For the past 30+ years, O’Neill has been a splintered brand existing as independently
run licenses all over the world. Recently a Dutch holding company bought back all the
licenses and decided to move forward as a single, global brand with a single, global
message. Late in 2007, O’Neill initially came to us to help determine their brand
positioning within the surf and snow industry.
Our suggestion was for O’Neill to take the higher ground of a company dedicated to
creating the toys and tools that allow us to play with the forces of nature. And to base
their credibility in Jack O’Neill, their cold water heritage, and their history of product
innovations (they are a company of firsts: the first wetsuit, the first double-blind stitch
seam, the first surf leash, the first board bag, etc).
We started by developing a Brand DNA with a brand look, tone, and feel. After we
all agreed on the brand's territory, we came up with a creative positioning based on
the tagline "First In, Last Out". This surfer credo worked in many angles: it captured
Jack’s pioneerism and passion for innovation, it enconpasses the endless hunger
every surfer/snowboarder has for one more ride, and it could be easily translated to
a broader, non-hardcore slice of the youth market, as a way of approaching life.
We wrote their brand principles, redesigned their logo, created new brand marks for
their clothing, suggested new products, dreamt up events, designed retail stores,
and even drew up their retail hang tags. And of course we came up with advertising.
Sadly, of all the work we presented, the only thing that they are currently using is the
tagline. Maybe some of this work will see the light of day in the future, but for now,
it proudly lives on this website and as one of my favorite pieces of work.