Prince J. Grimes

Quick Links

Making a case for Red Hogs as Washington Football Team's new name

Making a case for Red Hogs as Washington Football Team's new name

It's been several weeks since the Washington Football Team announced it was retiring its former name and logo after more than 80 years. Ever since FedEx became the first known sponsor to formally ask Washington to change its name, fans have taken to social media to voice some of their favorites among potential replacements. I spoke with several marketing experts about a few of the fan-generated names, and will use their responses to make a case for some of the most popular suggestions. This is the case for Red Hogs.

Case for: Washington Red Hogs

On Monday, we made the case for why Red Tails would be a good replacement as the Washington Football Team’s new name. But outside of that name, the marketing professionals I spoke with didn’t exactly love other names beginning with “Red.”

For one, the experts almost all agree that the team should go in a completely different direction from its old moniker, which offended many people. Secondly, they think a great name is one with a connection to the city of the team.

This is where a name like Red Hogs, or just Hogs, holds an advantage over ones like Red Hawks and Red Wolves. Though pigs aren’t specific to Washington, they are specific to the Washington Football Team, which has represented the city for over 80 years.

RELATED: FORMER WASHINGTON OL JON JANSEN LIKES 'HOGS' FOR WASHINGTON'S NEW NAME

The term hogs was popularized in Washington in the 1980’s as a nickname for the team’s great offensive line. From 1982 to 1992, the Hogs helped the team reach four Super Bowls, winning three of them and becoming one of the league’s most popular teams in the process.

The popularity and success of the Hogs crossed over to the fans, as the Hogettes emerged from that era. For 30 years, the all-male group of fans wore pig snouts and dresses to Washington’s games to cheer on the team, gaining national recognition themselves.

That history between the team and the fans is what intrigued marketing professionals about the Red Hogs names. Tim Derdenger, associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, believes the name could work, especially in moving the team forward from the previous name. But he said it depends on how much the Hogs brand still connects with the fan base. The team hasn’t enjoyed the same type of success since that run of Super Bowls over 30 years ago and the Hogettes retired in 2013.

“They could probably do it. The challenge though is do you have enough of your existing fanbase that is tied and connected to that moniker," Derdenger said. "I know there’s a group of passionate, old Washington Football Team fans that have dressed up for games, etc. as hogs. But what’s the size of that fanbase. If it’s small, and people aren’t really backing it and behind it, then that’s probably the wrong direction to go. Very good market research understands what the size of that particular fanbase is. If it’s large, then sure I think it can be an accessible name. But if it’s a small one then you’re gonna have trouble getting buy-in from everybody else.”

Brad Nierenberg, CEO of RedPeg Marketing, agrees it would be difficult to get buy-in on the name from people who don’t already look at it in a positive light.

“That’s one of the key things that the team had been known for is the Hogs, but that’s like … hogs were pigs,” Nierenberg said. “I don’t know if that’s an endearing or a powerful [name]. That’s not like the Razorbacks, you know? Arkansas has got the Razorbacks. What kind of hogs are those? The Red Hogs, I just don’t think that’s got a lot.” 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

That point is the one advantage Hawks has over Hogs. It's probably a more appealing animal, and thus brand, for fans to attach themselves to. But while Nierenberg said “it can work,” he thinks Red Hawks simultaneously fails to draw a connection to the city and fails to differentiate enough from the previous brand.

“I don’t think there’s anything indigenous about that, if there’s a bird that’s a Red Hawk? I just don’t think it’s got a powerful … There’s a little bit of the Redskins, but also switching to a little not well-known bird,” Nierenberg said.

Derdenger also sees a way for Red Hawks to work, but doesn’t like it as much as Red Hogs.

“I think that’s the homage to the teams of the past, still retaining that connection to the past teams," Derdenger said. "But with that name, it moves the team forward."

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM NEWS:

Quick Links

Making a case for Red Tails as Washington Football Team's new name

Making a case for Red Tails as Washington Football Team's new name

It's been several weeks since the Washington Football Team announced it was retiring its former name and logo after more than 80 years. Ever since FedEx became the first known sponsor to formally ask Washington to change its name, fans have taken to social media to voice some of their favorites among potential replacements. I spoke with several marketing experts about a few of the fan-generated names, and will use their responses to make a case for some of the most popular suggestions. This is the case for Red Tails.

