I'm Crazy Pickle Moustache. I have a pickle for a moustache... Now give me some Kendeigh!

>> Wednesday

Via Shysterball, my attention was drawn to this article by WISN sports anchor Andy Kendeigh (pronounced "ken-day" I hope, or else my title is even dumber than it already was). In it, he argues--nicely, I might add--that the Brewers need to ditch the sporadic throwback uni nights and just make a call, one way or another, whether to readopt the popular "MB" ball-and-glove logo. 

However, he closes by suggesting that if the Brewers were to readopt the ball-and-glove logo, they should retain the current color scheme, giving "the current players a look of their own with respect to the past." Unfortunately, there's a simple reason why Kendeigh and everyone else who suggests this is wrong: It's called branding.

By abandoning the ball-and-glove and the old blue and yellow team colors for subsequent monograms and navy-based uniforms, the Brewers traded in a unique, timeless brand for a generic, transient one. In my opinion, it was, and continues to be, a horrible business move, and--without having any way to prove this--I would hypothesize that the Brewers would have made more in merchandise sales since 1993 had they never replaced the old color scheme and logo. And that assumes the uniform changes since then caused a temporary bump in merch sales--an assumption I don't have time to research but would proabably hold true.

The problem with simply bringing back the old logo while keeping the current color scheme, script, and uniform is that it would create an unholy marriage of those two branding alternatives--simple/timeless and fashion-forward. As an organization, you have to make a call. Either choose to be the Yankees--shunning any notable alteration to a classic look--or the Astros--constantly rebranding to keep pace with fashion trends, no matter how outrageous the results.

The ball-and-glove represent timeless values of simplicity and cleverness. Metallic gold trim and odd-shaped, shadow-effect numbers (Matt--you know how I HATE THOSE FANCY NUMBERS) represent acceptable aesthetics circa 2001. The two have nothing in common, so why try to marry them up? At worst, they'd end up like the Nationals, whose 2-D / 3-D mashup serves as a fantastic tribute to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but sucks as a baseball uniform. At best, they'd end up like the Padres--a team that chases every fleeting fashion trend yet stubbornly holds onto a monogram that doesn't particularly go well with any of the team's multiple rebrandings. That said, the Padres' "SD" is generic enough not to clash with anything. The ball-and-glove is too distinct, I think, to get away with this.

The Yankees approach and the Astros approach are both perfectly acceptable, but the in-betweens are rarely pretty. If the Brewers' marketing people were smart like me, they would opt for the timeless look, primarily because it jives better with midwestern values of stasis and being homely. Not only does this approach carry intrinsic advantages of familiarity and resistance to early obsolescence, it would also--in the Brewers' case--come with an instantly recognizable, one-of-a-kind logo and rarely-used color scheme.

So I hope you're reading this, Brewers front office people. And if you are, my consulting fee is $130/hour. Pay up.


Paul 7:29 PM  

An outstanding argument. I like the last paragraph best.

What would the Cubs be considered? Somehow they have maintained more traditional looks while still chasing the marketability of new flash. I think they actually lie closer to the Yankee end of the spectrum.

To me, the more a team changes its logo, the more desperate it looks.

Paul 7:30 PM  

Any where did you pull the ridiculous Adam Sandler reference from? Terrible title for a good piece.

Vinnie 11:19 PM  

Come on... Kendeigh? How could any red-blooded American think of anything else seeing that name?

Yeah, I'd say that the Cubs are more in the Yankees category since they haven't significantly changed their cap monogram, primary logo, or home uniforms since the '40s.

The White Sox are one of those weird cases in that they used to change constantly but seem to have settled on stable identity. Given the popularity and staying power (now 19 years) of the black getup, I could see them going another generation or more without rebranding.

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