AnnouncementsESPN CareersInnovationNewsThe ESPN DifferenceWalt Disney CompanyWho Does That?Working @ ESPN

ESPN on ABC Rebrand To Debut Sunday, Aug. 28, During Little League World Series

ESPN Vice President of Brand Marketing Seth Ader and ESPN Senior Director of Creative Operations Pam Neff explain the strategy behind it

2022 ESPN on ABC Hallmark will debut Sunday, Aug. 28 during ABC’s broadcast of the Little League World Series Championship Game. (ESPN)

An ESPN on ABC broadcast isn’t just any broadcast. It’s one that brings the important benefit of national access and connection for fans and creates mainstream buzz within the sports circles in homes, at gatherings, and over social media.

Games on ESPN on ABC have become grand spectacles, featured epic storylines, and been host to marquee events. Moments fans have stamped into their minds forever. The brand is the true definition of sports programming excellence. Now ESPN is innovating and looking to the future with a new hallmark animation set to debut Sunday, Aug. 28, during the Little League World Series World Championship on ABC.

Front Row caught up with Seth Ader, ESPN Vice President of Brand Marketing, and Pam Neff, Senior Director of Creative Operations, ESPN Creative Studio, to explain the strategy and creative concepts around the rebrand, and what it means for fans.

Seth Ader, ESPN Vice President of Brand Marketing
What was ESPN’s main goal for the rebrand on the marketing side?
Our goal was to give greater meaning and context to ESPN events that air on ABC. ESPN’s Brand Strategy and Insights team spoke to fans and learned that fans expect the highest production quality, highest stakes, and premium broadcasts when they tune in to sports on ABC. We sought to meet that expectation and set the table for momentous events by reimagining the opening hallmark.

Seth Ader (Rich Arden/ ESPN Images)

Why was now the best time for an ESPN on ABC rebrand?
At the Walt Disney Company, we now have our most prolific live sports portfolio ever, and ABC has become a centerpiece for some of the biggest and most important events each year. With the strategy of consistent distribution of sports on ABC, we felt it was time to design the hallmark such that the two brands were more seamlessly integrated.

Anything you’d like to share with fans about this rebrand?
This was one of the finest examples of cross-company collaboration that I’ve experienced. From our first meeting to the final presentation, the spirit of teamwork has shown through. It’s also very exciting to see the ESPN speed line come to life in a new way, in this case, activating the entire animation.

The 2012 Hallmark (ESPN)

Pam Neff, Senior Director of Creative Operations, ESPN Creative Studio
What was ESPN’s main goal for the rebrand on the creative side?
To connect our fans to the highest profile events through not just the creative design, but also the sound that would accompany the hallmark. We developed this with the purpose of connecting with fans in a way that would resonate for years to come. Research and insights played a key role in how we thought about the creative from Day 1, and evoked new thinking about the role this element could play in each ESPN on ABC broadcast.

Pam Neff (Joe Faraoni/ ESPN Images)

When developing the hallmark animation, what was a “must have” element & why?
This element needed to be new, unique and ownable. It had to hook our fans in a way we hadn’t before. The intention was to get fans to look up when they hear the new sonic identifier. The speed line is a piece of the ESPN logo that created an opportunity for us to more closely unify the ESPN and ABC brands through the dark to light reveal of the logos. It is elegant, epic and timeless. The sound design amplifies the energy created in the animation.

Was there inspiration behind the creative?
Some of the best creatives in the business across G&L, ESPN Creative Studio, ESPN and ABC Marketing and outside partners, Trollback for design and Yessian for sonic exploration, all, worked together on this rebrand. The ideas were driven by talented creatives ideating collectively as one team, thinking big, taking risks and pushing the design ideas day to day. That close collaboration and partnership is what made us successful and allowed us to quickly turn this rebrand around in six weeks.

The 2006 Hallmark (ESPN)
Back to top button