Millions of dollars later, the university’s brand is back where it started

By Jesse Stokes, Columnist
On May 14, 2019


After eight months of logo changes and subsequent backlash, the university has wasted millions of dollars on a now unused logo. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

USF has refreshed its brand once again following eight months of backlash from members of the USF community in response to the academic logo.

Joe Hice, the vice president of Communications and Marketing, informed students and others that the lime-green bull logo, which many argue resembled Merrill Lynch's bull, would be removed and replaced with the existing Bull U academic logo by the end of the summer.

While the look of the university is certainly important, especially when attracting new students to apply for admission, the overwhelming cost associated with implementing the academic logo, slightly modifying it and now removing it outright should not go without mention.

When the logo was first introduced at President Judy Genshaft’s annual address in September, the backlash was immediate.

But it was the price tag that truly mattered.

The university formed a partnership with SPARK media, that would fund a year-long marketing campaign, costing $200,000.

But the costs did not stop there.

During the official launch of the logo on campus and beyond during Homecoming Week, the university spent roughly $500,000 on marketing and advertising pieces, including $26,974 to implement the 378 banners on the light poles on and surrounding campus.

For detractors of the logo, there was an initial glimpse of hope as the university announced it made modifications to the bull. The changes where seemingly unnoticeable and only included shortening the tail of the bull and planting its hoof flat, instead of pointed at an angle. These changes cost an additional $8,000.

Now, just weeks after the modification, the costs are continuing to pile high.

Hice said it will cost $1 million to rid of the academic logo.

This includes over $8,000 to change the logo on the “A Future Without Limits” marketing campaign, thousands more to reverse the banners and merchandise and a whopping $450,000 to change the signs in the USF Health building downtown, which has not even completed its initial construction.

Nearly $2 million worth of spending later and the university has nothing to show for it but an even more confusing brand image and months worth of backlash and outcry from students and alumni alike.

Now that USF has finally come to the wise decision of sticking with the Bull U logo that most associate with the university already, it would be wise to leave the brand untouched.

Refreshing the look of a university is one thing, but with consolidation on the horizon, preeminence potentially in jeopardy as a result, and a goal of reaching AAU status, the university must redirect its focus and move on from the monthslong logo fiasco.

 

Jesse Stokes is a senior majoring in political science.

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