Branding Spotlight: University of Oregon
It goes without question that the University of Oregon has an incredibly successful and dominant football program. Their current number one ranking would suggest that. What many may have noticed but not put much thought into is their dominance in the branding arena as well. I think it is more than a coincidence that the master of branding, Phil Knight (Founder and chairman of Nike), is an alumnus and major financial contributor to the school. His influence on Oregon’s brand positioning if not confirmed is definitely evident.
Marketing is key in college sports. It is as important to filling seats as tradition and top-rankings are. Oregon has put together a marketing and branding package that would make most corporations envious. I have listed some of the key factors that have added to Oregon’s brand positioning.
Let’s start with the center of their branding; the logo. As simple as it may look I think this is the most important piece. Created in 1999, the bright yellow “O” on the dark green background is bold and authoritative. With equal height and width it gives the design of the “O” a more aggressive appeal. This is a perfect example of the saying “less is more”.
Will they come out in in yellow, black, green, white or a combination of the four. You never know what you’re going to get at Oregon. They are privy to a variety of uniforms that most schools are not privy to. They definitely take the crown for uniform diversity. The look of the uniforms contributes to the overall experience of Oregon athletics. As a side note, I would go as far to say that the wings on the shoulders of the football uniforms even makes them LOOK faster.
It would be sacrilegious not to mention the Duck. I don’t just mean the Donald Duck-like illustration that represents the school but also the physical mascot that entertains tens of thousands of excited, screaming fans. The duck is what rounds out the brand. Everything from his antics to the design of the mascot’s outfit contributes to Oregon’s brand.
Honorable Mention: The (new) Basketball Court
This season Oregon unvieled a newly designed flooring for it’s basketball arena. Love it or hate it, just like all things Oregon it is hard to be indifferent about it. This exemplifies the out-of-box branding techniques that Oregon is known for. The arena’s wood flooring features an inverse perspective that makes it appear as if you’re looking up through a grove of fir trees. Its diversion from the norm reminds me of the blue Smurf Turf of the Boise State University football field.
What do you think about Oregon’s branding? Do you think it is important college sports to concentrate on marketing?
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