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My unanswered letter to Reebok...the Sabres...the White House...


DasChuck77
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Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am writing to inquire on some concerns that I have on the Buffalo Sabres’ logo design and implementation process. First of all, I am extremely dissatisfied with the current logo of the hockey club. However, I am very satisfied with the rest of the current uniform design. Additionally, I enthusiastically welcome the Edge uniform system as it does offer a functionally more superior look and performance will add value the on ice product. Yet I still take issue with the logo. The logo which has been formally described as a “Stylized charging Bison” more resembles a slug, hairpiece, hamster, or any other of the many Google searchable unwanted associations that the logo has aroused since its debut. In my opinion and I’m not alone, the logo is a poor amateurishly designed brand representation Buffalo Sabres organization.

This leads to my first question. Buffalo Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn was stated saying that the Sabres expressed a desire to incorporate the vintage circular crest or an updated variant in the new uniform and Reebok Intl. stated that they “couldn’t make it work.” I respectfully would like some insight and reasoning for why the circular crest would not work as part of the design process. Many rumors exist for why this happened, most notably that it was Reebok’s intention to have the Edge jersey’s tucked in for the 2007-2008 season. This rumor since has been either proved false or overturned. With all that said, why couldn’t a matching dark blue vintage crest or updated variant available at www.newblueandgold.com be substituted for the current logo on the current uniform and merchandise? Samplings of fans from various discussion boards seem to approve of the idea and indeed are the serious types of fans more inclined to purchase multiple merchandise items to back their team. I believe the majority of fans out there would follow suit, thus creating an identity that will have staying power in the market and yield lasting robust merchandise sales.

My second question is wondering who specifically designed the logo, where/how was it test marketed, and who had the bottom line approval for the design? I’m not concerned with the uniform sales figures as in my opinion it is misleading and not an accurate representation of the logo’s approval among the Sabres’ majority fan base. Couple that with the team’s strong play and potential to win the Stanley cup it all has won people over, impulsively excited to purchase merchandise, thus inflating the figures. Yet ridicule abounds for the logo. From the internet, local news, and from snide comments from national broadcasters namely Barry Melrose, the logo bashing continues. I conclude that a majority of the fans love the team and not the logo. I realize that until the demand curve shifts left there isn’t much that opponents of the new logo can do. I would like to remind that the New York Islander’s “fisherman logo” from 1996 was selling as high as 4th in the NHL before the fan backlash began. I anticipate the same, especially if the Sabres are fortunate to win the cup and the debate begins whether or not to raise a banner with the new logo to the rafters or even when the vintage 3rd jersey is not available for the 2007-2008 season.

I am very appreciative for the opportunity to correspond. The Buffalo Sabres have not taken a position on this other than throwing their vintage uniforms and non-matching blue pants at the fans for 15 home games as a placating gesture. I was hoping that Reebok would be able to provide answers on how this unpopular logo design found its way onto an otherwise very well-designed uniform that I would like to see around for many years.

All the best,

(DasChuck77)

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I appreciate the sentiment behind this letter but I think the logo won't be changed for a long time. Especially with the third jersey gone for next year thus propping up the sales figures for the current jersey.

In the immortal words of Abraham J. Simpson:

"Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three. P.S. I am not a crackpot."

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I appreciate the sentiment behind this letter but I think the logo won't be changed for a long time. Especially with the third jersey gone for next year thus propping up the sales figures for the current jersey.

In the immortal words of Abraham J. Simpson:

"Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three. P.S. I am not a crackpot."

I think jersey sales will cool off considerably and with the Sabres not able to throw the vintage at the fans for home games to settle them down, they hopefully will come around.

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"Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three. P.S. I am not a crackpot."

YES!! That is fantastic. We should all give them the FROWNING of a lifetime!

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I thought there were a couple of folks out here who have some ties with RBK...This letter went to RBK Intl, up in Quebec...I wonder who drew the short straw to read my letter/Throw it in the trash...

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I was wearing my old Sabres Brown jersey at the Indianapolis International Airport last year coming back to Phoenix after visiting my family and a guy stopped me asking about my jersey. He proceeded to tell me that he worked for Reebok and they were going to change them all after this season. In hindsight, I should've given him an earful. Its been my opinion that the quality of the NFL replicas has gone downhill since they took over as the price has steadily risen for them. You throw those things in the washer and the numbers come right off. Thankfully they came out with the replithentics, which may cost more, but at least your numbers should stay on. I'm really dreading what they are going to do with the NHL replicas.

