Sorry for the delay in writing this post as the new name and logo for Reading’s Double A minor league baseball team was formally introduced as the Reading Fightin Phils on Saturday. (a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies). I originally planned to write my review on Sunday; however I felt that I owed more than my knee-jerk reaction which was mostly negative. Time has passed and my opinion on the matter did slightly change.
My initial impression was that the changes did little to elevate Reading’s brand. I may not be a fan of all the changes, I do favor some, but after future consideration I think the new identity set did meet the objectives of the rebranding efforts. As a marketer I always like to hold judgment of any advertisement, logo or concept until a see the creative brief, because initial reactions don’t matter, meeting objectives do. The objectives were: keeping a tie into Phillies brand while creating a new image that is fun, speaks to children and is based on local traditions.
According to the Fightin Phils press release “The new name of Fightin Phils pays homage to the team’s 46-year affiliation with the Philadelphia Phillies and references the big-league club’s nickname during the Whiz Kids era of the 1950s. The Fightins’ new name is highlighted by an ostrich logo that symbolizes the feisty bird that is now indigenous to Reading because of the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor.”
So outside of the Reading market the ostrich most likely does not have any symbolic value. But then again rarely does other popular minor league monikers. Names like IronPigs, Biscuits, Blue Rocks and the newly introduced Hops do somehow find a way to work both locally and nationally.
As a side note the identity was developed by the same agency, Brandiose, that created the new logo of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and previous work includes Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Let’s break it down.
Push. I am extremely neutral on the change from Phillies to Fightin Phils. To me the Fightin Phils is just a tag line or nickname that they adopted. No real change here.
A recent poll conducted by the local newspaper, the Reading Eagle, indicated that 87% of the fans do not like the new name. This is quite significant, but I say it’s mostly the respondent’s gut reaction at play.
I do think the new name is not going to help propel Reading’s merchandise sales and that can be impactful to the team’s bottom line.
Upgrade. The Fightin Phils found a greater identity than what they had with the Phillies, whom Reading has been affiliated with for over 40 years. They have been struggling with their logo in recent years modifying several times and introducing several alternate logos along the way. Most recently the team and logo referred to themselves as R-Phils and had logos that featured the Reading pagoda and a steam train.
The ostrich is unique and comes from the team’s Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, who enters the field riding a costume ostrich named Rodrigo. As the title of this post indicates I do think the ostrich logo is “ah-stretch” for the team.
The team’s new official colors are Phillies Red, Nighttime Navy, Feather Gray and Ostrich Flesh. I am not sure why teams must insist on naming a color. Feather Gray? Ostrich
Flesh? How about just gray or PMS 15-1305?
Note: Reading also introduced the name Baseballtown, an unofficial nickname they bestowed upon themselves and a logo with a hot dog. This alternate logo will be used often by the Fightin Phils.
Not sure where to start since there are seven of them. Three of them will be primary used. The above three caps are decent and I would expect to see them in full force at Reading games.
The feathered “R” hat is sharp as is the F-fist hat. The ostrich logo hat would seem more appropriate on for Farmer Bill’s ostrich farm.
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Slight upgrade. My expectation for minor league ball clubs is to create a completely new identity with a logo, color scheme an mascot that is unrivaled. The ostrich does create a unique icon in sports and is a more fun approach then before (a stated objective) and it just may catch on since it is so out there. Significantly better than the new SWB RailRiders. Reading tried to do too much and as such hurt itself. I think you will see a logo enhancement or new logo within three years. Grade B-.
Chris Creamer of www.sportslogos.net stated “The team doesn’t have an identity with this set, unless their identity is that they have so many identities. I mean c’mon… Are they the ostriches? Are they the hot dogs? Are they Baseballtown? Are they the Fightins? Are they the Fightin Phils?”
I don’t think he’s far off. Reading went too far with the Basebaselltown theme. They should have simply stuck Fightin Phils.