Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What I expect from the Sabres September 20th...

Today on Icethetics, we saw a big scoop as a photographic sampling of several NHL teams' possible new third Jersey logos was put up on his great site. I love the internets.

Icethetics Third Jersey Logos

It seems like with any leak you are usually guaranteed a few things. Sketchy details from the 'leaker', shitty pictures, and tons of speculation. This is no different as included was a shitty picture of the Sabres and a slightly different than we remember vintage logo.

Notice there are indeed silver elements in the sabre handle and bordering the circular part of the crest. Well I have been thinking long and hard and truly believe that this picture as bad as it is, to be authentic.

I also confidently expect the following elements to be added:

1. Dark Blue to match the current jerseys (not a big surprise for most)
2. Front Numbers
3. Front tie-up laces

This will be introduced as an Alternate jersey. Note it cannot be called a vintage uniform anymore because of the distinctive elements not present in the royal blue 1970-1996 version or the 2006 Royal blue alternate.

My take on the design:

The Sabres know full well there will be a large number of vintage logo/uniform enthusiasts somewhat skeptical of the new RBK Edge system and its well publicized issues compared to its air-knit predecessor. So their answer to appeal to the masses was to design "vintage style" uniform. The old royal blue classic uniform is a bit dated and in my opinion, not as attractive as the white classic uniform. So they created a new look very respectful of the classic design but contains new elements that would persuade fans to make a trip to the merchandise stand, Sabres store, or NHL shop.

EDIT: Mad props to Dave (user DRutka) from the Sabres board putting together a very solid high resolution idea of what to expect.

I think this is pretty damn close to the real thing. Nice job Dave!

From a SabresNotSlugs perspective:

The darkening of the jersey to match the current HSBC "paint job" and and potential popularity of the jersey could be the beginning of the end of the slug as the primary jersey. We all heard the talk about not making the circular logo work, and now all of a sudden we are going to be skating around in circular "vintage style" glory. If the team got this forthcoming design right, fans won't want to see the team wear this for 15 games all over again like in 2006. We saw how great an RBK Edge white jersey would look in the winter classic. We now know the circular logo not working crap was indeed a line of crap...the success and popularity could parlay into a logo mutiny leading to the demotion of the slug to an alternate jersey/logo or the removal of it all together.

So read this and hold onto this idea...if you wind up loving this new look coming down the road...don't just sit there and say to yourself how you really like the vintage style jersey on the ice and in the arena full-time but the Sabres will never do anything about it. Do something about it this time and let the team, news, and local TV know about it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sleeping with the enemy...

Dear God in heaven, Hell No! This is just about as bad as it gets for me...Somewhere out there, in Cheektowaga little Timmy rests his head on these guys every night.

The only thing worse I can think of is selling a Hitler Bobblehead.

Part of the embarassment I have for this logo is looking how even more ridiculous the slug looks in the merchandise that the team is pushing along with it. Is there really a die hard fan out there that would really buy this for themselves or their kid?

I guarantee a studly bachelor(ette) will not be getting one scrap of ass rocking the slug sheets.

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.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Be sure to check out icethetics...

Hi guys,

Chris over at the NHL Tournament of Logos launched his new blog. Be sure to check it out! Partnered with skilled designer Matt aka "Ghetto Farmboy", Icethetics is also featuring top notch rebrands of various NHL teams...starting with the Sabres for which there is a sneak preview!

I'm sure you will see first hand how a talented "amateur" putting a "professional" designer to shame.

Bookmark it!