Brand Design & Positioning
Strategy and Target Audience Analysis
Growing and sustaining Brand Equity
This is not one of our usual cases, but bear with us, it is just as - if not more - interesting. You probably heard one or two of these names before: Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Undertaker, The Rock, etc. Most of us have had some kind of contact with WWF wrestling at some point in the ‘80s to ‘00s where the sports entertainment industry had its peak.
Now, how does this relate to us as a communications and branding agency? Well, we work with brands, and brands – just like wrestlers – also tell stories. They are all characters that need to differentiate themselves from one another. So we decided to combine work and passion and rebrand a wrestler that originally comes from Switzerland. His name is Claudio Castagnoli aka CESARO.
Wrestling outfits, logos and merchandise are generally very over-designed and elaborate, often reaching in to ‘90s heavy metal design language. We decided that we’d try a different route with Claudio Castagnoli. Originally from Lucerne, Switzerland he moved to the US on a green card in the early 2000s. He’s held multiple championships over the last 20 years in the business. The fact that he’s not from America was his main USP to us. Claudio, as a wrestling character, very much embraces being from Europe and Switzerland. This means he can also have a very different design language.
Our first interaction about a potential redesign was a quick WhatsApp exchange. We found out that Claudio has a fabric printing machine and would add graphics whenever he liked, really making the brand his own. We loved it. We felt it would make perfect sense to create a design language for him that is as clean and sleek as one would expect from Switzerland (isn’t that what we’re known for? ;)
We left away all the clutter and reduced his outfit to simply contain his logo instead of flames, skulls and whatever else is usually put on there. Once he started wearing the outfit on TV we continued the process of simplification even further and tried to also appeal to a younger target audience. We conceptualised a short form CSRO. We decided to go with a typography-heavy focus using the timeless “Avant Garde” font. That again fit Claudio’s European heritage and would work really well on its own since its boldness helps it stand out.
We wanted to use this opportunity and started creating more brand elements with him that he’d wear on TV. The show that Claudio was appearing on at that time was Smackdown, airing Friday nights on FOX with an audience of multiple millions. The new designs again were always reduced in a way that is not often seen in the wrestling world. The most prominent example was the ‘Love Wrestling’ shirt that got quite a bit of traction online when it appeared on the FOX Sports Twitter account. We believe that the key was that it felt different and wasn’t the usual heavy-metal overkill but instead was a shirt that just contained nice typography and nothing else. This no-bullshit approach, in the end, would also help Claudio’s overall character and persona on screen.
This case of us branding a pro wrestler where we tried to tell a visual story and break away from the status quo has also been a reminder for us as an agency to do that in our daily work with our other clients. Pushing the boundaries and allowing stories to be told differently should and will always remain at our core - no matter the product or audience.