Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hornets Partially Re-Brand Franchise

New Orleans Hornets officials on Thursday announced that they will soon take steps to improve the local marketability of the franchise, with the first step being what will doubtlessly be considered a controversial alteration to the mascot. Vice-President of Marketing Linus van Pelt said that Hugo, the popular blue and purple giant bee will get a new name and partial makeover in the off-season. “Hugo as a name just doesn’t work down here,” said van Pelt. “When you google ‘Hugo’, you get sites about the dictator of Venezuela. We’ve been looking at an alternative for some time.” According to the team’s marketing executive, the idea for the new name came to him on Mardi Gras night and inspired by one of the city’s most noted carnival float designers. “I was having trouble falling asleep despite being out with the family along Saint Charles Avenue since 5 AM and was looking for something that would knock me out. That’s when I turned on WYES and started watching the meeting of the courts. Just as I was about to zonk out, I see this bespectacled guy in a white tie and tails and it hit me.” “So I was thinking instead of ‘Hugo the Hornet’, why not give him a full name like ‘Henri Hornet’ and give the last name a French pronunciation, kind of like what Stephen Colbert does” said van Pelt. What other changes do the Hornets have install for their mascot, whose name will be pronounced “On-ree Or-nay”? “We’ve had a few graphic design artists try to give him some more pizzazz and character. One proposal is to give him a goatee and a beret to give him a French-beatnik look. We’re still evaluating costume adjustments and we have a marketing team consulting with selected season ticket holders.” This wouldn’t be the first rebranding for the team that moved to the 504 from Charlotte in 2002. The Charlotte Hornets were originally named the Charlotte Spirit though area fans didn’t take to that name. The Hornets sobriquet came from a reference British General Cornwallis made about the city of Charlotte as “a veritable nest of hornets”. The NBA has a knack for maintaining team nicknames that are downright absurd in their current environs. Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers are such franchises. Franklin Schroeder, who dons the giant bee costume at home games, isn’t pleased with the changes but will abide to the dictates of the front office. “What can you really do,” said Schroeder, “it’s April Fool’s Day.”

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