Tokyo, 18 November 2011. The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has launched its FIVB Heroes campaign in Japan. “Our mission is to bring the spectacular of volleyball to the world,” emphasised FIVB President Jizhong Wei. “The World Cup in Japan offers another great opportunity for us to promote the sport.” FIVB started a rebranding project about a year ago that includes a new corporate logo and a whole new look and feel to its events. The new PR campaign is a core element of the project.
FIVB Executive Vice President André Meyer explains: “We are asking our top athletes in both variants – Beach Volleyball and Volleyball – to get into the spotlight, to further promote Volleyball as a highly athletic and highly professional sport, played around the globe with a strong brand in the background. This is what we are aiming for. No one can tell the story of our sport better than the athletes themselves. They are perfect role models – powerful, expressive and dynamic.”
In total, 33 volleyball players from 16 countries were selected as FIVB Heroes, 22 of whom are competing at the World Cup (Women’s tournament: 4-18 November. Men’s tournament: 20 November-4 December).
They are as follows:
Women: Sheilla Castro (Brazil), Yimei Wang (China), Milagros Cabral de la Cruz (Dominican Republic), Margareta Kozuch (Germany), Simona Gioli (Italy), Saori Kimura and Yoshie Takeshita (Japan), Yeon-Koung Kim (South Korea), Jovana
Brakocevic (Serbia) and Destinee Hooker (USA), and Men: Facundo Conte (Argentina), Giba and Murilo Endres (Brazil), Wilfredo León Venero (Cuba), Simone Parodi (Italy), Kunihiro Shimizu and Tatsuya Fukuzawa (Japan), Zbigniew Bartman and Bartosz Kurek (Poland), Maxim Mikhaylov (Russia), Sasha Starovic (Serbia) and Clayton Stanley (USA).
In addition to these stars, 29 beach Volleyball players were made FIVB Heroes three months ago at the World Championships in Rome.
Only players who have won ‘MVP’ awards at FIVB events have been chosen to be part of the campaign. Priority was given to younger players who are expected to continue their careers for another three or four years.
Photo shoots and high-speed film shoots have been staged in Montreux, Gstaad, Tokyo and Rome. In addition, super-slow-motion footage has been used to emphasise the excitement of the sport and the physical excellence of the athletes. Thirty-second TV commercials and event posters have also been produced.
FIVB will be seeking to raise its profile at both final weekends at the World Cup in Japan’s Yoyogi Stadium. The over-life-size statues of Russian star player Ekaterina Gamova and Brazilian Murilo Endres (made of PU foam and nearly 5 m tall) will be put on display at the stadium, and other attractions are also being prepared, including large displays of the FIVB Heroes in front of the stadium and a Fan Stand, where fans can picture themselves surrounded by the Heroes using a blue screen.
“It’s an honour to be part of the campaign. It will help to create more role models for future generations of players and a platform for stars,” emphasised Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia.
Gamova and Murilo in XXL
As part of the promotion for the “FIVB Heroes” campaign, a German company has produced three-dimensional giant statues of Volleyball stars Ekaterina Gamova of Russia and Murilo Endres of Brazil. The models are each around five metres high (including a one-metre solid wood base) and customized in PU foam. They took three weeks to make, and weigh about 400 kg each, of which 250 kg is the base.
Ekaterina and Murilo were scanned with a portable 3D laser scanner (worth roughly €13,000) in Moscow and Gdansk during summer. The process took about 15 minutes each. The two athletes had to remain silent and as still as possible in order to guarantee a first-class 3D computer model. The 3D model was digitally enlarged to a four-gigabyte file and divided into segments. A milling machine was then used to create the 3D sculpture. Eventually, the final touches were made by three scene painters and airbrush artists. In total, ten people were involved in the production of each model. The shipping from Europe to Japan took about five weeks.
Ekaterina is a double FIVB World Championship winner and Olympic Silver medallist with the Russian national team. She was named Most Valuable Player at the World Championships in 2010. Ekaterina is 2.02 m tall and was born in Chelyabinsk on 17 October 1980. Murilo is 30 years old and has won five World Leagues with the Brazil national team and two World Championships (he was also named MVP at the World Championships in 2010). In 2008 he won the Olympic Silver medal.
More information is available at www.FIVB.org and www.FIVBheroes.com (the new official site of the campaign, which includes features and TV clips of the Heroes as well as plenty of Volleyball background information, fact sheets, etc.).
Please note that a Japanese version is available as of now.
Richard Baker, FIVB Communications Director, +41 21 345 35 35,