I just found out about a fun contest to determine who has the best college mascot. See www.capitalonebowl.com. Of course, it would be more fun if the contest was not a corporate promotion… but Capital One has a right to promote its brand and trademark in creative ways.

A mascot is an extension of a team brand. The mascot may have a name, use the team name and/or logo, and use the team colors.

What are the best collect mascots from a trademark perspective? The best mascots should be unique, creative and suggestive of their school team. In other words, the best mascots are just like the best trademarks for any business.

The Capital One 2010 Mascot Challenge contains 8 finalists:

  • BIG BLUE – Old Dominion University Monarchs’ mascot

    • Comments: Also a mascot name for Kentucky and for Utah State. The Old Dominion University logo includes a lion and a crown. The name “Big Blue” does not have much to do with the theme of the school or the team name, other than the color.
    • Trademark registration:
      • – registered for “educational services, namely conducting courses on the university level; entertainment services, namely presentation of athletic events”
  • BIG RED – Mascot for WKU (Western Kentucky University) Hilltoppers
    • Comments: A seemingly original character, Big Red appears to be a blob of red. From the WKU website: The huge, furry, lovable creature was originally designed and built by WKU student Ralph Carey (’80) of Cincinnati, and made its debut during the Hilltoppers’ 1979-80 basketball season. “Big Red” has become a big hit with fans of all ages throughout the state and the nation.
    • Trademark Registration:
      • – registered for a variety of goods and services
  • BRUTUS – Mascot for Ohio State Buckeyes
    • Comments: Brutus’ face is a ‘buckeye’
    • Trademark Registration:
      • BRUTUS – registered for “educational services, namely, providing courses of instruction at the college level; entertainment services, namely, organizing and conducting sports and recreation events”
  • THE DUCK – Mascot for the Oregon Ducks
    • Comments: The duck mascot is a duck of course, not much creativity involved.
    • Trademarks: none related to athletics or mascot
  • PAYDIRT – Mascot for the UTEP Miners
    • Comments: Paydirt is less obvious choice for a mascot. Certainly original. From the UTEP website: The name “Paydirt Pete” was selected in 1974 from over 500 entries in a contest to give a name to the mascot. The first animated Paydirt Pete mascot was a lovable lil’ ol’ miner nicknamed “Sweet Pete,” but he was replaced later by the more rugged Paydirt Pete. Another version of the mascot was introduced in the fall of 1999 when the athletic department introduced a new logo. The current Paydirt Pete made his debut at a men’s basketball game during the 2004 season.
    • Trademarks: none
  • JOE VANDAL – University of Idaho Vandals
    • Comments: Vandals is a unique team name. The message is a bit odd, since a vandal isn’t really a positive term.
    • Trademarks:
      • pending application for a variety of goods and services, including “Entertainment in the nature of competitions in the field of athletics”
      • IDAHO VANDALS – pending application for a variety of goods and services
  • MONTE – University of Montana Grizzlies
  • Comments: Monte is a cute nickname taken from “Montana”. He is a grizzly bear.
    • Trademarks: none
  • BEARCAT – Cincinnati Bearcats
    • Comments: Mascot name and image not very creative, just a simple reflection of the team name.
    • Trademark:
      • – pending application for a variety of goods and services

Which is the most effective and creative mascot? Of course, I favor those with trademark registrations as their schools have been wise enough to see the value in protecting the intellectual property affiliated with the mascot. PAYDIRT PETE is very creative and unique theme and name, I like it a lot.  Idaho gets credit for a unique mascot and for registering both the VANDALS name and logo; but what is the message of a “vandal” mascot?My favorite is therefore “BIG RED” because it is also creative, and it is a registered design image.

Do you have a favorite mascot? Is it registered with the USPTO?

Tip: Protected trademarks and better and more valuable.

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