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SBS – Six billion reasons for a new brand expression and counting

Technology & Data

SBS – Six billion reasons for a new brand expression and counting




SBS, the world’s most multicultural and multi lingual broadcaster began in the 1970s and it’s most recent identity was shaped in 1991. In those 17 years, Australia has changed a lot, media has changed a lot – and Australian’s understanding of multiculturalism has changed a lot. We needed a more contemporary brand expression for SBS, and one that better aligned with how audiences relate to their world.


We started where all good marketing starts – with great research. We knew it was time to modernize SBS, but we needed a compass to guide us as to how.

We commissioned an extensive piece of work with The Leading Edge to find out about multiculturalism, media behavior, and what people thought of SBS. The result was great news – what the staff and management of SBS aspire for the organization aligns with audience expectation. In short, audiences want SBS to help them expand their perspective, interest and connection to the world.

“A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined over time, the product of a thousand small gestures” Michael Eisner, CEO Disney

Our objective was to create a contemporary and holistic brand expression for SBS to better position the organization in the modern media world – one that would last for at least 10 years.

We determined to do that through every touch point we have – from advertising to building signage to the way we answer the phones.


The Issue
We need to personify a more exciting and contemporary version of multiculturalism to grow both as a medium and in influence for good in Australia.

The Insight
Our audience lives and thinks beyond the boundaries of geography, language or culture – they are explorers, engaged in many worlds.

The Truth
SBS is the only broadcaster with the capability to draw on the best content from everywhere. We don’t see countries or borders, we see only unique stories that enrich and entertain us. We tell the stories other broadcasters can’t or won’t, bringing you the stories of all humanity.

Six Billion Stories and counting ….. Diversity, global, inclusive, stories are the heart of entertainment and education, forward moving, always searching for more stories

Execution (see the pictures below)

This was a rare and precious opportunity to re-energize a whole organisation through a new rallying cry. We had to get the new expression across two national television channels, two national radio networks, a huge website, as well as stationery and building signage – plus get staff and partners excited! It was a huge job.

The resulting output included:

  • Over 400 individual audio elements
  • Over 1000 different individual motion design elements
  • 40 live action television idents
  • 40 web pages
  • 50 pieces of promotional collateral
  • 100 individual signs
  • A large advertising campaign

At a visual level, we are using:

  • Colour, all colours to represent diversity
  • Stories, as a way of communicating information about SBS
  • Our refreshed “Mercator map” logo for the world

In audio:

  • Many different vocalists and human voices to tell the story


It’s a success!

Research fielded within a month of launch has returned outstanding results for the new brand expression. The study found that the new SBS line “Six Billion Stories and counting” is already as well known among TV viewers as its old tag line of many years, and also better known than the ABC’s and Foxtel’s tag lines, after just two weeks on air.

When shown the current logos of all the free-to-air networks, the new SBS logo achieved the highest overall score of likeability, with a combined 44 percent of people saying that the logo was their “favourite” or “most liked”, well ahead of the other networks:

  1. SBS logo (44 percent)
  2. Seven Network logo (33 percent)
  3. ABC logo (32 percent)
  4. Nine (27 percent) and
  5. Ten (26 percent)

Some audience comments from research:

“inexhaustible possibilities”
“It’s a big thought, like Apple or Microsoft”
“The world at my fingertips”
“it is true and enticing and feels like it makes the world more open and available to you”
“a great way to sell what SBS provides”
“colorful, modern, interesting slogan”

And staff love it!


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