Wolff Olins’ moving identity for Nike and Obama campaign

Wolff Olins New York has created a moving brand identity for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, in partnership with Nike

Wolff Olins New York has created a moving brand identity for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, in partnership with Nike.

Nike approached the branding agency just over five weeks ago having entered a partnership with the campaign. The brief was to come up with an identity for the new offshoot, Let’s Move Active Schools, which provides schools with material to encourage kids to more activity, and launched in a high-profile event last week.

When the original campaign launched in 2010, its emphasis was on childhood obesity and promoting healthy nutrition. According to Todd Simmons, executive creative director at Wolff Olins New York, the new brand provided an opportunity to broaden that focus and “tackle physical activity head-on”, building on insight from Nike’s Designed to Move report which highlighted a growing global epidemic of physical inactivity.

It also had to reference the campaign’s link to the White House and the US, and have a certain ‘cool factor’, says Simmons. The main logo, which was designed in still and animated versions (see below), takes the 50 stars of the American flag as its starting point, morphing them into different animated shapes. It is a “clear and iconic” logo, says Simmons, and also references the campaign’s ‘Let’s’ component – its sense of community-based activity and its ambition to become a mass movement. “Because Let’s Move as an idea is one that needs to be used by lots of people, we were focused on an identity that could retail its iconic nature,” adds Wolff Olins senior strategist Amy Lee.

The verbal component of the identity represents the ‘Move’ element of the campaign, and includes “a long list of verbs that start to define both the spirit and tone of the brand but also literally some of the ways of moving”, says Simmons. “It was important that it didn’t feel preachy, physical activity can be a lot of different things.” Therefore, it emphasises all sorts of different – and fun – ways to stay active, such as ‘juggle’, ‘chase’ and ‘wiggle’.

With the campaign’s target audience of 8-12-year-olds, it was important that the identity was cool enough for kids. It is designed to be taken apart and reassembled in numerous iterations, inviting the kids to create their own logos, or flags representing their schools (see mock-ups below) – “to put their own personality into the identity”, says Simmons.

Even though the identity was designed for the Active School movement, it was built in a way that it could become the master brand too, and that it can also translate into other countries, adds Simmons. Wolff Olins will continue to track the project with Nike, making sure that everyone involved has the eright tools to activate the brand – “to get them into the kids’ hands”.

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