By Duncan Mackay
December 1 - Sochi 2014 today launched its new brand, emblem and tag-line, introducing the first ever Olympic Games emblem that forms a web address to provide a clear emphasis on reaching new audiences through digital platforms.
The brand focuses on building understanding between cultures, showcasing a contemporary Russia and celebrating the most innovative and inspirational Olympic Winter Games ever staged, Sochi officials claimed.
The Games tag-line is "Gateway to the Future", which will be used to promote Sochi 2014 as a catalyst for long-lasting sporting, social, economic and environmental legacy.
The brand was unveiled at a press conference in Moscow by Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and which was also attended by Dmitry Kozak and Alexander Zhukov, the joint Deputy Prime Ministers of Russia, Jean-Claude Killy, the chairman of the IOC's Coordination Commission, and Dmitry Chernyshenko.
The announcement of the new brand had been postponed by 24 hours following the terrorist attack last week that killed 25 people after a train travelling from Moscow to St Petersburg was blown up.
Chernyshenko said: "We believe this is an historic day for Russia and for winter sport.
"Sochi 2014 has always been about being a Gateway to the Future and our new brand demonstrates that commitment more strongly than ever.
"It is the gateway for the world to discover Russia’s passion, innovation and excellence through hosting the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
"It is about doing everything possible to inspire youth worldwide through Olympic sport to enjoy healthier, more active lives."
The new Sochi 2014 brand centres around the idea that the 2014 Winter Games will be a celebration of sporting achievement, while also providing momentum for positive change.
"sochi2014.ru" is the first Olympic emblem that also forms a web address, creating a digital Games logo.
It has been designed to actively encourage dialogue between Russians, nations and winter sports fans – particularly youth - facilitated by Sochi 2014's online platforms, it is claimed.
The ".ru" component is Russia’s web-domain address and signifies that Sochi 2014 is an Olympic Winter Games hosted by a whole nation, as well as the Black Sea sub-tropical city of Sochi.
The introduction of a 21st Century emblem for a digital generation reflects how the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be accessed through PC screens, PDAs, mobile phones, televisions and other devices, in line with ever-improving internet reach, increased bandwidth and the adoption of new technologies.
Chernyshenko said "To prove our commitment to innovation, Sochi 2014 will have a clearly digital Games emblem.
"Today, we welcome tomorrow.
"We are offering an invitation, an icon and an inspiration to people from across the world to celebrate the thrill of Russia’s first Olympic Winter Games.
"Our emblem challenges people to look beyond what they expect from our country.
"We believe sochi2014.ru can become an international symbol of a sporting, social, economic and environmental legacy that lasts for generations."
Rogge said: "I would like to congratulate Sochi 2014 on the launch of their new brand.
"Every Olympic Games has an emblem and look that crystallises the identity of those Games for all time and Sochi is no exception.
"The Sochi 2014 emblem will become one of the most visible and recognised marks for people of all ages from around the world over the next few years, especially as Sochi 2014 has made a conscious effort to link its brand to the digital generation.
"Thanks to the growth of social media, the Sochi brand will no doubt spread like never before through these online channels reaching the youth of the world quickly and in a format that they appreciate."
The Sochi 2014 brand was developed in conjunction with Interbrand, one of the world’s largest brand consultancies, and an Expert Brand Council, which established by the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee.
The Brand Council features leading lights from sport, branding and marketing, and the arts, with a mixture of Russian and overseas experts.
Sochi 2014 began the brand development process by surveying people from Russia and several countries around the world, gathering thousands of ideas and insights that have been used as building blocks for Sochi 2014’s new brand.
Killy said: "This new emblem and brand will clearly help to intensify the solid progress that Sochi 2014 has achieved over the past year.
"The IOC's Coordination Commission for the Sochi 2014 Games is following the project closely and we have full confidence that the Sochi organisers will deliver on their commitments.
"This new brand will undoubtedly be an important factor in achieving our common goals for these Games.”
The new Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games brand will be launched later in December 2009.
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