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Volume 20 No. 42
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Big 12’s new marketing slogan stresses competitive distinction

The Big 12 Conference is expected to officially roll out its new logo on Tuesday, along with a marketing campaign titled “One True Champion” that highlights the distinctiveness of the 10-member conference.

The logo, which the league introduced last year, features the Roman numeral for 12, but is more stylized and curved compared to the older, rectangular mark.

“It is to position ourselves based on everything that has been happening on the intercollegiate landscape of late, both directly within the Big 12 and outside the Big 12,” said Bob Burda, Big 12 associate commissioner of communications. “To position ourselves with a mark that would resonate in the marketplace and reinforce us as a progressive, forward-thinking thought leader within college athletics.”

The rebranding process took roughly two years with the help of GSD&M, an Austin, Texas-based advertising firm. The Big 12 spent $415,000 on the design and implementation of the logo for the league offices, but costs at individual schools vary depending on the number of teams and venues.

Accompanying the new logo will be a style guide to serve as a comprehensive manual of how and where the new mark can be used. For the first time in league history, the logo will be required to appear on football uniforms. The majority of uniforms will feature the mark on the chest opposite the side of the manufacturers’ logo. The mark also will be required to appear below the free-throw line on basketball courts. The new logo goes into effect on Tuesday and the style guide regulations will be implemented for the 2014-15 seasons.

“In the past we haven’t had any rules or any policies around such things as where does the mark go on the basketball floor, where does it go on the football field or where does it go on your helmet or where does it go on your baseball uniform,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The style guide helps us annunciate how we’re going to do that.
“In the new day, there’ll be standardization of what the mark looks like, what colors it can be used in, how it is positioned on various uniforms and fields and venues.”

In addition to the logo roll-out and the regulations regarding its use, the league will debut a new marketing campaign titled “One True Champion.” The league copyrighted the phrase, which emphasizes the fact that Big 12 members play every other school during the regular season — which is not the case in football for the other major college conferences: the American Athletic, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.

“It represents what we think is a real differentiator for the Big 12 in that our teams all play everybody in the league,” Bowlsby said. “We think that is the right way to determine who wins your league.”

The conference bought full-page ads in a half-dozen preseason college football publications for the campaign and will launch the microsite on Tuesday in addition to roll-outs on social media platforms.

The league plans to give every incoming freshman student at Big 12 schools a T-shirt with the Big 12 logo in their school colors on the front and the school logo on the back. Even though the league now features 10 members and the logo still indicates 12, Bowlsby said the new mark tested exceptionally well with the 18- to 35-year-old demographic, and tested first with every age demographic overall.

“It isn’t as much a numerical representation as it is expected to be an iconic logo, and I do think we embrace the traditions we have,” Bowlsby said. “We think there is cachet in the Big 12 brand.

“This is really intended to be an iconic piece of art as much as it is a numerical representation of our membership.”