Volleyball had once been a major attraction in Japan, but soccer and baseball had overtaken the sport in popularity. Its image was uninteresting and conservative, and investment was drying up.
We needed to attract, motivate, and inspire youthful players, and to energize audiences. Most importantly, we needed to sell a new vision of the sport to an organization resistant to change.
We linked volleyball with fighting spirit, fearless passion, and total commitment – all positive Japanese cultural associations. Using the game itself as our inspiration, we derived our look from the precise and beautifully organized actions of the players. Our V motif formed an energetic rhythm suggesting bold, confident gameplay. Its dramatic 45-degree angle suggested a player diving with outstretched arm to intercept a ball.
The strong, confrontational colors, framed on black and white, signaled a deliberate break from the past. Our rallying cry WE NEVER DROP THE BALL suggested to players that volleyball links great athletes with immaculate teamwork, and to audiences that when you go to a volleyball game you’ll see something that is always out of the ordinary and never disappoints.
The rebrand made the game seem bigger and more international, and brought both spectators and the press flocking to the turnstiles. In the 2019 season, website access rose 400% and Instagram followers 210% compared to the previous season, audience numbers increased 268%, and there were four new sponsorship deals. The relaunch is everywhere, from team shirts and stadiums to a host of merchandising. With the Olympics coming, Japanese volleyball is defiantly back on the world stage.