Sports Brands: How Much Testosterone is Too Much?
May 1, 2013 ‐ 0 comments

Have you seen some of the recent sports branding work done by American universities? Or, rather, done by universities with the help of Nike’s Graphic Identity Group?

UC Berkeley's Angry Bear

UGA'S Grumpy Bulldog

Oregon State's Meaner Beaver

This flat, angry look is becoming a house style for Nike, and that’s to the detriment of their University partners’ brands. Yes, the mascots and colors are different, but the flat illustration styles and the amped-up graphic anger are so similar that they rob each mark of their distinctiveness.

At BrandCulture we don’t subscribe to the idea of differentiating for its own sake, but for well-known players in a mature category, differentiation is key. Applying such a similar graphic approach won’t be fatal to these brands, but it’s a lost opportunity.

We’ve recently seen something similar happening in the golf category. What’s with the greys and single bold accent color?



What’s with the copycat product naming?download full film Carol 2015

TaylorMade RBZ Iron


Callaway RAZR X Iron

And how many more bells and whistles can possibly fit on a driver?

84 possible loft/face angle combinations

Let us reiterate: we don’t believe in differentiation at all costs. But for a brand to stick in customers’ minds, it has to stand out from those of competitors.

And if the golf industry wants to see women grow beyond 17% of golf rounds played, it’s going to have to start considering … wait for it … changing its approach.

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