Eurosport launched its global channel rebrand at the end of 2015, with DixonBaxi and MassiveMusic teaming up to create a brand new audio-visual identity, and ahead of this year’s PromaxBDA Europe Conference in Barcelona, we take a look at how the global music agency found Eurosport’s daring new sound, showcasing the power of sonic branding for broadcasters’ promotional output.
Starting out as a humble television broadcaster, airing sporting events to audiences across Europe, Eurosport has evolved into a global media giant. Six TV channels, 16 websites, 23 million visitors per month and 243 million subscribers across 99 countries later, and it’s fair to say that Eurosport has firmly established itself alongside the broadcasting elite.
It was no surprise when, in July, Discovery announced an agreement to acquire full ownership of Europe and Asia’s leading sports channels and, with Eurosport awarded the TV and digital rights to Olympic Games from 2018, it was time for a complete identity overhaul. What followed was biggest rebrand in Eurosport’s 26 year history; a new strategy, a revamped identity, and updated on-air branding.
No strangers to either sonic identity or channel rebranding projects, global music agency MassiveMusic teamed up with long-term collaborators DixonBaxi to forge a new audio-visual identity for Eurosport.
With DixonBaxi designing the visual elements of the worldwide refresh, MassiveMusic’s London and Amsterdam offices worked together on the new sonic branding, sound design, music composition and audio post production for the campaign.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to work with DixonBaxi on a number of channel identity rebrands, including the UKTV Watch launch, as well as rebrands for UKTV Yesterday, Canal Sony and 13th Street, while our relationship with Eurosport goes back to us completing their last global rebrand in 2011,” explains Paul Reynolds, MD of MassiveMusic London. “The unique relationship was one that was entirely open and collaborative, with all parties working and communicating freely together towards a common goal.”
MassiveMusic utilised its global network to cope with the scale and to handle the vast number of complex deliverables. With Eurosport based in Paris, the collaboration between MassiveMusic’s London and Amsterdam offices aided the cross-border relationships, tapping into their diverse pool of talent to deliver the types of production needed.
The new channel branding is a bold, progressive approach for Eurosport as it attempts to break the norms of the mainstream broadcast landscape. Lodewijk Pöttker, Producer at MassiveMusic Amsterdam, comments: “Unlike the polished, smooth branding of other channels, Eurosport dares to stand out. The combination of the music and visuals evokes a raw, direct and lively feel, where the sound design is like a sculptured foley that pulls the viewer deeper into the sports momentum.”
Just like the visual identity, which includes the brand’s logo, colours and font types, a sonic identity is a powerful brand builder, and MassiveMusic were challenged to create a strong, memorable sonic identity.
Lodewijk explains: “Sonic branding is a powerful tool when telling a company’s story, and Eurosport wanted a mnemonic that could be used a lot without becoming irritating to the viewer. So we created a rhythmical, percussive ID in which sound design is layered on top to create a diversity in sound across a variety of separate elements.
“The layers pull the viewer deeper into that ‘Peak Moment’, as if they’re close to the athlete - whether it’s on the field, in the gym, in the stadium or alongside the road amongst the fans. Compared to the overall broadcast landscape, this new branding is incredibly refreshing.”
The final result is an array of primal drumbeats, melodic chants and real-world sound effects that place the viewer directly inside the on-screen moments.
“You’ve got to be careful because with some sonic identities you can really annoy people,” concludes Paul. “You have to be very, very careful if you do something quite musical. The great thing about this identity is that it has a strong percussive element, it can sit across anything. It can be placed over other music, be audible with voice, sit over sound design, or it can used by itself. It becomes incredibly versatile for the broadcaster.”