Thursday, May 22, 2008

go hawks!

I went to the University of Iowa twice, once in the middle of my undergraduate years and once for my master's which they eventually gave me. I consider myself a loyal Hawkeye fan, though I was never much of a football fan, and come the NCAA Tournament (basketball), my allegiances are always clear, though divided these days with SIUC and Kansas.

But while I was in Iowa, their football program hired Hayden Fry, a successful and controversial football coach, to pull their team from the doldrums; he did that, successfully. Whether successful coaches do this by getting alumni to give players cars secretly, I have no idea, but about that time, traffic in Iowa City started chicagoizing, much to the locals' chagrin. However, that's not my point. What I am writing about is his marketing program. He got Iowa to hire some marketers, and together they instituted the notorious Tiger Hawk logo (which I will not reprint here), which some people have since pointed out bears faint resemblance to the f-r-y of his name. And even that's not so bad, although I always thought it was hideously ugly. What irritated me most was that he also made all other Iowa Hawkeye logos illegal.

Now, in terms of marketing, maybe this is established practice; I'm sure the marketing company told him to do it. He just figured that a brand new start was necessary in every way, mentally perhaps more than anything else, and that was part of the program. This was a tangential result, a small part, of a global marketing blitz: As part of this blitz, he even had the opposing locker room painted pink. Supposedly it would rattle the opponents. Did it? I have no idea, but it made the headlines; I didn't mind that part. It was the talk of the town for a while.

Far more insidious, to me, was the banning of all charging hawks, furry cartoon eagle-ish characters who graced sweaters that young boys like myself, with sets of grandparents from the state, would wear constantly (Iowa State had a similar one, which was, in fact, the one I wore)... these, I have a fond memory of, but can't find them, because I don't live in the state. I may try e-Bay, though, and see what I can find.

My point is, why the ban? Did it help anything? Was he unable to really start over without it?

I'm a proud Hawkeye, but on this particular issue, I'm wearing pink, in protest.



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