Shawn Tilger was sitting at the 2017 NHL All Star Game, and afterwards was watching the goofy mascot hockey game they always do. All the teams that had mascots were out on the floor skating around and bumping into each other. Tilger’s son asked him, they the Philadelphia Flyers did not have a mascot? Tilger, the Chief Operating Officer of the Flyers knew that they had to change that. They were missing out on a marketing opportunity, it was time for action. The Eagles have the Phanatic and the Swoop. The 76ers have Franklin. He could see these mascots all over the city, at airports, at community events, visiting amusement parks. When he got back to the office, he asked the marketing team to start working on a concept. It would not be until after the 2018 season that the Flyers would introduce their new mascot, Gritty.
Shawn Tilger, Joe Heller,and Sarah Schwab agonized over the character for months. Thousands of designs and sketches would fill the room in which they worked. They wanted something different, something that would stand out and something that would not look stupid or scare little children. They finally came up with this large orange furry creature, with crazy eyes, big toothless smile, giant orange beard and hockey shorts with a protruding “dad-bod” belly. Great Article on this btw. They released the new mascot in front of several kids and then created a twitter account and went live.
In typical Philadelphia fashion, the fans hated it. It was bad, in just 24 hours the hate was pouring in. However, then something magical happened. The Pittsburgh Penguin mascot publicly ridiculed and attacked Gritty. Gritty responded on Twitter, that the bird better sleep with one eye open tonight. That went viral, and with that demonstration of grit, Philadelphia accepted their new orange bearded teddy bear. Internet celebrities, actors, comedians started to embrace gritty and pretty soon Gritty was all over the place. Then one day on a way to an away game, Gritty noticed a stand of stuffed Sharks and went bezerk. Gritty tore them of the shelf and then did a giant belly flop on them. Gritty was now an Internet sensation and the city of Philadelphia could not have been prouder.
Thus was born Gritty, named after the tenacity of the citizens of one of America’s proudest cities. They are now know as Gritizens. This has become a symbol, and that is why I have decided that I need a mascot for my business. Yup, this is going to be nuts. However, I am coming up with something new here and it is going to be funny, stupid, shocking and hopefully captivating! What should it be?
Here will be born the alter-ego. The creature that will go there, where I would be unwilling to go. The irreverent disciple of chaos, competition, and courage. Hmm. This could be really fun…or really stupid. Guess I need a little grit.