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You are correct, the quality of Reebok replica football and basketball jerseys has absolutely gone downhill in the last couple of years. The screenprinted numbers peel or even shred when you WASH them. I expect that to be possible when you put them in the dryer. I have a replica Steve Nash jersey that was completely ruined after the second wash.

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You are correct, the quality of Reebok replica football and basketball jerseys has absolutely gone downhill in the last couple of years. The screenprinted numbers peel or even shred when you WASH them. I expect that to be possible when you put them in the dryer. I have a replica Steve Nash jersey that was completely ruined after the second wash.

Yup! I am now very picky and choosy about those NFL jerseys I may buy and am to the point I probably will never own another one. My Brandon Stokley Colts jersey was toast after just once in the washer. On contrast, my Nike Eddie George jersey was (I gave it to a friend of mine last week) still in pretty good condition...and its almost 7 years old not to mention has obviously been washed...A LOT. I think I got it for close to $50, maybe even $40, I can't recall offhand but it was pretty cheap. I have an old Adidas Tom Brady jersey still in good condition (5 years later and many washings later) as well. We all already know that Reebok is gonna up the costs for the NHL replicas and they will probably be crappy IMO, which is why I am hesitant to even think about spending $110 on a replica next year. Paying $75+ dollars for a replica NFL jersey that is going to be ruined after the first wash...well I shudder to think of what it could do to their NHL jerseys. :angry:

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As much as I agree with the sentiment, I have no idea why you'd send this letter to RBK. They didn't design, or approve of, the new logo. The Sabres hired a design firm to give them some concepts and then picked the one that they liked best. They are entirely responsible for their own travesty of a logo. RBK manufactures the jerseys, but they didn't pull any strings here and they didn't force Quinn and the Sabres management into anything. The response to the Edge jerseys has been almost entirely positive, from what I've heard, and having finally seen them in person, they don't really restrict the design of the jerseys in any way, at all. With that said, RBK can't be held accountable for the short comings of the Sabres design team and the poor decision making of their upper management squad. I personally think the jersey is a huge success and that the logo is very much the opposite, but like I've said in the past - people will buy the jerseys, regardless of the logo, because the rest of the package just looks that good. I now fall into that category of people, and I don't regret it at all. I'd love for the logo to change, but the new jerseys are too nice to pass up strictly on the premise that Quinn could have made a (much) better decision. I hate Tampa's logo as well, but I have a Lecavalier jersey. I'm not fond of the Blue Jackets' logo, but I have a Klesla jersey. The Sabres jerseys are much, much nicer than those two teams' sweaters, in my opinion, and even though the logo is as bad, or worse, than theirs, I still like the overall look.

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As much as I agree with the sentiment, I have no idea why you'd send this letter to RBK. They didn't design, or approve of, the new logo. The Sabres hired a design firm to give them some concepts and then picked the one that they liked best. They are entirely responsible for their own travesty of a logo. RBK manufactures the jerseys, but they didn't pull any strings here and they didn't force Quinn and the Sabres management into anything. The response to the Edge jerseys has been almost entirely positive, from what I've heard, and having finally seen them in person, they don't really restrict the design of the jerseys in any way, at all. With that said, RBK can't be held accountable for the short comings of the Sabres design team and the poor decision making of their upper management squad. I personally think the jersey is a huge success and that the logo is very much the opposite, but like I've said in the past - people will buy the jerseys, regardless of the logo, because the rest of the package just looks that good. I now fall into that category of people, and I don't regret it at all. I'd love for the logo to change, but the new jerseys are too nice to pass up strictly on the premise that Quinn could have made a (much) better decision. I hate Tampa's logo as well, but I have a Lecavalier jersey. I'm not fond of the Blue Jackets' logo, but I have a Klesla jersey. The Sabres jerseys are much, much nicer than those two teams' sweaters, in my opinion, and even though the logo is as bad, or worse, than theirs, I still like the overall look.

