The AFC and NFC championship games in the NFL will be played this weekend and decide who will meet in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is certainly one of the most well-known, valuable and well-protected trademarks in the US.  Advertising surrounding the Super Bowl has become its own event.

Last year, Doritos held a contest giving away $1 million dollars for the favorite add submitted by the public.  This was a great “social media” campaign as the video makers were doing unpaid promotion seeking votes via a Doritos website and the winning commercial was ranked as one of the best of the game and received great publicity for Doritos.  [Full disclosure: The winners Joe and Dave Herbert are former clients.]  Article about the commercial makers here:

Of the four teams left trying to reach the Super Bowl this year, Jets, Saints, Vikings, and Colts, which has the best brand?

My personal opinion is that the Vikings is the coolest of the bunch, with the Saints a close second.  It is rather unusual that all 4 of these team names are rather unique – as opposed to the Cowboys, Chiefs, Panthers, and other team names that are also used by many college and/or high school teams.

The Colts has a nice simplicity to it and to the logo/helmet.  But that logo came from the Baltimore Colts, and there is a long and bitter history about the team leaving Baltimore.  The “Colts” and Indianapolis have never seemed like a natural fit, more like the name was always an loan to them.  When I think of the Indianapolis Colts it does not conjure up much of any image of the team of the fans.

Not true with the Vikings.  The Vikings tells a whole story.  Fans dress up.  Mascots have beards and weapons.  The image matches the brute physical nature of football, and also the cold weather in Minneapolis.  It fits the city and the team very nicely.

The Saints also fits the city and fans of New Orleans.  The teams was names for the jazz tune “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  The colors black and gold were chosen as a link to the oil industry.  It fits and it works.  And how many other pro teams have a name with such direct religious meaning?

The NY Jets got their name because they originally played in Shea Stadium in Queens with the sound of airplanes from nearby LaGuardia Airport roaring overhead.  The colors green and white a match to those of Hess gas stations (Mr. Hess was one of the owners).  Other than the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS cheer, I’m not sure there is much character there in the name.  It is unique.  But a football team named after airplanes?  It does not evoke images of toughness, physicality, and the other characteristics of the game of football.

Regardless of the outcome on the field, I think the Vikings have the best logo and brand of the four teams left vying for the Super Bowl.

LESSON: Does your brand reflect your community?  Does it have an emotional tie to your products/services or to your customers?  The “Vikings” name and brand does.

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