American Fencing was fragmented and privatized as a sport; ruled by exclusionists and capped by its lack of distribution (difficulty in finding a fencing facility to engage in the activity). Though the sport was global and a pillar of every Olympics, it lacked emotional appeal, and a general understanding from the masses. The organization needed to create clarity, awareness, and zeal through a consolidated brand and subsequent campaign. Next, the sport required a transformation into a living lifestyle full of passion, pride and purpose, without being elitist.
The United States Fencing Association (USFA) was heavily investing in their association publication, American Fencing Newsletter, producing negative, in the red returns. The publication needed to immediately imbue relevancy and excitement within its content offerings, while turning a profit for the first time in its long history.
Develop the brand vision, while re-inspiring its tradition as an embracing future; bringing a modern approach to a chivalrous past.
Launch the brand by positioning fencing as “the original extreme sport;” portraying an aesthetic union between art, beauty and athleticism, reminiscent of the pioneering philosophy of the Olympics – combining art, sport and humanity. Re-position modern fencing as a “battle dance”, creating a new artistic conceptualization of sport through the understanding of the philosophical relationship between sport and art as an aesthetic. The “battle dance” offers a uniquely blended balance of elegance (art), war (sport) and ethics (humanity) – converged as one essentialism. The strategy fuses dignity and damage, poise and passion – an impromptu ballet amid two fencing maestros with oscillating tempos, unrelenting mobility and improvisational movements. Even the foot action of fencing mirrors the first, second and third positions of ballet in creating a beautiful war between art and sport. Create human aesthetics as a performance art form. And no matter the outcome, even if it defeat, “grace, honor and ethics” shall prevail.
Create a theatrical stage called “The Fencing Finalist Performance Stage” (utilized at all Olympic quarterfinals).
Turn the newsletter into a lifestyle magazine and new media hub by investing creative and marketing expertise, making the magazine more attractive to advertisers, readers and potential fencing sponsors.
Produce an elevated website property giving an online presence to the new publication, while serving as a revitalized marketing platform, supporting brand building efforts, critical community engagements and sponsorship attraction.
Captured the USFA’s first paid sponsorship, a multi-year, six digit partnership with London-based sports manufacturer Leon Paul.
The Fencing Finalist Performance Stage and its Advertainment inventories allowed regional brands to buy into localized partnerships for Olympic qualifiers – a first for the legacy sport.
Highest gross advertising sales in magazine’s history, exceeding $350,000.
First time in USFA history the magazine produced a profit.
158% ad placement increase vs. historical average.
66.7% of all advertisers committed to a yearly 4x run.