Oh happy day. The logo and brand identity have finally arrived. I ran through the streets yelling “the new merch is here, the new merch is here” just like Steve Martin did in the Jerk with his new phone book. (YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOTDn2A7hcY ). Yes I’m a someone now, and I can wear the new Jets logo emblazoned across my chest in all its NHL glory with pride. Hold on, what’s this? A few people don’t like the new logo? Is that a whiff of controversy? Why yes it is and that’s exactly how TNSE wants it.
The hurried logo release on Friday started out with typical jets drama. A FedEx driver with Jets 2.0 fever couldn’t help himself and committed the un-holiest of all sins for a delivery driver; he cracked open one of the packages and peeked inside. Not only did he get a look at the new gear for himself, he snapped a quick picture on his phone and uploaded it to the internet. The result was an early leak of the new Jets logo and the dismissal of one FedEx delivery driver who was quickly tracked down, and summarily fired on the spot. Imagine explaining that one to your wife.
The logo was finally revealed and was almost exactly as some had described. It even looked as if it had been inspired by some of the fan art that has been pumped out nonstop since draft day. And while I’m in an “I told you so” sort of mood let’s look back at the Hard Six blog from July 8th:
“Those in the know are saying this will be the new Jets 2.0 colour scheme, with white away jerseys. Details regarding the new logo’s are also starting to emerge. It seems as though TNSE and co have settled on a an RCAF style circular main logo, and a shoulder patch featuring crossed hockey sticks over air force style wings.”
Ok now that I've patted myself on the back; let’s get back to our story. Now that the logo had been leaked, it forced TNSE to hastily organize an unveiling of the brand concept and an impromptu sale of merchandise to the general public. Although TNSE was clearly annoyed that they couldn’t release the logo on their own schedule the result was still line ups around the block to be the first wearing a Jets 2.0 T-shirt. Most Diehard fans proclaimed a home run and left it at that, but a vocal minority came out against the look and symbolism of the new logo.
Several dissenters felt it looked rushed and oversimplified. Others with an understandable, deeply entrenched hatred of the Toronto Maple Leafs resented the use of the maple leaf, while still others openly questioned the “militarization” of the logo. Even I was even slightly underwhelmed by the logo on first blush. While I had no philosophical quarrel with any of the elements of the logo, I think my expectations where probably set to an unattainable level. After a few hours of having it in my face though, it really, honestly started to grow on me. The simplistic Jet on a leaf, inside a roundel does ultimately have a timeless, classic sort of appeal. For those with an objection to the use of a military patch in the logo, I would say any opportunity to honour our service people works for me. You can object to the politics, but you can’t deny the fact that our soldiers, sailors and airmen put themselves willingly in harm’s way every day on our behalf.
Some eyebrows are being raised however at how the blessing from the DND truly came into existence. Ultimately the DND would need to sign off any logo that featured a roundel and a maple leaf, not only for copyright reasons but ethical ones as well. There is no way that any organization wants to be seen as profiteering from our military tradition so DND approval was a must. With that in mind, was it a co-incidence that the day after the unveiling TNSE announced a 1 million dollar commitment to Military charities? It appears the DND drives a hard bargain when it comes to the use of their marks.
So are the logo’s and word marks effective? Absolutely! During the last few days I have heard voices say that the new identity was a marketing blunder, but nothing could be further from the truth. The branding is attractive but just controversial enough to start a conversation. Little else has been talked about in hockey circles, and around the block line-ups at the MTSC would say that things have gone almost exactly as planned by TNSE
My view is that the Logo and word marks will withstand the test of time, and more importantly will look great on a jersey. The subtle nods to both TNSE and 17 wing of Winnipeg are a nice addition that will no doubt be appreciated by many. That’s my opinion, and many others will have strong opinions of their own, much to the pleasure of the TNSE marketing crew.