We set about creating a new image for Magnus, and an
online presence that would help him gather support for his new challenge.
Retirement means different things to different men. For some it will be days pottering in the shed, tending to tomatoes in the greenhouse and becoming furniture in the local pub. For others it means swimming 2.4 miles through open water, cycling 112 miles along the coast against trade winds, before running a full 26.2 mile marathon under the heat of the Hawaiian sun. Magnus Backstedt is the latter.
Having retired twice from a professional cycling career that saw him win the 2004 Paris-Roubaix and the 19th Stage in the 1998 Tour De France, Magnus Backstedt set his sights on the Ironman; a gruelling triathlon that pushes men and women to the very limits of physical endurance. The man is a mountain, built like a viking, and demands the highest performance from both himself and his team.
Magnus needed to engage his existing fans, who have followed him for years, whilst widening his appeal to a new audience. He also needed to inspire confidence in prospective sponsors, communicating his past achievements, and the legitimacy of his name as an investment. It was our challenge to create an identity that communicated the heritage of the man, and a website that reached fans and sponsors wherever they were.
We based Magnus' new identity on the interlocking sections of a bike chain. It celebrates his heritage as a rider, but also communicates his drive to move forward. It was our aim to represent Magnus as the Ironman to his audience; a strong athlete with a strong future. The image of metal, technology and a man coming together to create a precision machine is a powerful one, and one that sponsors would want to buy in to.
Capturing an athlete
Whilst Magnus had a great catalogue of images to use for the timeline, we needed photography that reflected his current status and relevance as an athlete. It wasn’t enough to take Magnus to a studio and photograph him posing by his bike, we needed to communicate his authenticity as a rider, and his inner strength as an athlete. We needed a mountain. In the cold of February 2013 our Creative Director James and photographer Darren went out into the snow to capture Magnus in his element. Flying down descents, and pushing through icy climbs, Magnus cut a striking figure against the backdrop of the mountains. The resulting imagery provided a powerful introduction to an athlete that just won’t back down.
“As a professional athlete, I strive for the very best from myself and my team. Working with Ethos, I got that.”
It was important that the site reached Magnus’ audience wherever they were. It was our challenge to create a responsive site that delivered a consistent style and experience to every screen, without compromising on content.
Movement became an important way of reflecting Magnus across the site. When a user moves to a new section, we used a lateral animation to show that they are changing lanes, as opposed to a vertical movement when they are going deeper into content. This also meant that there was no blank screen whilst new content loads. The site could be as responsive and agile as the man himself.
Magnus strapped a GoPro camera to his bike as he flew down a descent. The result is a full screen video that plays behind the milestones of his career. This mean that as viewers were exploring what Magnus has achieved, they were able to see the road through his eyes, bringing them closer to his style and experience of riding.
So much for retirement.