Introducing & Updating a New Mascot

What not to do

It was a fiasco when a large, midwest university decided to update their very distinctive mascot. The mascot is an esteemed mascot in the university culture. He has a distinctive look. The new mascot was introduced at the homecoming game. The new mascot walked onto the field and the old mascot walked off. The students and alumni boo-ed the new mascot. The homecoming game was the first and last time the new mascot was seen. The old mascot is back.

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Deciding to change the look is a hard decision. Students, fans, customers, alumni see the mascot as part of a cherished tradition. When the changes are made haphazardly, problems arise.

Gunston - OriginalGunston updated w/ kids

Going Public: Keeping the fans in the Loop 

…or how to introduce a mascot

Gunston was George Mason University’s mascot. Gunston, too, was well loved at GMU.

When GMU decided to add a new mascot to their mascot mix, the Patriot, George Mason put together a whole backstory.

The smart people at GMU put out news releases and videos. The basic story was, Gunston was graduating and taking a job in administration. Gunston (who, by the way is green) would represent GMU’s extensive Green Initiative. Gunston is quite visible on campus and is a success for GMU – like students, he has graduated and taken on important work. Gunston has become a responsible, adult mascot – well, Gunston is a mascot, so responsible comes with a large dose of FUN.

When the handsome, well-dressed, buff, Patriot made his debut appearance, everyone was prepared and even better than that —-they were excited!

As there are trends in fashion and car design, there are mascot trends, as well. If you sense your mascot has started to look out of sync with the times. It may be time to think about introducing a new mascot – or updating the look of the current mascot.

Have a plan when updating a mascot. If it’s done with deliberation and sensitivity the update will be successful. GMU Patriot

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2 thoughts on “Introducing & Updating a New Mascot

  1. Purdue Pete is a good story. It shows that mascots are a part of the community and cannot be exiled at the whim of a self-important bureaucrat. In Philly there would be riots in the streets if the owner of the Phillies tried to banish the Philly Phanatic. Dad

    • Thanks Dad!

      It’s true,the Phanatic is a great example. If the Phillies replaced the current Phanatic with a new and improved Phanatic —- and the elder Phanatic walked off the field when the younger Phanatic showed up, there would be riots. Mascots become part of our life stories. They are part of the fabric — or in mascotese, the fuzz — of our lives.If the Philly Phanatic leaves the field it will be because the Phanatic is moving up to become the baseball Commisioner. xo, yr daughter, Jennifer

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