The Greatest, The People’s Champ, GOAT.
Whatever you know him as, you know him. Muhammad Ali is known worldwide for his humanitarian work, athletic prowess and charismatic personality. He’s an icon that’s larger-than life, untouchable by time. In our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, he’s more than an icon -- he’s our city’s native son. He is Louisville. And he leaves an amazing legacy in the form of a cultural center and interactive museum known as the Muhammad Ali Center.
Every year, the Ali Center hosts a fundraising gala known as The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards that honors distinctive individuals who are making significant contributions toward securing peace, social justice, human rights, and social capital in their communities and on a global basis. Proceeds from the gala support educational initiatives, community programming, and on-site exhibitions at the Ali Center.
The evening is an international, world-class gala. It’s the Oscars of the Humanitarian world, and should be presented with the same style, elegance and decorum. They came to us to make that happen. They brought OOH onto the team to craft a design and theme worthy of the GOAT, which included a save the date, RSVP, invitation, program and a separate evergreen sponsorship packet. We rolled up our sleeves and got into the ring to make something truly special for our friends at the Ali Center.
First, we created a logo lockup for the event name itself that could be carried through all the materials. The look and feel was designed to be sophisticated and reflect the level of exclusivity and honor that the awards exude.
Our design’s imagery and symbolism was grounded in Muhammad Ali, himself. As the awards are an extension of his legacy, we wanted his presence to be felt in every piece. Ask anyone to quote Ali and the first thing most will say is his famous words “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Most people know him for his boxing legacy, but we wanted the invitation to reflect his humanitarian legacy and decided to use that famous quote to our advantage.
We created a design and theme that functioned, on the surface, by presenting Muhammad’s famous quote, yet hid a deeper meaning that truly reflected everything the Humanitarian Awards stand for. A single beautiful flower and bee eloquently paid tribute to his quote with these accompanying words:
“A single honey bee can pollinate 5,000 flowers in one day. Just like those gentle creatures bouncing from blossom to blossom, our honorees make the world more beautiful by touching the lives of others.”
What did our friends at Ali Center think of this approach? There were tears. There were hugs. There was laughter. Muhammad Ali and the significance of the awards is a heavy task to fit into print collateral, and we delivered a knockout punch. We didn’t just make a pretty invitation -- we got to the core of what the gala stood for and who Muhammad is. We created something that paid homage to Ali’s legacy while still looking forward and honoring the work that the humanitarians are doing now.
Any Louisvillian lucky enough will gush about the time they ran into Lonnie at Kroger, or saw Muhammad pass by in a car. Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown. Lucky for Louisville, it’s us. And lucky for OOHology, we had the honor of playing a small part in continuing his legacy and furthering Greatness in the world.