Crusaders fan will be more likely to treasure their old merchandise than rush to stores to buy new gear in the wake of the franchise’s logo change, according to a marketing expert.
The 10-time Super Rugby champions unveiled their new emblem at a press conference on Friday, while also confirming the club would keep its name following an extensive brand review which followed after the Christchurch mosque attacks in March.
In a statement, the Crusaders said that the new logo – The Tohu – was representative of of the natural landscape within the Crusaders region, stretching from the top of the “Southern Alps to the depths of our moana”.
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The revelation of the new image has been the subject of controversy among Crusaders fans, with many taking to social media to voice their displeasure of the new logo.
Additionally, sports marketing expert Simon Arkwright told Stuff it was unlikely any impact of financial revenue had played a part in the Crusaders’ decision-making about the rebranded logo.
Instead, he suggested that the option to switch to a stylised red and black ‘C’ from the imagery that depicted the Christian crusades was done from a moral standpoint.
“The Crusaders marketing team has done a great job – they are probably the most recognisable Super Rugby team – but all their imagery was irrevocably linked with the Christian crusades,” Arkwright said.
“They had to drop that but if they’d decided to go in a radical new direction, I think they would have misplayed their hand.”
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Arkwright told Stuff that devoted fans would be more likely to take to the changes than half-hearted followers, but said that fans weren’t likely to buy jerseys with the new logo on it due to the sense of pride and history that the old logo embodied with the club.
The new jerseys for the 2020 Super Rugby season will not feature the new logo, as only the stylised Crusaders font has survived in place of where the full emblem would normally sit.
“Overseas, particularly with football in the United Kingdom, having all your team’s jerseys is important.
“Rugby is different – there probably won’t be a great rush to get new gear,” he said.
“We don’t have that real desire to go out and buy everything, that’s not really in our psyche.”
In fact, Arkwright predicted that the trend would spike the opposite way, in that fans would push to buy older jerseys with the team’s original branding.
“It will probably go the other way and people will want to buy what they can before the new merchandise arrives.”
The Crusaders kick-off their 2020 Super Rugby campaign under their new logo against the Waratahs in Nelson on February 1.
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