I need a logo. I really do. All the cool kids have got them, apparently. Well, some cool kids. When Andy Murray unveiled his bizarre motif this week, he became the latest in a line of sports stars to seemingly feel the need to brand themselves.
It’s just that most others didn’t create something which would look more at home on the sleeve of a black shirt in 1930s Germany.
Nazi Schutzstaffel links aside, the whole idea still seems to me to be off the wall.
To be fair to Murray, he is just copying his friends. Novak Djokovic’s squiggle, which was launched nearly three years ago via a YouTube video, was supposedly inspired by the Greek alphabet, medieval Serbian lettering and birds in flight.
Roger Federer has an initial-inspired logo, while Rafael Nadal’s is a pair of bull horns that are supposedly refer to his nickname “the raging bull” but look more like the symbol for a barbecued spare ribs restaurant.
Victoria and David Beckham also have logos. If anyone was going to, they would.
But my question remains: why does Murray, or any sports star for that matter, need a logo any more than I do – or you?
It is not, I understand, to be used as branding on a saleable clothing range. No, he is just going to show it off on his own apparel – T-shirts, tennis racquets and bags.
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I assume it is in case someone doesn’t know who he is – a sort of glorified name badge, a bit like the ones handed out at corporate events. Admittedly, one of those little bits of white paper, tucked into a plastic sleeve and clipped to your lapel with a metal clamp, wouldn’t be particularly practical while playing tennis.
You can see it now at next year’s Wimbledon. The Duke of Kent will be watching the final, preparing to present the trophy to the winner, when suddenly, he nudges his companions: “Who’s that cross-looking fellow again?” he’ll mutter. “I recognise him from somewhere, but I’m just not sure.”
“Can’t you see the logo on his shirt?” his companion will reply. “It’s a black squiggle, which looks a bit like a Nazi symbol crossed with one of those magic eye puzzles. It must be that Andy Murray bloke.”
The logo is, it is claimed, designed to reflect not just Murray’s initials (a sloping A placed on top of an M), but also his connection with the number 77 – referencing the fact that when he won Wimbledon last year, it had been 77 years since another British man had done the same.
OK, I’m not coy about the fact that I’m not a huge fan of Murray. Yes, he’s a lovely tennis player. Yes, he’s achieved great sporting things and does some good. But that doesn’t mean I have to like him. And this latest stunt has just irritated me even further.
He has always made it quite clear in the past that he doesn’t like the media. He wants to keep away from celebrity and resents the intrusion into his life that his amazing tennis-playing skills have brought.
He barely showed his face at Strictly Come Dancing when his mum was on it because he was oh so camera shy – yet he wants to reinvent himself as an entire brand? A person being a brand is the ultimate in celebrity. It means: “I am above ordinary mortals. No longer am I solely a person with human strengths and weaknesses. I am now a concept.”
The concept, the designer of the logo said this week, was to “capture Andy’s energy and spirit”. In a black squiggle.
For starters, I’m never sure Murray actually has that much energy. Obviously, he is physically fit to do what he does. But his manner, his demeanour and his laboured, bored teenager-like speech, always hit me with about as much energy as a hibernating tortoise.
Perhaps Murray’s brand, therefore, represents not what he actually is, but what he wants to become.
Thinking about it, maybe we should all become brands. Get rid of our human personalities and replace them with a polished, clip art image of what we want the outside world to see when they think of the concept of “us”. In reality, it’s only the natural step from the image doctoring we carry out every day through our social networking sites.
If I can’t beat them, I might as well join them. I’m opening the Bradley brand to design agencies for tender. I urge you all to do the same.
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