Please read the letter again. Quinn has specifically been quoted that Reebok told them that the vintage logo or variant "would not work", thus Reebok is part responsible by restricting the parameters of the logo design. I am not bashing the Edge uniform nor the Sabres' jersey style. I was simply calling for a logo swap of some kind. Slug for the vintage or slug for the Celsius...I like the current jersey quality and design aside from the logo. Indeed you are a collector, which is a much smaller demographic that can create the change of the logo. The Sabres are trying to get sales from young adults and children who are in greater numbers...and have less self-control over how they spend their discretionary income.

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Please read the letter again. Quinn has specifically been quoted that Reebok told them that the vintage logo or variant "would not work", thus Reebok is part responsible by restricting the parameters of the logo design. I am not bashing the Edge uniform nor the Sabres' jersey style. I was simply calling for a logo swap of some kind. Slug for the vintage or slug for the Celsius...I like the current jersey quality and design aside from the logo. Indeed you are a collector, which is a much smaller demographic that can create the change of the logo. The Sabres are trying to get sales from young adults and children who are in greater numbers...and have less self-control over how they spend their discretionary income.

What Quinn "says" RBK told him is irrelevant, in my mind. I don't believe most of what comes out of Quinn's mouth and I don't believe the RBK is at all responsible for the slug, beyond producing it after the design was approved and submitted by the Sabres organization. I suppose that's where our opinions differ. Larry Quinn botched the logo aspect of the project, in the eyes of many, and he'll say whatever it takes to deflect blame. I don't think RBK had a hand in this proceeding at all, and thus I think that sending the letter to RBK is futile. Just like the only people responsible for the logo (in my mind) are the Sabres upper management, the only people who can or will change it, are the Sabres upper management. This is a moot point however, as I do agree with the sentiment and I realize you were only talking about the logo and not the jersey design - I was just throwing in my two cents on that bit.

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What Quinn "says" RBK told him is irrelevant, in my mind. I don't believe most of what comes out of Quinn's mouth and I don't believe the RBK is at all responsible for the slug, beyond producing it after the design was approved and submitted by the Sabres organization. I suppose that's where our opinions differ. Larry Quinn botched the logo aspect of the project, in the eyes of many, and he'll say whatever it takes to deflect blame. I don't think RBK had a hand in this proceeding at all, and thus I think that sending the letter to RBK is futile. Just like the only people responsible for the logo (in my mind) are the Sabres upper management, the only people who can or will change it, are the Sabres upper management. This is a moot point however, as I do agree with the sentiment and I realize you were only talking about the logo and not the jersey design - I was just throwing in my two cents on that bit.

Well what to do? The Sabres have perpetuated this controversy into selling more merchandise. It sad when I see people out there buying a new jersey, then a vintage, removing the vintage crest and slapping it on the new jersey. Sure the Fans are making a statement about what they want but at the same time there is a couple hundred dollars in sales in the Sabres back pocket. The only way to get the Sabres front office's undivided attention is to not buy ANY merchandise at all. It's kind of extreme but I am going to politely persuade and beg people not to do that. Call it my own guerilla marketing campaign Larry Quinn. I agree that Quinn pulled the trigger on this, but since the organization has shut up about the issue hoping it will go away. I'm not letting it go away and am taking it to everyone else I can find. Letters to all the local Buffalo stations, JPatton on demand (who designed the logo), Drew Celestino to beg him to update his site (which so far said he won't), and John Slabyk.

And if Reebok didn't have anything to do with it, why couldn't they politely write me back and tell me so?

You give the Sabres fans the opportunity to choose between the slug, the vintage logo, or the Celsius logo, I can bet my left testicle that the Slug would not win.

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I agree that if we're talking about the logo only, the current logo stands no chance. I also agree that Slabyk should be the go to guy for a replacement design. RBK probably didn't write you back because the corporation likely receives millions of letters and emails each month. Meanwhile, I agree that the only way to get the logo changed is to not buy ANY merchandise, vintage or new (if you pass on the new jerseys and opt for the vintage, you're still putting the same amount of money in the organization's pocket - I'm not sure they keep track of, or care, which jersey sells better, so long as they're making money), however, as much as that might be the most direct strategy possible, I refuse to punish myself for the short comings of the organization. If I want the new jersey, sans slug, I don't want to skip buying it while blindly hoping that thousands upon thousands of other fans have also taken up the call to boycott all Sabres merchandise until the logo is changed, just so that I can finally pick up the jersey that I like so much in 2-3 years when the message is relayed and the logo is changed. To skip the jersey under those stipulations, I'm putting faith not only in the fact that the organization will change the logo someday, but that they will keep the same jerseys when they do (since it's the jersey that I want) and that my skipping out on buying the jersey is actually making a difference, since whether or not it is is entirely reliant on whether or not TONS of other Sabres fans have also made the sacrifice that I am making. To put it simply, I won't skip out on buying something that I want on the basis that something better MIGHT come along, IF the planets align and Sabres fans across the country not only band together to boycott merchandise (the likelihood of this strategy being successful, while it IS the most direct strategy, is so unlikely due to the number of fans that would have to stop buying merchandise altogether) but that the organization also gets the message behind the boycott and makes the changes I'd be waiting for.

