In September, the Philadelphia Flyers revealed the team’s first mascot, Gritty. The orange Muppet-like character with googly eyes was met with mixed reactions.
— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) September 24, 2018
Fans wondered if Gritty was a publicity stunt or in it for the long haul. Fast forward a month later. After a few late-night talk show appearances and aggressively hilarious tweets, it looks like Gritty has won over the hearts of the Philly fandom. Creating Gritty was a risky move, but it was one that the front office was willing to take. Here are a few reasons why Gritty works as the Flyers mascot and how you can successfully create a publicity stunt that has a lasting impact:
Know Your Audience
Have you met a Philly sports fan? Their reputation certainly precedes them. Scrolling through Twitter the day of Gritty’s debut would have made you think that this mascot was going to be a huge mistake within the Flyers’ organization. Throw in a snarky tweet from the Penguins’ mascot, some hate from out-of-towners, and a slip on the ice and Philly fans immediately had Gritty’s back. Philly is your typical older brother; as a city, we can hate on Gritty, but no one else can!
It’s All About Timing
Gritty was released right before the Flyers’ season started. While people were wondering if the Flyers would even be contenders this year, their complaints about the team itself quickly turned into discussions of Gritty. If the ticket office thought sales would be down, a chance at seeing Gritty in action would certainly draw a crowd. The first home game, Gritty entered the stadium on a wrecking ball a la Miley Cyrus, hyping the fans and enticing them to come back for more.
Does it Make Sense?
Back in the 60’s, the Flyers earned the nickname “Broad Street Bullies” for their true grit and aggressive playing style. Philadelphians adopted this term, as they’re known to be some of the most passionate fans in the country, for both good and bad reasons. A mascot that possesses these same qualities – in addition to using social media to communicate with fans and troll haters – makes Gritty the perfect addition to the Flyers and the city as a whole.
Whether you “hate to love” or “love to hate” him, Gritty is now an infamous mascot in the city of Philadelphia. In another town, he may not have worked so well but the Flyers knew their audience, timed his release accordingly, and made sure Gritty was essentially in line with the Flyers brand. You go, Gritty!