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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It’s alive! It’s alive!

an·thro·po·mor·phize verb. To ascribe human form or attributes to an animal, plant, material object, etc.

I first learned this word back in high school, when we were reading Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” in which the main character turns into a cockroach. I have since had numerous occasions to not only use, but actually employ, that term, as Studio Simon has been called upon to develop sports identities featuring bat-toting and stick-wielding canines, felines, pachyderms, crustaceans, fish, fowl and insects, not to mention storm clouds, lightning bolts, hammers, nuts, socks and even fish hooks.

So when we were recently asked to design an identity celebrating the Walla Walla Sweet, considered by master chefs and produce consumers alike to be the finest sweet onion in the land, I summoned Igor and together we descended the steps leading down to our creative laboratory, eager to give life—sweet life—to this deliciously edible orb.

The Sweets will begin their inaugural season this summer in the wood-bat West Coast League, whose teams’ rosters are comprised of top Division I college baseball players. Though these particular Boys of Summer may be amateur, the operation of this new franchise is anything but. The ownership group includes Seattle Mariners’ minority partner John Stanton and former Major League all-star Jeff Cirillo, and the front office is headed by Zachary Fraser, the former general manager of the Orem Owlz, one of the Minor League Baseball affiliates of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Recognizing the benefits any organization derives from a professional brand identity, Fraser said he made it his first priority to contact Studio Simon once he was brought on board. Less than two months after the new identity was unveiled, the team had already sold out its premium Diamond Seat and Field Box season tickets—2-1/2 weeks before the team even launched its ticketing campaign.

“I receive 3-4 compliments about our brand identity every day,” Fraser said in a recent e-mail. “People here have a renewed sense of pride in ‘being from Walla Walla’ and feel like this brand is a positive representation of that.”

We certainly prefer that kind of response, as opposed to the possible alternative of torch-bearing townspeople storming our castle!


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