The Richmond Flying Squirrels is a story of defying the critics and capturing the heart of a city that had all but given up on Minor League Baseball. When we arrived for our research visit, City officials shook our hands and immediately told us that Richmond was too stuck in its ways to do anything outside the box. By the end of our trip, we knew that was incorrect. Not only did we know that some of the most fun, innovative operators were going to run the Club, but it was clear that Richmond, who was the historic seat of power in the South, had a spirit of rebellion that remained central to its identity.
The process of naming the team was, as always, a dramatic one. When the name was finally announced, we were immediately inundated with impassioned editorials, social media campaigns, and mail from citizens furious about the Flying Squirrels name.
But behind the scenes, we knew something that the citizens didn’t. That the Flying Squirrels’ management was poised to bring a legendary fan experience to the City. That came into focus when Chuck Domino, the President of the Club, was asked by a reporter, “Are you in the baseball or circus business?” And Chuck replied, “Let me be very clear, we are in the circus business.”
With that inspirational message, we had our marching orders: Create a symbol of power and rebellion that would become a harbinger of the legendary fan experience that’s about to be delivered to the City of Richmond.
There were two thematic directions that we knew we wanted to merge with a flying squirrel: superheroes and fighter pilots. After seeing the first round of concept sketches, it became clear that while fighter pilots yielded some cool ideas, the superhero angle symbolized power and rebellion much more effectively.
So we went back for a second round of sketches to explore the idea of refining our superhero flying squirrel and make sure it perfectly symbolized the idea that this hero was swooping in to restore fun to the City of Richmond.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels brand has gone on to break merchandise sales records and captured the hearts of Richmond citizens, proving that no market is resistant to Minor League Baseball’s brand of fun when it’s turned up to eleven.
And how do the people that wrote the impassioned editorials and started the social media campaigns feel now that the team identity has been unveiled? Let’s just say that reading this editorial cartoon from the Richmond Times-Dispatch remains one of Brandiose’s career highlights.
The quality of Minor League Baseball entertainment that Chuck Domino, Todd “Parney” Parnell, and the Flying Squirrels’ staff bring to their fans every season is now legendary. Brandiose has been privileged to help the club develop logos and designs that symbolize that legendary fan experience.
The Flying Squirrels have one of the most fun cast of characters in all of sports. Anchored by their intrepid hero “Nutzy”, the Squirrels mascot universe includes the additions of Nutasha and a giant inflatable Acorn.
Now since retired, the Squirrels helped pioneer one of our favorite ideas in Minor League Baseball, villains! Every hero needs a foil and the Squirrels’ cast included a Captain RRRVA and Victor Viking.
Also since retired to a farm upstate, Parker the Rally Pig was a live pig that Squirrels’ staffers ran around warning track to rally the fans to their feet. It was even featured on Sportscenter’s “Not Top 10 Countdown”.
Before Flying Squirrels had been decided on, one of the names that had been considered was the Richmond Rhinos. The alliteration alone made the concept awesome. So we created a logo for What-Could-Have-Been-Night, which brought the possibility of that alternate reality to life.
One of our favorite ideas of the last 10 years is the Flying Squirrels Brunch Bunch games. Seeing the popularity of brunch spots on weekend mornings, especially amongst younger Richmond folks, the Squirrels started a Sunday morning game presentation complete with a waffle bar and the team decked out in a fully-themed waffle identity featuring a syrup lettering system.
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