When Logos Go Bad (or at least cause protests, piracy and other mayhem in Winnipeg!)
To celebrate the opening week of the 2011-2012 NHL season, we'd like to share a fun current events anecdote about when logos go bad (or at least cause pirated
merchandise, pacifist protests, and other mayhem)
For those who don't follow professional hockey, the Winnipeg Jets have returned to the league after they were moved to Phoenix in 1996. Fast-forward 15 years: when the Atlanta Thrashers saw diminishing revenues and attendance but rarely made the playoffs, the league and the team's new ownership group, True North, decided to move them to Manitoba.
Winnipeg's original team was named the Jets because of the Royal Canadian Air Force's presence in the city. The new owners decided to revive the old name when they brought the Thrashers to town to acknowledge the city's hockey past. With the classic team name, however, came a new logo, announced a few months ago:
Some loved it, but some described it as too militaristic (here too) or just too bland.
Debate quieted down for a few months until these few days before the season started, when rumors started that True North was actively buying up rights to decades of old Jets logos. These rumors were later confirmed.
In a town that has a huge hockey legacy and yearned for well over a decade to get their team back, the crop of vintage logos has heaps of sentimental value (plus, the new logo wasn't exactly wowing everyone). The fear was that the new franchise owners would retire the old logo permanently. The confirmation that the new owners had acquired the rights has led to a bit of a panic, with people snapping up any old-logo merchandise they can find. Talks of a black market and bootlegging is circulating.
True North finally spoke publicly and now say they want to solidify the new logo before revisiting the old ones for retro purposes, and that the old logo isn't gone forever. Whether their intention was to do this all along or if the backlash got to them is up for interpretation. However, it shows the power of an audience, eh? Straddling the gap between new and old with something like this is a challenge companies like ours can definitely face when audiences are passionate, something we're aware of here at Revel.
PS: If you're thinking about all of the counterfeit old-logo merchandise that may pop up in the future, think bigger... check this shipment of new-logo goods from China. When new jerseys are retailing for several hundred dollars apiece and a whole town in need of an updated wardrobe, there's lots of money to be made!