Case for: Washington Red Tails

“Red Tails” might’ve been the favorite among fans and others on social media before the “Red Wolves” hype train started gaining traction.

The origin of the name comes from the Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black pilots in the United States military. A group of Tuskegee Airmen known as the Red Tails -- because of the paint on the tails of their planes -- made up the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II. The Red Tails had one of the lowest loss records of all escort fighter groups.

CONCEPTS: TOP 5 NEW FAN-GENERATED WASHINGTON REDTAILS UNIFORM, HELMET DESIGNS

Brad Nierenberg, CEO of RedPeg Marketing, an Alexandria, Virginia-based marketing agency, thinks the history of the Red Tails provides an opportunity for Washington to attach itself to a powerful story, particularly in a time where conversations about social justice have been amplified.

“The Red Tails is an incredible opportunity for [Washington]," Nierenberg said. "I don’t know of it as a major team name. I think that it allows them at this time to take a leadership role in this time of changing of understanding of social justice. And I think that their recognition of the Red Tails could be a dramatic, great first step for them as a brand that I think is overcoming… there’s a great story behind it. They can run with that story that already exists.

"And at the time to actually capitalize on this, you can get a lot of wind beneath your wings on that one. I think there’s a lot of energy there with society. I think this town would wrap their arms around it. As a company and as a team, as an ownership group, recognizing this incredible story could be powerful forever. And it’s a fighter group, it’s a fighter, it’s an overcoming odds -- there’s a tremendous story there, and I think that with today’s society doing what it is, I think it could be an incredible time for them to take advantage of this groundswell of energy. And it’s not going backwards, it’s only going forward, so I think they could be in a very positive position.”

RELATED: WASHINGTON'S NEW NAME MAY BE MORE FOR FUTURE FANS THAN CURRENT ONES

Additionally, the Red Tails name allows the team to maintain its "warrior" ethos, according to Matt White, president of the marketing and ad agency WHITE64. White also likes that the name provides the opportunity for Washington to stick with its traditional burgundy and gold color scheme. 

"Graphically, the [old] logo on the helmet had the feathers. So you could certainly see how that could be very consistent," White said. "And certainly with the colors of the uniform."

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

Most marketing experts have stressed the advantages of a team's name drawing a connection to the city it plays in. While Red Tails doesn't immediately evoke thoughts of Washington, Tim Derdenger, associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, thinks there's a strong enough connection for it to work.

"It’s a strong choice for multiple reasons. One being that it relates to D.C. and the military," Derdenger said. "It keeps the team colors. If you keep 'red' in [the name], it has to be the right name. And I think Red Tails is one of those right names. It has a strong connection to the city, to the military, the colors, it still can pay homage to the team, the players of the past with keeping the 'red' name in there. It should be a strong candidate.”

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE TEAM NEWS:

Quick Links

Orioles scoreboard provides comedic relief for fans at home during rain delay

Orioles scoreboard provides comedic relief for fans at home during rain delay

There hasn't been much to laugh at early in an MLB season already partially derailed by coronavirus outbreaks and postponed games. This is where the the Baltimore Orioles scoreboard operator steps in.

The start of Friday night's game at Camden Yards between the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays was delayed due to rain. For a little comedic relief, a message was displayed on the scoreboard that pretty much summed up the weather.

RELATED: MLB COMMISSIONER ROB MANFRED WARNS SEASON COULD BE SHUT DOWN, PER REPORT

It said: "We are currently in a rain delay. For fans wishing to experience the immersive Camden Yards AR experience, please take a shower."

In a normal season, where fans are able to attend games, no shower would've been necessary for the immersive experience of getting soaked at a ballpark. But with fans only able to view games from home as the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, everything feels like an augmented reality ... and showers are more accesible than ever.

It might not be the worst thing if O's fans took the message too literal. Baltimore got off to a rough start against Tampa, going down 2-0 before coming back to take a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning.

Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS: