Online petition protests new logo

Tuesday, October 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State alumni and students are fighting a move by the university to bring out a new family of logos, including one that shows a fatter OSU mark edged in flames.

``We're going to look like something out of Hickville, U.S.A.,'' said Traci Blodgett, a 1996 graduate who was on the women's track team in 1992-93. She said she represents a sizable faction of alumni disappointed with the new designs, especially the flaming brand.

``I'd get laughed out of Austin if I ever wore something with that logo on it,'' Blodgett told the Tulsa World from her Austin, Texas home.

The new logos aren't to be released until Nov. 22, but a black baseball cap bearing the flaming OSU brand has appeared on numerous Web sites. Controversy surrounding the logos gained momentum after a sheet with the brands began circulating on the Internet in August.

About 2,000 alumni and students have signed an online petition seeking the removal of the logos and a return to the traditional brands.

Judy Barnard, OSU licensing director, said the choice of flames was heavily researched with focus groups and by SME Powerbranding Inc., a New York design and marketing firm hired to develop the logos.

``Some things pop instantly into your mind when you think of fire,'' Barnard said. ``You think of heat, flames. OSU has a spirit that smokes, sizzles and smolders.''

Athletic director Terry Don Phillips said the logo change isn't throwing tradition out the window.

``Any time you do something different, you're going to have a difference of opinion,'' he said. ``We probably should have done with the logo what we've historically done and just have put it in place and been done with it.''

Barry West, a 1972 graduate who has held season tickets for 27 years, said it is more than just a difference of opinion.

``They didn't realize how many people were upset over this,'' he said. ``They just went ahead and did it.''

OSU had in-house focus group sessions and a consumer survey. Target groups included alumni aged 21 to 54, students, children and people were avid sports-clothing wearers.

Phillips said the flaming brand was used because it tested well with younger age groups.

``I'm a very conservative person myself, and I'd personally select one shirt without the flames,'' Phillips said. ``But kids in these focus groups loved them.

In a walkup survey report of 100 participants, 51.5 percent of alumni favored the old brand to 47.1 percent who preferred a new one.