Mascots Are Brands Too

In a recent newspaper article ( the local sports editor presented some unusual team mascots that exist in our area and across the country. For example, in the Greater Pittsburgh area we have Big Macs (Canon-McMillan), Talbots (Hampton), Planets (Mars Area), Maples (Mapletown), Mighty Mikes (Carmichaels) and Hillers (Trinity). The Big Macs of Canon-McMillan were not named after the iconic McDonald’s sandwich, despite the fact that the McDonald’s Big Mac was invented in Western Pennsylvania (

But some schools have crazier names, including the Yuma High School (Arizona) "Criminals," the Laurel Hill High (Florida) "Hoboes," and the Frankfort High (Indiana) "Hot Dogs."

So what’s up with the crazy mascot names?

Yes, there is a certain sense of history in mascot names. Heck, I grew up in Ambridge PA (company town for the American Bridge Company) and our teams were called “Bridgers.” But what does your mascot say about your community? Frankly, when the American Bridge Company ceased operations in Ambridge in 1983, the town should have changed its name and the high school should have changed its identity. But no, it kept it and today the town and the school are sad reminders of the glory days when the town was the worldwide leader in steel production.

But really…Criminals? Hoboes? Hot Dogs?

Maybe the school that does the best job of marketing its unusual nickname is the Hoopeston Area (Illinois) "Cornjerkers." The school has a web site where you can buy "Cornjerkers" apparel. Reportedly, they sell between $30,000 and $40,000 worth of Cornjerker apparel every year to all parts of the world.

Now that’s someone who understands marketing!


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