This is the story of one of the most successful brands in Minor League Baseball history. The story of a city that lost a historic franchise, only to have it triumphantly return to the city of El Paso and redefine what an excellent fan experience can be. Brandiose and the El Paso Chihuahuas’ story began before the team had a name and with our first research visit to El Paso.
At the end of the El Paso team naming process we were down to two candidates, the “Buckaroos” and the “Chihuahuas”. The Chihuahuas was a Brandiose favorite for a multitude of reasons. It’s a great metaphor for El Paso and the City’s status in Texas as the underdog city, the City is located in the Chihuahuan desert, and El Paso has a sister city across the boarder, Juarez, so we loved that the name was bilingual.
So we cracked open our sketchbook and began exploring logo designs for both the “Buckaroos” and the “Chihuahuas”.
Once we presented the first round of concepts, it quickly became clear that the Chihuahuas was inspiring a much more fun brand story. Sure, Buckaroos opened us up to a world of cowboys and rodeos, but Chihuahuas gave us junkyard dogs and a character that inspires a fiesta!
No stone is left unturned at Brandiose and in the case of the Chihuahuas, we wanted to make sure we found just the right amount of junkyard and scrappiness. So we explored scars, eye patches, and three kinds of teeth-baring expressions. Just because our pooch was feisty, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be cuddly. And we felt like the first version of the Chihuahuas’ head (below) needed a little more meat on his bones.
The final version of our scrappy junkyard pooch was feisty and yet loveable. The above options explored the primary logo options with stars, shields, circles and more.
The Chihuahuas understand that building an identity doesn’t end with logos and uniform designs. They’ve embraced the power of design to permeate every interaction of the fan experience. Are fans texting each other about going to a Chihuahuas game? Let’s give them custom emojis to use!
Did your fans invent a Chihuahuas’s hand gesture? Let’s immortalize it with a logo! Do you want every flyer, logo, and headline to reflect the brand? Let’s create a custom Chihuahuas font to empower everyone to extend the brand!
One of our favorite ideas in Minor League Baseball is the welcome wagon that so many teams are rolling out for their fans at their guest services areas. One of our favorite ideas that we’ve worked with clubs to bring to Minor League Baseball fans are buttons. This simple idea lets everyone know that it’s the fan’s birthday or first game. Once the fan has been adorned with a button, they’re lavished with “Happy Birthday!” and “Welcome to your first Chihuahuas game!” from ushers and concession workers. El Paso has upped the game with a social media area that overlooks the ballpark, replete with giant Chihuahuas logos and “Play Ball” props for fans to immortalize their experience at that night’s game.
At Brandiose, we have a long list of different criteria that lead to a successful name. Our favorite criteria is, “Does it inspire your staff to create an exciting fan experience?” What’s clear about El Paso’s success is that the name “Chihuahuas” lit a creative fire in the Chihuahuas’s staff that still burns bright. Brandiose and the Chihuahuas have continued to expand the brand with logos for their foundation, promotional logos for themed nights, retro logos for the old “Diablos” brand that used to play in El Paso, and much more.
We love creating mascots at Brandiose. Jason and Casey’s first job out of high school was as the Swinging Friar for the Padres, and Jason was Big Al at the University of Alabama. For Chico, we wanted to create a character and costume that felt like we had brought the Chihuahuas logo to life. We also wanted to make sure we kept his signature spiked collar and scar through the eye but wouldn’t make kids nervous.
The El Paso Chihuahuas have one of the most exciting food and beverage programs in all of sports. Every corner of the park is filled with authentic flavors of El Paso and Juarez. From the enormous, colorful jars filled with Agua Frescas, to the bacon-wrapped “Juarez” hotdogs, the smells of West Texas fill the ballpark. One of their biggest hits has been the dog bowl nachos, a Brandiose designed and sculpted custom dog bowl. The bowl is all beat up from years in the junkyard, and is piled high with fresh chips covered in barbecue and queso. The vessels have become an iconic part of the Chihuahuas fan experience, and parents regularly post photos on social media of their kids eating their cereal out of them the morning after the game.
Our other favorites you’ll find in the ballpark are pineapples drenched with hot sauce, “Chihuarrrines” Chihuahuas branded chicharrones, and a colossal 3lb burrito drenched in queso just begging to be Instagramed, the “Championship” burrito.
We got a call from Brad, the GM in El Paso, with tragic news. One of their head grounds keeper, Nate Jones had been tragically killed in a traffic accident. They had the thoughtful and poignant idea of creating a “CompassioNate” logo for the outfield wall that would serve as a tribute to the beloved staff member. We were honored to help.
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