The United States Soccer Federation unveiled its first major rebranding in over a decade today (29 February) in a guerrilla marketing style launch that bypassed traditional news media in favour of virtual reality.
The long awaited unveiling of the US soccer national governing body’s new crest was made in an unorthodox approach involving Google Cardboard to deliver a virtual reality promotional video.
To mark the first significant rebrand to its crest since 1995 US Soccer surreptitiously delivered packages containing Google Cardboard and a US Soccer Federation scarf to around 8,000 registered club supporters as well as an additional 2,000 development academy players and other soccer fans across the country.
— David Welch (@imdcaptain) February 29, 2016
The two minute VR video was shot by StriVR and features 360-degree video from a recent men’s national team game and the women’s World Cup.
Mike Gressle, US Soccer’s director of marketing, told the New York Times that the organization decided VR was the most captivated means of unveiling the new look based on the demographics of its fan base.
“Our fans are pretty early adopters to technology,” said Gressle. “Given that this is the next new thing, we think they’ll be pretty interested in it.”
Chief commercial officer for US, Jay Berhalter, said the seven figure marketing effort far outstripped the standard press conference but regarded it as the right move.
“We kept on coming back to the notion that the press conference isn’t really something that drives the fan experience,” he said. “Therefore we’ve moved away from that to something that is more immersive and interacting and experiential for the fan.”
The rebranding of the crest sees the national soccer side bid farewell to its old badge which consisted of a flying soccer ball at its centre, a rippled top, and six blue stripes below a red field.
The now retired logo had begun to look outdated and was widely ridiculed for its animated look. The new look is a throwback to the original 1913 crest and features a squared upper limit and 13 vertical stripes- seven red and six white- below a dark blue field containing the block letters U.S.A.
The soccer federation worked with Nike, its sponsor since 1995, to create the design for the new crest. The process began in the late 2014 and involved several hundred iterations before the final design was chosen.