La Vecchia Signora + Botox

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It’s been a long and much needed break, but we’re back and what better way to reconnect than with a rebrand that is buzzing all over the web, specially amongst football/soccer lovers. As you probably heard, Juventus F.C. recently launched their new identity and branding, courtesy of Intebrand and while most people hate it, there are a few that think it is a refreshing approach. Me? I’ve never been against rebrands, but in this case, I think Interbrand might deserve a red card. Get it? :) Let me explain…

Let’s begin by remembering the team we’re talking about: Juventus F.C. was founded in 1897. It is the third oldest football club in Italy and historically the most successful. Its most used and recognized nickname is Vecchia Signora (Old Lady) – The word “OLD” is a pun on Juventus, which in Latin means “youth”, and “LADY” is what Bianconeri fans used to refer to their club as prior to the 1930s and before the Agnellis took over out of sheer unrivaled affection. It is also the club where players like Zinedine Zidane, Michelle Platini, Roberto Baggio, Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, and Andrea Pirlo shone. I mean, we get it right? It is a LEGENDARY club.

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As it usually happens every couple of years – or whenever someone new rises to power – football teams are no strange to rebrands and updates to their logos and badges, and we’ve all seen many over the years. And just like with any other type of brand or field, some of these updates can be hits or misses. Unfortunately for JUVE, this new look, in my opinion, is a big miss.

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I know that at this point you might be leaning back and thinking “look at this guy… What the fuck does he know…?” And you are right. BUT, after seeing the official photos, witnessing the online lynching the news got, doing some research and giving it some time to sink in, I thought it would be a good idea to share the reasons why I am calling this a miss.

First of all, the level of roots, heritage and loyalty for most Football teams and badges around the world is a special one. Specially if you consider that most of the major european teams date back to the 1850s – and that football/soccer is the undisputed #1 sport in the world. Heritage plays a huge role when you talk about teams like Juventus, Real Madrid, Manchester United, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, etc. Most of these clubs’ supporters are either born and raised by supporter parents or fall in love with their team’s history, iconic players and milestones. It is very rare to find real football supporters that love teams because of their branding or because of their cool logos – note that I am not counting all those Madrid/Barca fake bandwagon fans.

By updating its logo, Juventus lost a considerable part of its identity and personality, but more importantly, its heritage. Looking ‘modern’ and different than the rest of the teams in Seria A (although sometimes when it comes to Design is the right call) is not something this team needed and definitely something its supporters asked for. I saw a comment online that summed up this feeling well: “When the hedge fund kids take over the family business”. I mean, how can you call a team with this logo “Vecchia Signora“?

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One of the things that bother me most and that I think really did not sell this rebrand is the complete alienation from not only the team’s heritage we’ve been talking about, but from football itself. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking for a football on every team’s logo, but this new J semi-shield seems generic (we’ll come back to this) and feels like a lame attempt at engaging new millennial supporters (this sentence alone makes you want to punch yourself in the face) through lifestyle merchandise and ‘hispter’ branding and marketing. They are trying to hard to turn a football club into a lifestyle brand. And if this is the intention… it will fail miserably.

Just checking the official launch event photos, you’ll notice that the new logo is displayed and used on everything BUT football or anything associated with the club. There’s a Spotify channel, Sunglasses, Jewelry, records, skis, cafes, etc… You think I’m kidding right? Check these:

JUVE skis. Yup.

JUVE skis. Yup.

IKEA + JUVE cafe

IKEA + JUVE cafe

Guido Tifosi in Behance packaging

Guido Tifosi in Behance packaging

JUVE shades

JUVE shades

Because they needed more mockups

Because they needed more mockups

And because nothing says JUVENTUS like a 40 year old DJ spinning JUVE tunes...

And because nothing says JUVENTUS like a 40 year old DJ spinning JUVE tunes...

And if you are going for that millennial demo, why not copy what Ducati has already done and drop one of those VERY “inspired by” videos:

The original:

Designwise, I get it. They’re aiming for something cleaner, simple and iconic while maintaining the shield and some of the club’s look with the black and white stripes. However, although I’ve heard people say the J shield could work, I find it very generic and bland. It reminds me of any free or stock icon you can find online. But even more troubling, an icon so generic that can be used perfectly to brand a coffee house, technology company, tire manufacturer, the new Jumanji movie, etc. Still don’t believe me? Here are a few options I created just to visually show what I am talking about:

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But hey! Remember this is just my opinion :)

Photos courtesy of Interbrand and UnderConsideration

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