Over and above
- Client:Glasgow Life
- Project:2015 World Gymnastics Championships
The World Gymnastics Championships came to Glasgow in 2015 with world-class ambitions. To further raise the profile of the sport as a whole in the UK, they needed a brand identity that would show the strength and finesse of gymnasts in a new light. We created a full brand and event campaign that exceeded all expectations – winning multiple awards and playing a key part in generating £5.5m for the Scottish economy.
Vying for greatness
After the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow was on a mission to become one of the most prestigious sporting cities in the world. Hosting the 46th World Gymnastics Championships in 2015 – a Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying event – was a chance to do just that, while further raising the profile of gymnastics as a whole within the UK.
Glasgow is a sporting city at heart, but gymnastics is far from being its first love – so target audiences were always going to be hard to reach. What’s more, the majority of active gymnasts in the UK at the time were female and participating at a junior level, but evidence had shown a huge male bias in sports spectatorship.
The event needed a campaign that would break boundaries in more ways than one: further raising the profile of gymnastics within the UK while capturing the imagination of not only its existing young, female audience, but of every sport lover. The campaign also had to establish the Championships as a must-attend event while presenting Glasgow as a vibrant, culture-rich destination.
After winning two highly competitive pitches to create the full brand and event campaign, our real work began.
A well-planned performance
Building a campaign over three years is no mean feat, and it required strategic thinking from the start. We needed to ensure a seamless creative journey from the marketing launch in 2012 through various campaign phases – including pre-sale awareness, tickets on-sale, schools resources and pre-event build up.
When thinking about creative concepts, the timeframe posed a unique challenge. Creative for an event so far in the future couldn’t hero any superstar gymnasts – because we didn’t know whether they’d actually compete in the Championships. Working alongside Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) to develop campaign messaging and pacing, we planned to reveal our creative in stages – building excitement and awareness while encouraging ticket sales.
A three-year journey
Despite these challenges, we still wanted athlete photography to be the core of our creative work. We decided to shoot in an atmospheric ‘halo’ style, rendering the subjects anonymous and therefore timeless.
Strong use of black created a vibrant contrast against accents of pink, green and blue, and highlighted the strong shapes we wanted to celebrate. In full flight, gymnasts seem to defy gravity – their bodies twist into impossible positions during split-second moments of incredible finesse. After planning and art-directing a two-day photoshoot, we had a suite of action shots that captured these dramatic moments: more than enough to cover the two years leading up to the event.
Starting with close-up details and pulling a little further back at each stage of our multi-channel campaign made the eventual full reveal of the gymnasts in action all the more powerful. To complement the images, we featured strong, memorable headlines – and right before tickets went on sale, we filmed a series of videos in the same eye-catching style.
The logo was our next focus. To meet the vision of British Gymnastics, we decided to create something that moved away from the abstract swooshes and human forms usually associated with the sport. Our logo used the look of a graphic equaliser to portray the flow, motion and timing of gymnastics. It was modern, unexpected and dynamic, showed the sport in a new light, and was also inspired by the logo of the SSE Hydro where the event took place.
To complete the creative journey, we designed and built a fully responsive, content-managed website. Working with the Longines technical team, we integrated Olympic data into live event-scoring feeds which sat alongside medal tables, searchable athlete profiles, video and animation. An integrated social wall showcased global conversations before and during the event, and a media centre gave access to press releases, event photography and more. Finally, we worked with the official ticket provider to ensure that the purchasing process was simple and clear.
A world-class success
As a result of this incredible event, Glasgow was named the Best Small City by population band for sporting in the world.
Number of spectators who heard about the event via our fully responsive website
Income generated for the Scottish economy from the event overall
Sales target exceeded by
Front Page provided incredible support to myself and the wider team throughout the whole project, from the initial scoping sessions to organising gymnast photoshoots and even offering 24-hour support… it’s since won a Marketing Society Star Award, which we’re extremely proud of.
Kirsten TuttleMarketing ManagerGlasgow Life