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ASU students annoyed with mascot makeover, want their old Sparky back

Mar 11, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

sparkyoldnew Getty Images

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth at Arizona State at the moment over the university’s decision to give their mascot, Sparky, a makeover. The old Sparky is the one on the left here, and the new one unveiled recently by the university is on the right.

Sparky’s re-do was performed by Disney, the university saying that it wanted the mascot to be more appealing to kids. It’s part of a bigger marketing campaign that will see Sparky appear in comic books, animation and children’s books. But there’s been a big backlash on campus, with a couple of Facebook pages popping up to oppose the new mascot, and a student-produced video that slammed the Disney Sparky.

Even Sparky’s arch enemy, the University of Arizona’s Wilbut the Wildcat, chimed in:

Arizona Republic:

Student leaders feel blindsided. More importantly, they don’t like the look of the new Sparky.

“It looks creepy,” said ASU senior Austin Lincoln, a business major and student senator who wrote the student-government resolution.

“Absolutely horrible. Whose e-mail do we bombard for this?” one reader wrote on azcentral.com. “Sparky looks like he is on meth,” another said.

A few days later, the State Press campus newspaper and website weighed in:

“He looks like a villain from a Disney movie — the kind of villain that scares the hell out of you as a child and haunts your dreams.”

Of course Sparky has only been the Sun Devils mascot since 1946: for the first 60 years of the university’s existence it went through a series of mascots, among them an owl and a bulldog. And Sparky has had a series of different looks (get a load of this).

So yeah, change is inevitable. But it kind of baffles me as to why the university did this with no student participation whatsoever. Poor form, ASU.

  1. bringtheoldasusparkyback - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    JOIN the movement! Save Tradition Save Sparky!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-the-Old-ASU-Sparky-Back/129885120524109

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/481504928565222/?fref=ts