So yes, at the end of the day, my decision not to boycott the jersey comes down to two things: The first being my seeing no realistic means of convincing enough Sabres (and hockey) fans to stop buying ALL Sabres merchandise for long enough for the organization to feel a NEED to change, and the second being my own selfishness - I want what I want and I want it now (and I've got it lol). I realize that more militant slug haters might resent me for giving in to my own desire and not joining in the effort to see a better logo on the front of the jerseys (which I do want), but at the end of the day, it's the same team on the ice, regardless of what they're wearing and if I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: when Max goes speeding past the camera, dazzling a defenseman with his hands, I don't see the logo; I just see the overall design of the jersey, and it looks AWESOME.

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I agree that if we're talking about the logo only, the current logo stands no chance. I also agree that Slabyk should be the go to guy for a replacement design. RBK probably didn't write you back because the corporation likely receives millions of letters and emails each month. Meanwhile, I agree that the only way to get the logo changed is to not buy ANY merchandise, vintage or new (if you pass on the new jerseys and opt for the vintage, you're still putting the same amount of money in the organization's pocket - I'm not sure they keep track of, or care, which jersey sells better, so long as they're making money), however, as much as that might be the most direct strategy possible, I refuse to punish myself for the short comings of the organization. If I want the new jersey, sans slug, I don't want to skip buying it while blindly hoping that thousands upon thousands of other fans have also taken up the call to boycott all Sabres merchandise until the logo is changed, just so that I can finally pick up the jersey that I like so much in 2-3 years when the message is relayed and the logo is changed. To skip the jersey under those stipulations, I'm putting faith not only in the fact that the organization will change the logo someday, but that they will keep the same jerseys when they do (since it's the jersey that I want) and that my skipping out on buying the jersey is actually making a difference, since whether or not it is is entirely reliant on whether or not TONS of other Sabres fans have also made the sacrifice that I am making. To put it simply, I won't skip out on buying something that I want on the basis that something better MIGHT come along, IF the planets align and Sabres fans across the country not only band together to boycott merchandise (the likelihood of this strategy being successful, while it IS the most direct strategy, is so unlikely due to the number of fans that would have to stop buying merchandise altogether) but that the organization also gets the message behind the boycott and makes the changes I'd be waiting for.

So yes, at the end of the day, my decision not to boycott the jersey comes down to two things: The first being my seeing no realistic means of convincing enough Sabres (and hockey) fans to stop buying ALL Sabres merchandise for long enough for the organization to feel a NEED to change, and the second being my own selfishness - I want what I want and I want it now (and I've got it lol). I realize that more militant slug haters might resent me for giving in to my own desire and not joining in the effort to see a better logo on the front of the jerseys (which I do want), but at the end of the day, it's the same team on the ice, regardless of what they're wearing and if I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: when Max goes speeding past the camera, dazzling a defenseman with his hands, I don't see the logo; I just see the overall design of the jersey, and it looks AWESOME.

I'm not yet a militant slug hater but I can respect your justification to buy a jersey. You put a hell of a lot more thought into it than bandwagoners, or kids who nagged their parents to death to buy them jerseys and other slug gear!

This is the honest to God's truth: I have not purchased Sabres merchandise in over 15 years. I was not a fan of the Goat Head and refrained up until the present day. I was all excited when hearing about the return to blue and gold and was very disappointed in what they came up with as logo and brand representation of the Buffalo Sabres. My dislike for the slug overrules my love for the new jersey design. And even if something better or worse comes along, the slug will still be available for purchase.

So I will continue to wait and campaign for change and will still be able to sleep at night.

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