Much Ado About Nothing? WMU’s Logo Update Has Some Alums PO’d
As if we didn't have enough things to disagree about and get angry over; now it's the letter "W", as in the Western Michigan University logo. WOOD-TV8 is reporting on a controversy had developed over the school's decision to consolidate to a primary logo of the letter rather than a Bronco horse. If I'm Buster Bronco, I'm worried about my job security.
The station quotes WMU marketing vice-president Tony Proudfoot as saying "Western Michigan University had five logos, seven colors. Strong universities don’t do that. They really focus on having one identity. People see that logo and they see it run out on the field.”
But on social media and beyond, alums and even current Western students are saying "au contraire". An alum with a website, ghostbronco.com is pushing people to organize and sign a petition in support of the "ghost bronco" logo of the decade, as opposed to the letter "W".
Quite honestly, it's hard to understand this kerfuffle. Why can't the university use the letter logo for the official signage and correspondence, and then use the stylized ghost Bronco for athletics? What's even more amazing is how there hasn't been any litigation over either of the two logos. The letter W logo is similar to Western Oklahoma's logo, save for the color scheme. But more amazing is the fact the extremely litigious National Football League hasn't sued WMU over the ghost Bronco looking conspicuously similar to the Denver Broncos' logo. And speaking of color schemes, maybe the school needs to settle on one color scheme, and if it's Brown and Yellow, maybe it needs to go back to the drawing board. Mustard colors are not sexy. Seems like a dark brown and gold with some black borders would be attractive.
Bottom line here is: Current branding rules taught at marketing schools around the country say you should have one consistent logo. But, is a plain W going to sell merchandise? It's hard to believe a W on a sweater or jersey will sell as well as a stylized ghost Bronco. Sound like the athletic department needs to stand up for itself. And don't even consider a cuddly "W" mascot running on the field. Buster Bronco is an icon round these parts.
But you know what would raise the profile of the school better than any W logo. A W in the win column. Like it or not, being nationally ranked and being on ESPN and playing in the Cotton Bowl is the best marketing you will ever find. A couple of trips the NCAA basketball tournament wouldn't hurt, either as well as a trip to the Frozen Four.