As many of you know, Friday was College Colors Day, where organizations and companies can sign up and encourage their employees to wear their college colors at the office. That of course extends to anyone anywhere who wants to show some school spirit. Here is a blurb of what it is all about:
College Colors Day is an annual celebration dedicated to promoting the traditions and spirit that make the college experience great by encouraging people across America to wear apparel of their favorite college or university throughout the day.
Well, you have heard us discuss several times one of the big issues with UCLA marketing, which is that even though it is clear what the official school colors are, there is too much variability and there have been too many changes over the years.
UCLA is in fact promoting College Colors Day, at least from what I saw on facebook. That's great (and I dig the picture on the UCLA Athletics facebook page).
In order to show why I think UCLA really needs to get its act together when it comes to marketing apparel, I will simply take a few examples from the Fall 2012 BearWear catalog.
Follow me after the jump.
First of all, the cover page is awesome. Yes I'm biased, since I was a rower. I'll skip over the unpleasant reminder that Rowing was cut 20 years ago, yet being used for marketing. No problem, the ladies still have a team and any rowing publicity is highly appreciated.
Basically, I'm going to categorize apparel in a few categories: Game Day, Every Day, Retro and Not UCLA. Obviously this applies to both genders.
Game Day apparel must, absolutely must, have either a true blue background, a gold background, or if nothing else is available, a white background (as long as true blue and gold is represented on it, or if it is a UCLA jersey). That's it. No fan should wear anything else to a game, period. To illustrate:
I could really end the post here. To me that's the biggest issue, in that on game day too many fans deviate from this just because they wear something that says UCLA on it. Honestly this should probably apply to coaches on the sidelines as well. But, let's go on and check out the rest.
Everything above is obviously appropriate. Of course there is a bit more flexibility when it is not game day. Black, grey, navy blue backgrounds are fine as long as the logo prominently features true blue, gold, or both. Here are some examples:
There is some nice gear out there for UCLA fans.
This one is a tough category. I doesn't really fit the guidelines that I mention above, but it seems to be a classic UCLA look, possibly harkening to the days when UCLA was really Berkeley's sister to the south. I actually remember having one of these:
Frankly I don't know what to do with this. It does not really have the right colors but it has the UCLA seal or block letters and is an old school UCLA look. I could see Fox 71 and other self proclaimed geezers wearing this. There is some other vintage apparel available, but it usually has the colors right.
Now this category is the one that bothers me most. There is a lot of cool looking gear here, don't get me wrong. But it is simply wrong on multiple levels and doesn't represent UCLA at all. Here are the worst culprits:
You know what I see when I look at those? I see this:
What in the world is going on with this stuff? It doesn't belong anywhere, except maybe abroad where they pass of UCLA as a fashion brand. Just having "UCLA" on the shirt does not make it appropriate. This is terrible and it should never see the light of day and most certainly not at a stadium. Maybe as pyjamas, that's about it.
Perhaps I am being harsh about the t-shirt with the gold script logo, and maybe it belongs in the Retro category. But that's just what I see when I look at it. Given UCLA's history and how it came about, it is perhaps appropriate, but not with those colors anymore.
There you have it. Mind you, this is just my opinion, but I think it illustrates the frustration that we keep expressing about marketing a cohesive image. I encourage you to go visit the Michigan store or the Texas store and see if you find anything this egregious in their apparel. I tried, and you won't. I understand the need for a diverse offering of styles in order to maximize sales, but UCLA needs to have far stricter guidelines when it comes to apparel.
So on this College Colors Day, I hope you did your part and showed the world the beauty of the true UCLA Blue & Gold.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.