Old bunny logo tough to sell

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

The Jackrabbit is the face of SDSU and has been around for over 30 years. Yet people don’t want to wear it.

“It looks kind of childish,” said Kassandra Hernandez, a senior education major.

A logo committee comprised of student, alumni, administration and University Relations, Athletic Department representatives is working to create a new, updated version of the SDSU Jackrabbit. The university’s general fund is footing the $6,000 cost of the logo.

Representatives from Phoenix Design Works of New York City were scheduled to meet on campus Oct. 18 to present the preliminary designs, but had to reschedule because of a back injury, said Jenny Crickard, director of University Relations. Although not definite, the firm plans to visit campus Oct. 25 and to meet with students, faculty and alumni to get initial reactions of the exploratory designs.

“Our logo just seems antiquated,” said Derek Peterson, director of the University Bookstore.

The major reason for the logo update is because the current Jackrabbit isn’t as current as other Division I logos, Peterson said.

But the toothy-grinned rabbit also didn’t push a lot of merchandise.

“As far to put on a piece to sell . . . it’s a little cartoonish,” he said.

The store carries a few shirts and sweatshirts sporting the Jackrabbit logo, but they aren’t big sellers. Customers that do purchase apparel with the Jackrabbit are usually alumni or children.

Melissa Klein, a senior nursing major, said she would rather buy SDSU apparel that have the SD logo or says South Dakota State.

“I would probably prefer not to have the bunny,” she said.

The new logo will probably immediately generate more revenue for the bookstore, Peterson said. He said he imagines that people will want something with the new Jackrabbit.

Along with the updated Jackrabbit, the design firm will create an official Jackrabbit logo, which will be an additional benefit to branding efforts.

“The mark and verbage go together,” he said.

A new logo will also allow the bookstore to carry more items bearing the Jackrabbit. Peterson said that many manufacturers have approached him about selling their product in the bookstore with the Jackrabbit on it, but he is waiting for a new logo to be finalized.

“Right now, the rabbit is not sellable enough for to me expand on products,” he said. “[But] it’s a good game-day mascot.”

Any manufacturer who wants to put the SDSU Jackrabbit on a clothing or novelty item must get permission from University Relations, said Wes Tschetter, assistant vice president of Finance and Business. The Jackrabbit is trademarked, and those wishing to use it must pay a fee, which is routed to a scholarship fund that normally generates $35,000 to $40,000 annually.

SDSU is the only NCAA collegiate school to have the Jackrabbit mascot. Peterson said being the Jackrabbits is a unique selling point, but comes with difficulties.

“A lot of our art and buying takes a while because [the manufacturers] have to create something special for us,” he said.

The new logo should be finalized in February, in time for the bookstore’s fall purchasing.