Paul Newman founded the first Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in 1988, with a simple idea: imagine if children living with serious illnesses had the chance to simply be children, and to just have fun. So he founded a camp in Connecticut where kids could, in his words, “raise a little hell.” The inspiration for the camp’s name was his 1969 hit film, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
That camp grew into the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps giving seriously ill children around the world the chance to enjoy summer fun, but the central organization had outgrown its original story. This global brand needed an expression that embodied the aspirations of its founder, celebrating an incredible story that transcends its celebrity origin tale. The brand was ready to refresh its identity.
The goal was to unify the organization and to elevate differentiation and understanding in a global space of service and recreational opportunities for children with serious illness. Interbrand was tasked with developing a new name and new visual and verbal identities.
We aligned the organization around a single, powerful proposition that instilled clarity and fostered commitment internally: joyful empowerment. We chose a name that could be relevant today while still reflecting Newman’s goal to create a place where kids could be kids, no matter what: SeriousFun. The wordmark was designed with an embedded “smile”—an extractible brand unit that embodies the camp’s mission to facilitate fun with serious outcomes.
The new brand identity launched with a sold-out gala fundraiser at New York’s Lincoln Center. The stage, program, signage and environmental elements all reflected the new visual identity. Videos were scripted with the words of both the Brand Story and Copy Bank we provided, featuring voice-overs from such luminaries as former President Bill Clinton, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Newman’s widow, Joanne Woodward. Celebrities donated their performances and opened their wallets.
New camps continue to open and join the global network, with a recent addition in Haiti. Team SeriousFun, the events-based fundraising arm of the organization, has expanded its fundraising efforts in Dublin, Ireland and developed more corporate partners than ever before.
From a business perspective, the organization has achieved its goals of alignment, clarity and purpose. The visibility and understanding of the camps has never been greater. From an inspirational standpoint, SeriousFun is positioned to keep changing the world, one kid and family at a time.
As the organization states on its website, “Our new identity embodies the root of our work—highlighting Paul Newman’s belief that taking fun seriously can make a real difference in the lives of children who need it most. As our Network of life-changing camps and programs continue to grow around the world, we all remain committed to Paul’s legacy, united around one core belief – that children with serious illnesses deserve the chance to bask in the joy of being a child.”