Holy shit they went with a variant of B. Franklin Dogg. Sort of.
Sixers chief marketing officer Tim McDermott – brother of Sean, once fired by Eagles – confirmed to Zach Lowe of Grantland over the weekend the name and general existence of the new Sixers mascot, which (who?) will be officially unveiled at… wait for it… the Franklin Institute tomorrow:
The Sixers are set to unveil a new mascot this week, and they confirmed its identity to Grantland over the weekend: a fluffy blue dog named Franklin.
The Sixers consulted several experts, including Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic, but they handed most of the creative duties to 1,000 kids ages 6 to 10 in the Delaware Valley, says Tim McDermott, the team’s chief marketing officer. The team’s research showed that most fans become fans within that age range, and so the Sixers decided to build a mascot kids that age would like.
The team revised designs and narrowed the field after each round of meetings with local kids. Ben Franklin was out, but dogs were in. The kids liked fluffy things and blue things, and the Sixers zeroed in on the Franklin character. It was among two finalists; McDermott won’t disclose the other, but he says he guessed the kids would have chosen it over Franklin the dog. They didn’t, and so the Sixers’ on-court representative will be a big, furry, blue dog called Franklin. Ben Franklin himself might not be of much interest to young children, but the Sixers are at least naming the mascot for him.
The kids liked fluffy things and blue things. I’m fearing the worst:
On our podcast in November, Scott O’Neil spoke about the kid focus group process:
“We had a pretty extensive kinda ‘For Kids, by Kids’ type research campaign. We brought in 140 kids from different cross-sections of the city and the feeling is that we think it’s wonderful to have a fan vote and a season ticket holder vote and all that stuff, but a mascot is for kids. I don’t know how much I’m hugging any of the mascots personally but I will tell you that when my girls go to the came they’re always looking for the mascot. So I think our approach was really smart. The kids picked the visual design — I think we started with 30 designs — so we’re down to pick the design, pick the color, pick the name. I think people will over time learn to love the mascot.
As you know in a city like Philadelphia, when you launch anything new, we’re likely to get a little bit of pushback. And that’s okay … I won’t comment on Phil E. Moose or whatever the other ones were, but I will say that the business of entertaining through a mascot is so much more sophisticated than people think or know or you could even believe if you knew what that business looked like. That being said, we have a terrific entertainer who I know and have worked with before who will light the world up, and we just need to take a breath and remember it’s for the kids and let’s go have some fun and get some pictures with your kids and this character and let’s go have some fun and win some basketball games. We’ll have a much more playful, light approach.”
We’ll have full mascot coverage tomorrow. But I’m telling you right now, if one of Franklin’s tricks isn’t coming out and marking his territory on the opposing team’s shootaround basket before every game, I am going to be very upset.
H/T to Matt Rappa for the enhanced screen grab