In the summer of 2007 at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Guatemala, Russia won the right to host the Olympic Winter Games for the first time in history. This epochal event, the XXII Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, is being held in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea coast from February 7-23, 2014.
The IOC wanted to capitalize on the symbolically powerful February 2010 closing ceremony of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. On that day, the Canadians would hand over the Olympic Flag to the Russians and Sochi would become the official capital of the next Winter Olympiad. And at the same ceremony, Russia would unveil the new Olympic brand to the world.
To create a brand of equally international and Russian domestic importance like the Olympic Winter Games, Interbrand set up a team of professionals from across 12 of its offices in Europe, Asia Pacific, and North America. They were asked to find the right balance between creativity, the “Russia” brand, and “Sochi 2014.”
The team introduced three daring innovations. The Olympic Games do not have a logo, only a word mark—this, for the first time since Mexico 1968. The word mark is accompanied by the ".ru" Russian national Internet domain extension to underline the innovative character of the games and its relevance for the whole country. And to convey dynamism and for potential extension into 2D, 3D, and 4D, the visual identity of the brand is inspired by the idea of traditional Russian patterns, re-interpreted in a modern way.
The word mark itself reflects the brand idea of duality—the duality of the Russian soul, Sochi’s subtropic seashore, and snowy mountains. Overall it conveys the mystery of Russia as a unified country of fascinating contrasts: Europe and Asia; huge cities and the deserted Siberian tundra; Russian brainpower combined with a highly emotional temperament; cold weather and hot hearts. All this combined with a very strong Russian call to action: ПОЕХАЛИ! — POEKHALI! meaning "Let's go!"
Declared almost 50 years ago by Yuri Gagarin at the launch of the rocket that would make him the first man in space, the phrase epitomized the immense symbolic power of that event. The project's aim was that “ПОЕХАЛИ!” would once again energize the whole nation to pull together and open a new page in the country’s history—The Olympic Winter Games.
The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee held a national unveiling for the event's brand in Moscow on November 30, 2009. Top government, business and international officials, including Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and IOC President Jacques Rogge, were in attendance. The international reveal took place, as planned, during the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in February 2010.
The widespread use of the "Sochi.ru 2014" Olympic brand extended to posters, government-issued bank notes and stamps, and of course throughout the Games, from digital touchpoints to hockey pucks, from official merchandise to the fleet of vehicles.
As the Sochi 2014 official website notes, "The Sochi 2014 brand fits perfectly with our commitment to use the digital revolution to help young people experience sport for the first time; with a view to active participation and long-term engagement with sport and Olympism."