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Steve Pederson, A Marketing Genius?

Each trip to Heinz Field for a Pitt game produces thousands of fans sporting the PittScript throwback gear, even in the student section.
Each trip to Heinz Field for a Pitt game produces thousands of fans sporting the PittScript throwback gear, even in the student section.

A few weeks ago I was at the Waterfront wearing my PittScript shirt when I saw a younger guy walking towards me, also sporting the PittScript logo. He looked at me, nodded, and said "nice." At that moment I realized he was probably seven years old, if that, when Steve Pederson moved Pitt from royal blue and mustard gold to midnight blue and vegas gold, eliminating the PittScript and introducing the dinocat. No one has let him live this down, and to this day the debate rages on (including right here on this blog). Yet, I'm here to argue the opposite:

Steve Pederson is a marketing genius for eliminating the PittScript logo and there's a very good reason not to bring it back.

I must be crazy, you say. Blasphemy! How can someone argue against bringing back the fabled PittScript logo!? Hear me out on this one before you call me crazy.

The PittScript logo is a huge money maker for Pitt. How many people reading this today own both a throwback PittScript item plus a current block letter logo item? By introducing a new logo, and later on bringing back PittScript merchandise, Pederson created a dual-sales channel. Everyone loves throwback merchandise - look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and their alternate jerseys since 2008. The problem with throwbacks is, if you haven't changed in decades it becomes hard to throw back to something. Throwbacks are a niche market with a huge demand: eliminating PittScript and bringing it back years later introduces that niche market. Go shopping and look for PittScript merchandise, you'll notice you only really find it in one place: The Petersen Events Center. I guarantee you that is on purpose.

Is the market really there for PittScript? Oh yes, yes it is. Take a look at the Panthers' official online store: there is a dedicated menu item and dedicated page just for Throwback Script Pitt. This shows the demand is there. Additionally, I heard that when taking the Pitt contract, Nike paid a good amount of money to be able to sell the PittScript merchandise. Nike's interest in the PittScript shows what a strong brand it still is to this day.

Strong brand, niche market, and high demand? Sounds like a winning recipe for sales to me. I do offer one piece of advice though, just one way to make the demand stronger. Every so often have a throwback game and let the team wear the PittScript. It will generate buzz and drive sales up, plus we all get to see someone like Ray Graham in a PittScript helmet. Remember the demand for Tyler Palko throwback jerseys?

Now whether or not this was Steve Pederson's intention in 1997 is up for question; however you have to admit it worked out pretty well in the long run. So there it is, my reasoning for not bringing back the PittScript. Is it a business reason? Yes, but College Football today is a big business. Alright, now you can call me crazy.

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