Friday, July 11, 2008

The Iowa Chops and a charging...squeeling...stylized...Pig.

Ok...My wife grew up in Indianola, IA a quick shot away from Des Moines so I was mildly interested in seeing the Iowa Stars re branding under new affiliation with the Anaheim Ducks...I wound up feeling embarrassed for her.

When I told her and showed her at work I received a text back "Not now, the cable guy is here running some wire and then the mailman is showing up to deliver a special package and the milkman plans on helping out."

Weird...we don't get milk delivered. But I'm sure she'll hate the new logo too.

This is brutal. Howdy Slug pig hippo. He's missing the apple in his mouth too.

Ok I still might ask the father-in-law to mail out a hat though. He sure does know how to grill up a thick kick ass pork chop from the Hy-Vee.

Spanky Ham up there was kind of growing on me in a lovable porky dork kind of way, a reminder of myself growing up a husky pants wearing chubster. The logo does not at all represent the tenacity that Schlegel Sports insist that the logo represents. Maybe C.H.O.P.S is this instead just wrapped up cleverly in Schlegel's corporate "Steak house" font? Unwanted Association Alert!

Then again Schlegel Sports is based out of Texas...Steers and know. How bold or crazy is an organization who SPECIALIZES in SPORTS MARKETING AND MANAGEMENT could be so off and then boast in pure confidence that people in Iowa will like it. They might not like it but now you have the attention of a lot more people and from what I learned about the Sabres slug phenomenon: as long as the CHOPS are a decent on ice product, they will move merchandise and they will pull this logo off. But don't you think that Iowans want to be known for more than just the agriculture? Granted they are great hardworking people in and out of their big ticket industry but I'm sure the climate of the state as a whole is sensitive, similar to Buffalo in that both would like to shed their respective "Hick Farmer" and "Chicken Wing" stereotypes. But with Wells Fargo arena becoming the "Pig Pen" or "Meat Locker" and throwing salmonella infested pork chops on the ice for hat tricks, they have positioned themselves to further monetize the stereotype that is acutally is the state's huge 12 Billion dollar pork industry.

Seriously PETA is headquartered here in Norfolk and I don't think they would be down with chucking pork pucks on the ice. They are a PR pain in the ass.

I could accept the "menacing pig" if he was actually this concept from one of the members of

I mean I can understand. My now hometown AHL Norfolk Admirals definitely "piggy" backs its name and appeals to the home of the worlds largest Naval base and large military community. They have their own team identity with the city even though they have changed leagues and affiliatation multiple times over the last decade. It made sense...but in this case, I think the Chops should have looked for something else.

So far the polls on the Des Moines Register do not reflect such approval in being associated with a Delicious piece of grilled mammal flesh.

The current tally as of Friday (today)

Love it 32% (571 votes)
Don't care 10% (172 votes)
Hate it 58% (1045 votes)
Total Votes: 1788

Des Moines Register article and poll on unveiling

Taking a page right out of the Sabres marketing playbook...let all of the negative attention somehow be spun into the most successful guerrilla marketing campaign in the history of the universe and it will translate into wide spread awareness across demographics and cash at the box office and merchandise stands...regardless of the ridicule it may bring the city, team, and State of Iowa. I'm certain the Iowa Chops' launch is well-backed, kick-backed, and buffered by the Iowa Pork Producer Industry/Council. Remember, people in your focus and test groups agree with your identity for the team doesn't mean rest of the mob will "buy" it...but then again I could be wrong and I probably am if people haven't learned their lesson. Most of the hockey nation is talking all about the minor league Iowa Chops right now in the middle of July.

So "brand awareness" no longer needs to be marched together with positive public approval to successfully validate a logo and brand identity as a success.

So am I wrong in this conclusion? Has marketing strategy gone from delivering well conceived long lasting time tested iconic logos and identities to creating something either just good or bad enough to last 5-10 years, all so they can repackage the bullshit and cash in again on a new look and bring home more uh...bacon? Looks like it to me.


Drew Celestino said...

It's spreading... God help us.

Nate in Lake City, IA said...

I'll be honest. As a hockey fan in Iowa, I thought of what mascots could have been better than a hog. I had a very hard time thinking of something Iowan that would fit a hockey team. However, driving through Iowa it is impossible not to notice the thousands of hog confinements which individually house thousands of hogs across the entire state. Hogs are a HUGE business in Iowa and I know that
after awhile, the name/logo will start to grow on people. I know that the Sabres logo was a huge let down when it was first introduced but eventually for various reasons people have eventually embraced it. Des Moines has no hockey history to speak of, save for their USHL team, the Buccaneers (Pirates in Iowa? Go figure)so they are basically starting from scratch. In a market like Iowa, you have to make your team marketable to survive which means that if you have to sell out to the pork industry, please by all means sell out as long as AHL hockey is going to stay in Des Moines. Anyway, things could be worse, right?

Charlie @ Sabres Not Slugs said...

Well said Nate. With the decreasing attendance at Wells Fargo about 1,200 or so below the AHL average the branding was the franchise's best chance of survival in Des Moines.

Uncle Frog said...

I do like the other logo better, but what are you going to do? As long as there is hockey in Iowa, I'm going to root for them... whether I like the logo or not...

PS: Thanks for the Hy-Vee shout out!

Paula said...

Thanks for writing this.