Update Jan. 18, 12:37 a.m.: The College will be contacting SeaWorld, according to Katy Longley, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer. “Our company is currently looking into the matter and we will follow up with you as soon as we can,” wrote SeaWorld San Diego director of communications Dave Koontz in an email to the Orient.
The Bowdoin mascot is turning 100 this week, and everyone wants a piece. Madison Whitley ’13 recently spotted a hat in a SeaWorld San Diego store bearing the current incarnation of the College’s polar bear logo. The issue is now before the Treasurer’s Office, which handles trademark and copyright issues, according to Vice President for Communications Scott Hood.
(Whitley is the Orient’s co-Business Manager.)
“Tell Shamu to sleep with one eye open,” tweeted @BowdoinCollege.
“Wow, that is lame what Sea World did,” wrote Michael Morrow of Morrow Creative Group, which designed the logo, in an email to the Orient. Morrow also noted that it was more likely a SeaWorld licensee who had infringed.
The hat does not appear in the SeaWorld online store.
Although Hood and Morrow pointed to SeaWorld, Asher Stamell ’13 hopes it was Bowdoin who infringed: “I hope it comes out that our ‘designer’ stole it so we can go back to the original mean growling beast of a bear,” he tweeted. The logo was introduced in October 2008, replacing a plethora of older designs, including the popular teeth-baring running bear.
Stamell is not alone in scorning the current bear’s lack of ferocity; in early 2009, Lenny Pierce ’10 wrote a lengthy critique, noting, “No teeth are shown; no skull-crushing abilities are indicated.”
Still, the logo has plenty of fans. Both Hood and Morrow independently recalled an instance a couple years ago in which an Iceland store “decided they liked our bear too,” wrote Hood, and took it as their store logo. “We sent them a letter, which solved the problem.”
That “was really crazy,” wrote Morrow, who was Nike’s creative director before he started his own agency in 2000. “I guess it’s a backhanded compliment.”
At this time, SeaWorld PR has not replied to requests for comment. (see above)
Update Jan. 17, 3:02 a.m.: added disclaimer that Whitley is an Orient employee.