The branding fest that is the VOR
AMSTERDAM _ When did the Volvo Ocean Race become a branding fest? Some 12 years ago, says Bas van der Heide. The graphic designer of Team Brunel (right) in the current VOR says Germany’s Illbruck Challenge won the 2001–02 race but only at the finish line. In scoring “media value,” Sweden’s Assa Abloy outpaced the winner by millions of dollars.
“From that moment (the VOR) was no longer a sailing race but a media event,” Van der Heide tells Zeilen, the Netherlands’ leading sailing magazine. He designed Sweden’s Assa Abloy, (left). The world’s largest lock maker invested €9 million in that race, but scored €25 million in media exposure.
Van der Heide remembers a call from ABN-AMRO skipper Mike Sanderson (VOR 2006-07). “He demanded that the ABN AMRO logo be removed from the mainsail. He had calculated that without the extra coating he’d get to Cape Town 6 minutes earlier.” Van der Heide said he “tried to tell him media value was more important than gaining a few minutes. ABN AMRO agreed. The logo stayed.”