We've generally praised Pac-10/Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott's marketing savvy since he took the job. Scott aimed for the stars, gunning to add half the Big 12 during the great conference expansion race of 2010. He failed, but added Colorado and Utah to create the newly rebranded Pac-10. At the same time, the Big Ten (11?) added Nebraska, became a 12 team conference and was also forced to rebrand, creating a new logo and divisions in the process.
Today, the new Big Ten logo was unveiled, to universal groans.
Yes, that's a '1' replacing the 'I' in big. Yes, this is a miserable failure in both branding and marketing. The Big Ten went from one of the finest logos, an exercise in creativity that involved using the negative space in the logo to subtly add an "11" to the photo, to this. It's plain, boring and seems like a waste of money.
After the jump, a comparison to the work Scott and the Pac-10 did this fall.
Simple, clean and gets the point across. And when the Pac-10 becomes the Pac-12 in 2011, the 10 is replaced by a 12 for an easy transition. The overall brand stays the same across the board, allowing the conference to easily market itself.
It didn't just stop there, however. The Big Ten announced its conference alignment, placing teams into two divisions on Monday. In a head-shaking moment, commissioner Tom Delany named the divisions "Legends" and "Leaders." Quick, tell me which team's are in those divisions. Time's up, and you'll still never figure it out (Michigan is in Legends; Ohio State in Leaders).
When Scott unveiled the Pac-12 logo and divisions, he did it all with branding and wide-scale marketing in mind. The divisions are simple and easy to remember, with the 12 teams split geographically and placed in divisions aptly named "North" and "South."
Even hidden out on the West Coast, the Pac-12 has made itself easy to market with a well thought-out brand strategy. The Big Ten still pulls in a ludicrous amount of revenue and commands plenty of exposure, but the effort to re-brand and remake the conference was a poor one.