One day after my little piece on that shitty thing called Gritty, I got a PR email regarding the mascot that seems to have a different take on how the public reacted toward Gritty than what really went on.
The number one search in the United States over the past 24 hours, according to Google trends, certainly couldn’t have been predicted on Sunday. That’s because the new Philadelphia Flyers mascot didn’t make his incredible debut until Monday morning.
With the debut of Gritty, a bizarre looking – to put it kindly – team mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers, the hockey franchise took the world by storm.
Images of the seven foot seven fuzzy orange creature went viral. Gritty was everywhere on social media and his Twitter following reached 34.5 thousand followers in less than a day. While most of the reaction was highly critical due to the strange look of Gritty, the results show that the Flyers marketing department may have known exactly what they were doing.
Reputation and Social Media Marketing expert and owner of the digital marketing agency WebiMax, Ken Wisnefski, explains why he believes the Flyers are just the latest example of outside of the box marketing paying off.
Thanks to Gritty, in the last 24 hours, the Flyers went from the least talked about Philly sports franchise to the most talked about – in the middle of football season!”
Wisnefski continued, “Not since, IHOP tricked people into believing that they changed their name toIHOb have more people taken to social media to share their opinion on a marketing tactic. A generic mascot was not going to get people talking. Ultimately, if the Phillie Phanatic debuted today he would be blasted across social media, too. However, he would connect with kids and accomplish the goal of getting people talking.”
According to Wisnefski:
• The Flyers were savvy to choose a mascot that would get people talking.
• Gritty has helped the upcoming hockey season become a part of the national focus.
• It’s vital for the Flyers to get creative with how they position Gritty moving forward in order to take advantage of his popularity.
I must admit there’s a segment of the hockey fan base that rallies around the ridiculous and stands with the outlandish for one very solid reason: The humor of it all. It doesn’t mean that they think highly – in a non sarcastic way – of something as-so-much as they are deliberately coming off like they have a positive opinion, which is just as outlandish and ridiculous as whatever they are standing with. I’ve been part of that troupe of people in the past, perhaps it can be looked at as a college thing because that’s where everyone was at the time they were participating in that ludicrous it’s-for-laughs, positive-in-the-negative opinion game.
Besides that humor-fueled segment, the bulk of the population looking into Gritty were doing so to behold the weak mascot themselves.It doesn’t mean they’re sold on the character. It doesn’t mean they’ll cling to it. It means everyone has to see something that stupid for themselves after they’ve heard about it from others.
Gritty has to keep coming off as upper-level funny and faulted in order to keep winning the public over as a character. It still won’t sell some people on the concept of him being a true representative mascot of a sports franchise (like me), but it will win others over.