TEAM BRAND IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT
Sometimes, a complete rebrand is the way to go. In other cases, a brand update is a better alternative. For the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, the latter was the approach taken when team owner Harris Turer felt their “Skull Boy” logo, which the club had introduced almost a decade prior, had run its course, and came to Studio Simon to help write the next chapter of his club’s brand story.
Though he was ready for a change, Turer knew he wanted to stay with the skeleton concept, as it differentiated his club from the many other nautical identities on the sports branding landscape. What’s more, it came with a clever backstory that told of a young Admirals hockey player who was lost in a shipwreck, only to emerge from the bottom of Lake Michigan to take the ice once again 30 years later, albeit a bit worse for wear as a result of his protracted, underwater ordeal.
So rather than try to rewrite this tale, we chose to add to the narrative. Knowing that there will always be a warm spot in the hearts of Ads fans for the previous logo, we felt it best to not throw the baby out with the bathwater (or, in this case, the lake water). Instead, he would now be joined by his father, who, like his son before him, has also resurfaced from the depths to lace up his skates for the Admirals. As the new (skeletal) face of the franchise, dad would grace the official home and road jerseys, with his boy’s bony likeness now on a third jersey.
This new pairing struck the right chord with the Milwaukee faithful. “Oh, they loved it immediately,” Turer remembered, and added that this reaction was not limited to Wisconsinites. “It was so well received and got so much attention, not just here, but across social media, and our merchandise sales are literally all over the world."
Top 100 Jerseys
This new logo is so nuanced, so pro, that it is better than many crests in the NHL.
– The Hockey News
The previous logo, Turer had noted, was favored mainly by younger fans. So the new logo artwork was developed specifically to appeal to a broader range of the fan age demographic, from when it was first unveiled and for years to come. “It has tremendous staying power,” Turer says. "After the initial excitement, you expect merchandise revenue to drop off somewhat after the first year, but it hasn’t. Actually, it’s going up.”
The sporting press likes it as well. In their rankings of The Top 100 Jerseys of All-Time, The Hockey News, the leading puck publication in North America, placed the Admirals sweater—which at the time had not yet even been worn in a game—at No. 11, alongside enduring classics like those of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.