The Qatari World Cup Brand
The attention of the world was captured when Qatar was awarded the hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup - and not always for the right reasons. Fans from around the world wondered how such a small nation, relatively unknown in the football hall of fame, could host such a massive event. Surely, with relatively humble sports facilities, limited transport infrastructure, and an eye-watering climate of extreme heat, they were unprepared for a mass convergence of spectators, or to organise one of the most important tournaments on the planet.
Faced with such reservations from the outside world, Qatar needed a strong campaign to convince the industry, fans and onlookers that they had the muster to host a spectacular event and much, much more.
What they needed was to brand their event in a way that captured our interest and held onto it while they proved they had the metal to succeed.
So, what is the Qatari World Cup brand?
The branding for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar has evolved, from the initial bid branding through to the official branding that will carry the nation into the tournament. And, though the brand has evolved, its overarching message has been the same throughout:
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a celebration of football and of the power of football to unite. It will be held in a country proud of its traditions and culture. It will be a spectacle of modernity, innovation, ambition and achievement that catapults their small nation into the hearts and minds of the world.
Qatar’s branding has been, throughout its evolution, simple, using elegant Arabic script or modern adaptations of traditional calligraphy, the colours of the nation and the FIFA brand, and the well-loved image of the World Cup trophy. It has also been playful and inviting - showing a side to Arab culture that many were unaware of until now.
From catchy slogans and the official emblem to the mystery mascot - Qatar has been busy creating a brand that captures our attention and promises a fantastic event in 2022.
So, what does it all mean?
There are several slogans associated with Qatar’s 2022 World Cup - ‘Expect Amazing’, ‘Delivering Amazing’, ‘Road to 2022’, and ‘#See You In 2022’.
The light-hearted slogan, ‘Expect Amazing’, has been playfully tantalising the world since the 2010 bid. It promises a unique and exceptional tournament. It’s designed to create a sense of anticipation and to entice us to follow the nation's journey to the 2022 tournament.
And, Qatar has been delivering on its ‘Expect Amazing’ promise ever since they won their bid for the World Cup. It is a tournament being built from scratch and in record time. Seven brand new stadiums and a fully refurbished eighth; built to typify Qatari culture and tradition, to astound visitors with their innovative architecture and beauty, and to keep fans and players cool with ground-breaking cooling technology. A new airport, a new metro system, new tram and light rail systems, new highways and a new port; will all make travelling to and from the country, and around the country a breeze. Not to mention a host of new accommodation, new sport and tournament venues, and an abundance of new tourist attractions built to support the event. All of which have, or are being built to the highest environmental standards, incorporating a host of innovative technology, and ensuring a positive legacy for all. The ‘Delivering Amazing’ slogan, which cleverly follows the ‘Expect Amazing’ concept, shouts of the promises kept, reassuring the world that Qatar will indeed prove their metal to succeed.
Continuing to invite us on their journey to the World Cup, are the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy’s* ‘Road to 2022’ social media pages and their hashtag, #SeeYouIn2022. Social media pages show us the delivery of the Stadiums, the tournament venues and the infrastructure as it happens. They allow us to witness a host of milestones that will lead, not only to a successful World Cup but to an event that will unite us. Indeed, the #SeeYouIn2022 hashtag, which adorns promotional videos, clips, social media posts, news and merchandise, feels like a personal invitation to take part in this show-stopping global event.
Together the slogans used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have a single purpose - to inspire us to join the journey, to transform perceptions, and unite us across the cultural divide at a tournament designed for everyone.
The official 2022 World Cup emblem was unveiled at 20:22 pm on the 3rd September 2019. An image of the emblem was projected for the nation to see on many of Doha’s iconic landmarks, including Doha Tower, Al Zubarah Fort, the National Archive Museum at Souq Waqif, and Katara Cultural Village Amphitheatre. Simultaneously, it was projected onto major landmarks in 24 countries around the world, from London to Moscow, Baghdad to Madrid.
The reveal of the emblem caused much global excitement and, following the event, much discussion as to its meaning.
For some, it is an obvious homage to local and regional culture. For others, it strays too far from the traditional emblem designs of the past. Whatever your viewpoint, Qatar’s World Cup emblem is certainly unique and layered with symbolism.
The shape of the emblem follows the design of the World Cup winners trophy, but it has been reimagined to represent a type of woollen shawl. The ‘shal’ (شال) is worn by nationals in Arab and Gulf countries in the winter - a nice reference to the winter season in which the games will be held. The undulating curves of the design are also characteristic of the desert landscape to the west and south of the country.
The unbroken loop of the logo - which follows the outline of the number eight, symbolic of the 8 stadiums that will host the matches - is adorned with a variety of distinctive markings. The motifs are similar to regional designs found on traditional shawls, men’s headwear and sedu cushions in a majlis (Majlis refers to a space, such as a sitting room, where guests are received and entertained). They also feature a geometric, Islamic art style football, in reference to the game, and diacritic dots used in Arabic script.
Complementing the emblem is the typeface, which celebrates Qatar’s heritage using traditional Arabic calligraphy intertwined with a new, contemporary font, taking inspiration from the region and Asia.
The emblem is white, its distinctive markings are maroon, and it sits on a maroon background, which emulates the colours of the Qatari national flag.
Against the aspirational and exciting slogan branding, the new emblem elegantly focuses on conveying messages about Arab traditions and culture, the game, and the uniting power of football.
The mascot for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has yet to be publicised, though 2020 seems likely for its unveiling. The Arabian Oryx is the national animal of Qatar and was used as the mascot for the 2006 Asian Games. It is currently one of the mascots for the country’s national carrier, Qatar Airways - the other mascots include a camel, a falcon and a desert fox. Many other mascots for national events and sporting tournaments have been used to represent Qatar throughout their short history, including the falcon, the desert fox, the jerboa (a desert rodent), the caracol (a type of desert cat) and the dolphin, as well as an oyster and a little Qatari guy. Each has represented specific aspects of their host nation. So, what will the 2022 mascot be?
Qatar may again choose the Oryx, a symbol of adaptability and resilience; or the Falcon, for its vision and its competitive and courageous nature. Or maybe, they will choose the Arabian horse, a character of speed, courage and endurance. Surely any of these mascots would epitomise the nature of a country with the vision and ambition to host the first World Cup in the Middle East, and one that can build a tournament from the ground up. And, certainly, they embody the competencies required for the game.
We’ll have to wait and see….
The 2022 Identity
Qatar’s 2022 World Cup brand is as unique as each of the 21 host nations that have held the tournament before. While it embodies the FIFA brand, it is wholly distinctive - representing its nation and its traditions and culture.
However, the brand represents more than the game and the nation. The brand has been designed to symbolise the country’s ambition to succeed, to deliver beyond anyone’s expectations, and to share their success with the world.
If you would like more information on the world of event branding, read our article, The Right Brand.
Read our Qatari National Identity article to find out more about Qatar’s national flag, emblem and mascots.
From football tournaments to stadium openings and the 2022 World Cup mascot's debut, 2021 in Qatar will be a year to remember.
Designed to capture your attention and create a connection, branding is essential to any event, especially one as loved as the FIFA World Cup.
We represent national identity through a host of means - colours, symbols, emblems, illustrations - Qatar is no exception. Find out more here...