Updating a French Classic

Pathé, a world-renowned entertainment company founded in 1896 by Charles Pathé, produces world class films and operates the larg­est theater chain in Europe. Long considered one of the leading innovators in the entertainment industry, over time Pathé’s brand image and culture had lost relevance. The result was low employee satisfaction, low brand awareness among key audiences and diminished international sales. Pathé hired Trinity Brand Group to help the company regain focus and refresh its brand to make manifest the company’s core values and to solidify and broadcast its longevity as an iconic leader in the marketplace.



Identity Crisis

Once inextricably linked to the rich experience of a night at the cinema, Pathé had lost its emotional connection with consumers and had become just an ordinary place to watch a movie. Decades of management changes, decentralized operations and mergers with other companies left the brand fragmented and undefined, lacking a unifying purpose or mission. The current identity system had become cumbersome and inconsistent, and changing media demands meant there were gaps in content. Its marketing toolkit felt outdated and static, with the once iconic Charlie the Rooster (named for the company’s founder) appearing stiff and inflexible amidst today’s much more dynamic world of graphic design. The system needed to be updated, simplified and infused with the energy befitting of such an iconic brand.

Adding to the complexity of the assignment was Pathe’s acquisition of one of Paris’ cultural icons – the Gaumont theatre chain. Pathé needed to optimize the partnership and jointly market the two brands side by side without causing confusion.



A Renewed Sense of Purpose

To reintroduce Pathé as an innovative and dynamic entertainment brand, Trinity worked with company leaders to identify and articulate a new Pathé brand story. The core values that emerged — Independence, Innovation and Integrity – expressed a foundational purpose for the company and provided a unified platform to drive all subsequent verbal and visual brand messaging.



Meet the New Charlie

Trinity evolved Pathé’s brand identity by leveraging the rich heritage and powerful associations of Charlie the Rooster. Once stiff and inactive, we developed two- and three-dimensional silhouettes of the beloved rooster that were full of character and expressive of the brand’s rich, distinctive personality. The new Charlie “system” has the flexibility to extend across multiple lines of business and a wide range of consumer touch points, including movie posters, advertising, animated trailers, marketing materials, online, theater signage and environments.

We retained the valuable Pathé Yellow as the iconic driving force in all brand communications but modernized the look and feel by simplifying the color palette to include only the Pathe yellow, black and shades of grey. We also introduced a distinctive friendly, hand-written typeface to complement the already bold Trade Gothic typeface in the brand’s toolkit. We further expressed and extended the new system through the introduction of soft forms and architectural elements born from the original Pathé Talk Bubble. Trinity also developed a new identity and communications for the new partnership entity between Pathe and Gaumont, Les Cinemas GaumontPathe. The program included the launch a new loyalty program, monthly theatre magazine and events promotional calendar.

To ensure a consistent, cohesive expression of the new system, Trinity launched, an employee intranet site with brand assets and guidelines for all film and theater communications.

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