The Major League Baseball season kicked off Sunday night with a surprising win for the American League’s newest team, the Houston Astros. For the past few years, the Astros have been the National League’s worst team, but they moved into the American in the offseason and, for one night at least, the team is tops in the sport. That is likely to change soon, of course, but, for now, those players that are so used to losing are making their dreams of childhood into reality.
Kids who dream of playing in the Major Leagues someday (or the parents who dream of their kids making it someday) now have access to one of the tools that pro ballplayers have been using for eons: the Louisville Slugger.
Sure, the Slugger can be found on the retail market for any old consumer, but, until now, everyday schmoes weren’t sold Sluggers made from the same wood that the bats made for the pros were made from. Now Louisville Slugger has introduced a new bat, the Louisville Slugger Prime, that is made of the same material whether you’re a 6-year-old in Little League, a minor-league ballplayer, a Major Leaguer or an aging retiree grasping at your youth.
More than 60 percent of the players in Major League Baseball use bats made by Louisville Slugger, which has been used in the league for more than a century, according to Forbes. The iconic brand that started with the turning of a single wood bat more than 129 years ago is now writing the next chapter with a new logo and the launch of its MLB Prime bat—billed as "The Hardest Bat. Ever"—on major league fields.
Along with the harder and more accessible new bat, the company is also introducing a new logo, only its seventh since “Louisville Slugger” was trademarked in 1894 and the first change in the mark in over 30 years. The logo reveal (on a giant bat, with a #BigBat Twitter hashtag) is supported by a "Leave Your Mark" campaign, which reinforces the Louisville Slugger brand promise to “Make Players Great.”
Throughout MLB's Opening Weekend and beyond, players, coaches, organizations, retail partners and "Slugger Nation" fans are invited to tell their stories about how the sport and brand has left an indelible mark on them. The “Leave Your Mark” social campaign heralds a new era for the sport and the legendary brand across its Slugger.com website plus Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine (see above) and YouTube channels, with the new logo as a key story uniting those social platforms.
The new logo was developed by Interbrand, which also handled brand voice and naming strategy for the brand refresh. “We chose to update the logo now to reflect the reality that our company, products and culture are evolving with the times,” stated John Hillerich, fifth-generation CEO of Hillerich & Bradsby, which makes the bat. “We have exciting new products, dynamic relationships with the best players in the game, and stronger business partnerships than ever.”
"Relationships with pros alone, however, no longer cut it," Kyle Schlegel, VP marketing at Hillerich & Bradsby, told Ad Age. "So Louisville Slugger increasingly targets top college, high-school and even younger players, sponsoring select travel leagues for elite youth players and getting 10 of the top 30 college teams under contract, all, as he puts it, to "get ahead of the curve."
So batter up and play ball!