Mar 11, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
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:
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.
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