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Go Big Pink?

pink hatThis Wednesday Struming comes from a guest Strumer, Carolyn Strum, who has learned at “the knee of the master”, so to speak. Truth is she already surpassed the master in many ways, and her knowledge of sports marketing is second to none. Her recent blog post, My Team’s Color Isn’t  Pink, comes from her blog, Ladies Love Sports 2. In it she discusses the explosion of pink merchandise targeted to women. Here are her thoughts:

There are few things that bother me more than pink hats. Now, I’m not referring to the breast cancer awareness stuff or the Victoria’s Secret clothes. I’m talking about the pink team logo hats scattered throughout the crowd at every sporting event in America. Coming from a woman’s perspective, this clearly isn’t a sexist knock on women at games, since, of course, I am one of them. HOWEVER, I am not one that will ever be found in a pink hat.

Wearing a pink hat is a red flag to the common sports fan, and the connotation is not positive. The highest rated definition of “pink hat” from urbandictionary reads as follows:


An overzealous, bandwagoner typically female fan of a recently successful local pro sports franchise. Characterized by the brand spanking new officially licensed pink team hat. Typically spends majority of game chatting on cell phone, waving to tv camera, asking idiotic questions & being a stupid annoying nuisance in general.

By wearing a pink hat, you’re essentially acknowledging the fact that you are wearing it because your husband/boyfriend is a fan or because being a fan is “trendy” (something of that sort) and you don’t actually know anything about the team.

Now, I understand why the pink hats are made. Most women like the color pink, a girl at a game would be drawn to the pink hat and a man would think of it as a nice gift for his wife/daughter/etc. There’s no doubt that the items sell. However, I think the pink hats conflict with the brand. That might seem like a silly thing to say, but there’s no doubting the role color plays in brand recognition. When you see a robins egg blue jewelry box, you know its from Tiffany’s. It’s so recognizable that the “Tiffany & Co” on the box is really unnecessary. Team colors are vital to the image and recognition of the team brand. When you see a shamrock green jersey, you can immediately identify it as a Celtics jersey without even seeing the logo. Picture that shamrock green jersey in your mind, and now make it pink. Taking away the team colors eliminates a very important aspect of a team’s image and brand.

Personally, you will never find me wearing a pink hat. There’s a reason my football team is often referred to as “Big Blue” and not “Big Pink”. Pink is not a team color, so wearing it does not best represent the team.

You can color me a more serious fan.

Smart cookie that Carolyn.

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One Comment

  1. I’ve heard rumors that sports companies feel the winning strategy to market to women is “Shrink it and Pink it,” and as a die hard Red Sox fan, I too am skeptical of pink hats at Fenway Park.

    What pink hats (and jerseys…) really show is sports marketers lack of knowledge about the female fan base. Making something pink doesn’t attract women, and women who prefer a fashionable pink hat over something in the team’s colors probably isn’t who you should be targeting. Marketers need to be aware that making something pink doesn’t mean women will automatically love it and buy it. If you want to sell sports gear to women, keep the team colors. The women who are fans will buy it, I assure you.

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