us so much knowledge in so many areas at the same time, but we are still ruining our planet. Wars and conflicts that never stop. Religious and political visions merge and become potentially dangerous. Migrants are now millions around the world fighting to survive. A recent global study concluded that the majority of kids are becoming less hopeful. The world desperately needs hope. Positive reasons to energize our days. Our confidence in ourselves and in others.

Sports celebrate this.

Global sports events are the extreme celebration of hope. Everyone wants to be part of that utopia. Even if it is only for a tournament duration, a day, a game, a goal, or an amazing dribble. In the last 10 years, I had the privilege to develop with my teammates the brands for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, UEFA Euro 2016, FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, FIBA Euro Basket U-15, AfroBasket 2007, Copa America Chile 2015, Baku F1 Street Circuit, The Best FIFA Football Awards and recently FIBA Women’s World Cup that will take place in Tenerife, Spain.

In all these brands there is a common goal: to create empathic moments to bring people together, to create bridges, to find common purposes, to find local messages that resonate at a global level. That resonate inside of each of us.

Identity. Context. Authenticity. Something we have learned from our parents and teach our children. Sharing that with the world. Despite the differences. Because of the differences. There is a common will to be a part. To understand others. To learn from others. To be proud of what you are and of what we could all become. Together. In this latest project, FIBA WOMENS WORLD CUP, inspired by the Canary Islands and Mount Teide, it was great to take these brand projects to a next level, bringing the theme of the oceans to sports. Making an apparently out-of-context message a subtext for a wider audience. Only sports branding can accommodate and resonate/echo such messages. You may find this utopian, but it’s great to dream of brands that can really make a difference. Not for themselves, but for others.


Miguel Viana
Founder & Creative Director of Unlock Brands