The Ironman 70.3 World Championship logo, which will represent Nelson Mandela Bay in more than 60 countries, has been met with mixed reaction from its citizens.
The logo – the product of extensive input from three local advertising agencies and various tourism and marketing professionals – was unveiled by executive mayor Athol Trollip and Ironman world championship vice-president Diana Bertsch on Thursday.
At the briefing, Trollip said the agencies – Boomtown, SimonSays and Strategy Advertising – had contributed to the final logo and branding voluntarily.
These agencies had presented their concepts to the mayoral committee in October last year.
“The ultimate choice wasn’t exactly what we had decided on, but it was pretty much a hybrid of all three presentations and very close to what we thought was the best logo,” Trollip said. “Ironman gave us an opportunity to feel like we were really part of this process.”
However, citizens were in two minds about the new logo, which features an elephant, the sun and other elements inside a red “M”.
In a poll on The Herald’s Facebook page yesterday, 52% of voters indicated they loved the new logo, while 48% remained unimpressed.
Sports commentator Natalie Le Clue questioned whether the new design was distinguishable enough from the original.
“From a distance, it looks the same,” Le Clue said.
“I understand that it represents the Eastern Cape, but it is a very recognisable logo and such a small adjustment is not doing anything.”
The Mandela Bay Development Agency’s (MBDA) Luvuyo Bangazi, who headed up the collaborative process behind the logo, said it had taken three weeks of workshops and input from various stakeholders to come up with various options.
“We approached Boomtown initially, as they have a contract with the MBDA,” Bangazi said. “We also wanted to work with marketing minds, so we gathered a mixed group of tourism, business and marketing expertise.”
Bangazi said discussions over what made the Bay unique and brought people to the city then “had to be distilled into a look and feel”.
“After the first draft from Boomtown, we said the other two agencies could give different interpretations.”
Bangazi said the final decision had rested with Ironman’s head office.
“The beauty of it is the logo will appear in more than 60 countries.”
Boomtown managing director Andrew McKenzie said it had been fantastic to collaborate with other agencies to design the logo.
According to McKenzie, Boomtown was responsible for the design of the “M” in the original Ironman logo, while SimonSays had come up with the “Molo” statement which will be used for various merchandise, and Strategy had added the slogan: “The Fiercest Race in the Friendliest City”.
McKenzie also explained the design of the logo included iconic elements of the region, including an African elephant, a wave and the sun.
“The Eastern Cape is known for its rich wildlife, especially the mighty African elephant. The triangle is a representation of the beautiful indigenous aloe plant, found growing naturally across the [province, and] it also symbolises the rich culture of the region.
“The Bay is a coastal city known for its blue-flag status beaches, symbolised in the design of the textured wave element.”
The sun was both representative of the province’s iconic sunrises and sunsets and its warmth and hospitality, McKenzie said.