'Strike' the competition – Bowling Allies Rebrand in 2018

An industry brings in a refreshed 2018. Two industry competitors enter the EOFY with a whole new look and one of them with a completely different name.

Our competitors: Kingpin Bowling and AMF Bowling – now Zone Bowling.

Over the last decade we have seen our bowling alleys evolve in to a veritable playground for both kids and adults. Bowling, billiards, arcades and laser tag to name a few. So both businesses are re-positioning themselves to show off their new services and focus their target markets.

But what is even more interesting is Ardent Leisure owns both brands both in Australia and New Zealand. AMF Bowling, now Zone Bowling is a group of over 40 AMF bowling centres and five Kingpin bowling lounges that have what Ardent calls an "upmarket hip format."

So let's take a closer look at the brands.

AMF Bowling

AMF Bowling Australia is the counter part of the American Machine and Foundry (AMF). It began as a joint venture with pinspotters in 1959.

After trading hands a couple times over the years, in December 2017, it was purchased by The Entertainment and Education Group (TEEG) combining it to it's extensive entertainment group encompassing Timezone, AMF, Kingpin and Playtime. AMF bowling centres in Australia were rebranded as Zone Bowling. Centres in New Zealand were rebranded Xtreme Entertainment.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMF_Bowling_Australia

What's the same:

Well it is clear the new branding is very reminiscent of the old. Colours are the same, square san serif typeface and even the little triangle got a feature in the middle of the line. Almost a through back to the original logo, like they are saying, we're still the same kool guys, but with a fresh new look.

What's new:

In line with keeping a couple throw back pieces in the logo they have also introduced this new comic style illustrations into it's collateral. This further echos its retro style, which is on trend but also a bit of a shout out to the hey day of the sport.

What we like:

With a clean finish and lines the retro style is very much on trend and does tap into a younger market. Considering it always had that feeling, it has definitely been captured in this new look.

What we dislike:

Though the look is clean there are a lot of fonts going on and colour highlights which doesn't always feel relevant or necessarily.

One other thing that got me thinking is why is the arrow pointing left? Options:

  1. Pointing Up: Not only a positive direction but it could be applied on the alleys, facing the customer and the arrow would the be pointing down the lane.

  2. Pointing Down: A true throwback to the original AMF logo.

  3. Pointing Right: Not only a very well known symbol for forward thinking but also a symbol used for the play button on devices, creating a homonym for time to play.

Kingpin Bowling

Kingpin is not just about Bowling, it is a full entertainment experience. It's key difference to AMF that pitches it at a more mature target market is that it has a fully licensed bar, curated food menus, DJ's and the widest activities range in Australia.

What's the same:

Kingpin really threw out the baby with the bath water, a whole new image. We only found one element that connected with the old branding and that was a touch of purple. I think this was a subtle call back the original branding.

What's new:


What we like:

Clean, simple and much more elegant. The use of the slash, which is similar to the spare symbol ties the new modern black and white (With a touch of purple) look and feel into the bowling arena nicely – giving it more of a bar/lounge feel. Subtle yet relevant.

This slant then becomes a branding element used throughout it's collateral.

What we dislike:

There isn't too much to hate here . . . well if you think about it, there isn't too much to it at all. I guess the question is, is it over simplified? Does it really say anything? but in saying that does it really need to be anything more?

This is definitely up to you to decide but you can't deny it works.

It's great to see two great brands really take the brand positing and communications seriously. Really drill down on their target markets and bring new life to their brands. Excited to see many more great new things from these brands and all TEEG!