Decathlon relaunches as a global brand with campaign by Wolff Olins and AMV

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Decathlon, the third biggest sports company in the world, today relaunched its brand to reflect its transformation from French retailer to global sports brand, in partnership with global brand consultancy Wolff Olins.

Reintroducing Decathlon

Following a collaboration over two years, the rebrand spans across strategy, design, internal culture and brand experience, and encompasses every Decathlon touchpoint: revitalising the visual identity, the product portfolio and the omnichannel experience.

Since its creation in 1976, Decathlon has catered to pros and beginners alike – the company designs for all sports, all people and all levels. But despite the scale of the business, its brand voice wasn’t carrying it well enough into the hearts of customers or future audiences.

With the appointment of Barbara Martin Coppola as Global Chief Executive Officer of Decathlon in 2022, Wolff Olins was briefed as trusted brand transformation partner to support the new business strategy of shifting Decathlon from a French retailer to a future-fit global sports brand.

Move people through the wonders of sport

With the Sports category changing rapidly in line with consumer trends, the question at the centre of the strategic approach was: what role does sport play in our lives?

Insights showed that people’s love for sport is not tied into the winning, but in the enjoyment and wellness it brings.

This led to the development of a new purpose for the organisation: ‘to move people through the wonders of sport’, with the entire brand strategy anchored around the idea of wonder.

Wonder as the promise of amplifying all the emotions of sport; enjoyment, connection, adventure. Celebrating movement, participation and progress. An invitation for people to play their way, on their terms.

The new Decathlon brand platform is rooted in its new positioning ‘make sport yours’; enabling everyone to embrace sport on their own terms and live happier, healthier lives.

Breaking away from the category’s traditional focus on perfection and injecting a sense of play and enjoyment back into sport.

Design for Wonder 

The Wolff Olins team streamlined a portfolio of 85 brands into one unified brand: Decathlon. This supported the design of a desirable, expressive visual identity that positions Decathlon as a maker, not just a retailer.

This included revitalising the iconic blue, celebrating the iconic, heritage wordmark and introducing the new brand icon: L’Orbit.

L’Orbit is an expression of the brand’s purpose; conveying movement and circularity, with a strong angle inspired by the iconic wordmark and a peak representing its connection to outdoor sporting activities.

It will now feature prominently on all products, from play to pro, signalling a new narrative for sport.

The wider identity system is designed to work effortlessly across all channels. A new voice, art direction, motion, iconography is brought together with a bespoke typeface: Decathlon Sans.

Inspired by the iconic Avant Garde wordmark of the 1970s, Decathlon Sans is both expressive and technical in its details and design, making it impactful wherever it is met.

A motion system brings the Orbit to life, working across animated type, imagery, layouts and cinematography with a signature orbital movement.

The approach to art direction aims to redefine sport, with a focus on emotion and authenticity as well as showcasing a spectrum of narratives that embrace the diversity of ages, abilities and sports that makes Decathlon unique.

Ready to Play? 

To launch the new Decathlon brand to the world, Wolff Olins’ sister creative agency AMV BBDO has developed a campaign centred on the concept of play.

At the heart of the creative work lies a profound human insight: regardless of age, skill or sport, the joy of play lives in every single one of us.

Decathlon invites everyone, everywhere to rediscover the joy of play. In a world where stress and perfectionism hold so many people back from enjoying sport, Decathlon simply asks, “Ready to Play?”.

This bold question serves as an invitation and rallying cry to experience the sheer delight of movement and spontaneity, fostering a deeper connection between individuals and the world of sports.

The integrated campaign will launch with a hero 60-second film directed by Hector Dockrill, through Magna Studios.

The film mixes original footage and found footage and celebrates sport, not as we’re used to seeing it, but as it truly occurs with real people around the world. From children to older people, from beginners to professionals, everyone in this film is united by the spirit of play.

The out of home campaign, featuring stills shot by Tom Sloan, also captures the joy of real people at play across a range of sports. Versions of the film will also run in 30, 15, and 6 second formats, across TV, digital and social media.

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Sporty: Decathlon relaunched as a global brand, by Wolff Olins.

A full 360-campaign, it will first air during Decathlon’s official launch event in Paris and across its global markets on 12th March, and broadcast across 70 markets throughout the month.

Barbara Martin Coppola, Global Chief Executive Officer at Decathlon, said: “Today marks a very special moment in both the history and future of Decathlon. Now more than ever, business needs to be a force for good and we hope that by moving people through the wonders of sport, we can do that while building a new narrative for the category.

“From day one, the Wolff Olins team has been a close partner in driving this transformative vision forward with us, navigating the brief with considered detail and aplomb.

“We are overjoyed to reintroduce Decathlon to our customers, our teammates, our partners and our communities today, and really celebrate the start of a new era for our global business.”

Celine Del Genes, Global Chief Customer Officer at Decathlon, said: “We understand that the role of sports to people worldwide is evolving, and our new brand directly reflects this changing dynamic.

“It unites all of Decathlon’s customer initiatives and elevates how we go to market in a fresh and playful way. Wolff Olins’ customer-centric approach to the development and design of the brand will help connect people of all levels with Decathlon and enable them to make sport theirs, on their terms.

“AMV BBDO have done a fantastic job heroing this through the concept of play in the launch creative. Huge congratulations to all involved, it’s been a real ‘dream team’ collaboration.”

Emma Barratt, Global Executive Creative Director at Wolff Olins, said: “From the start of our journey together it was clear that Decathlon is special – it deserved a brand that matched its heritage and its ambitions.

“Decathlon has always been for everybody; a sportsmaker, misunderstood as a retailer. A democratising influence in sport, fast becoming a leader in circularity.

“But above all, its aim to simply bring fun, joy and wonder to people of all levels and abilities. We have honoured this with the new brand and identity, which is an open invitation for all to move in their own way.

“It has been inspiring to work so closely with the impressive Decathlon leadership and we couldn’t be more excited to see how they will continue to innovate and bring the wonder of sport to the masses.”

Laura Rogers, Executive Creative Director at AMV BBDO, said:  “Play is at the heart of the Decathlon brand, from their stores to their people and now, in their communications. We’re delighted to share Decathlon’s unique, democratic and people-centred approach to sport with the world.

“We hope that this work, which is our first in partnership with the brand, inspires people everywhere to find that joyous spirit within themselves and get out there and play.”