After it became clear the Chicago Fire's initial brand redesign in 2019 was not successful, the Club began the process to start again from scratch, but this time including its fans, supporters, and city every step of the way. The months-long, fan-focused project saw more than 20,000 Chicagoans add their voice to the creation of the new identity. Once completed, the Fire creative team then was responsible for a rollout fitting of the new crest, one that fans had poured 225,000 words of written words and 500 hours of dedicated roundtable time into. The content creation began first in January, 2021 and spanned through the initial reveal of the crest in June and all leading up to the full launch around the Club's 24th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the team's namestake, the Great Chicago Fire, in October. Following the rollout into market, the Club then focused on high-impact partnerships that would get the mark out in the city and in front of everyday Chicagoans.
The strategy of the project itself, the initial reveal, and the ultimate launch all focused on enticing both fans and non-fans to slow their scroll with eye-catching animation, visual effects, and imagery so they would be enticed into participating and eventually see themselves represented in the Club's new crest. Additionally, the Club strived to storytell well enough so participants could see a direct line from the start of the project to the end, and the unveil would be less of an unveil and more of a confirmation.
To announce the project, the Club created a short animated video with a "work-in-progress" storyboard look to quickly and compellingly get the information and the call to action across for anyone watching to participate.
Once the crest was ready to be unveiled, the Club then created another short animated video, beginning with the same "work-in-progress" look before transitioning into new visuals including recordings from the actual fan roundtables and individual elements the fans requested to be included in the crest -- all culminating in the elements coming together to form the Club's new crest. The team also managed to seamlessly include one of its biggest corporate partners, Heineken, without taking away from the content itself. To accompany the initial unveil, two additional explainer-type videos were created: the first breaking down each element that comprised the crest and the second recapping the entire project through the voice of the crest designer himself. Both were made with fans' consumption habits in mind to get the story across succinctly and entertainingly.
Finally, for the big launch around the Club and city's anniversaries, the creative team went all out to bring the crest fully to life in ways our audience had not seen prior. The first content piece posted featured reality-breaking visual effects, playing off a phone update and having the crest literally pop out of the device before slamming back in and transitioning into a high-energy social media themed montage and eventually landing on a frame that looped right back to the beginning. This video also seamlessly included the Club's front of jersey corporate partner, Motorola, to provided added value without distracting from the goal of the piece.
Additional launch content pieces included a brand introduction video featuring a former league MVP speaking over animations telling the story of the club's 24-year history, a collaboration with a local Chicago historian, and a landing page filled with striking imagery, graphics, and storytelling.
Shortly thereafter, the Club launched its first partnership following the rebrand, with local brewer Revolution to make a unique craft beer to be distributed across greater Chicagoland. To announce the on-sale of the beer, the team created another visual-effect fueled content piece showing the product going on store shelves and exploding out of its packaging.
Through all of these efforts, the Club received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the fanbase and city not only on the project and resulting crest, but also for how the crest came to life through content. Fans have since embraced the crest as their own, and proudly wear the mark across their chest. Quantitatively, the October crest launch generated 3.5 million impressions and 485k video views, while the yearlong project produced more than 9 million impressions and over a million video views. The Club now enters the 2022 season, its 25th season in Major League Soccer, with renewed energy and support from its supporters, and with an eye on growing to embrace more and more Chicagoans everywhere.
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