University of South Carolina Gets New Logos in Battle of USCs, But Not Everyone Is Happy
The University of South Carolina enlists “Gamecocks” as the nickname for its sports teams, so it seems natural to presume that the Columbia-based school would be up for a good figurative fight here and there. The overseers appear to have one on their hands, as they have met with resistance due to their Jan. 9 decision to unveil logos that they hope will help it claim abbreviation distinction after years of competition against the University of Southern California.
We now have a whole family of logos! Here they are side-by-side: pic.twitter.com/3u5WxKQFLu
— University of South Carolina (@UofSC) January 9, 2019
The two schools do not compete in the same athletic conference, with South Carolina a proud member of the Southeastern Conference and Southern California a decorated constituent of the Pac-12 Conference. Therefore, any battles between them are likely not to take place in the sports realm. Like all schools, they compete for enhanced registrant tallies, but these two heavyweights have been engaging in a bigger tussle for some time, that of identifying as “USC.” We have to admit that until we learned of the beef between the two and the abbreviation move by South Carolina, we had not thought to associate “USC” with the Palmetto State education destination, simply choosing to refer to the “Gamecocks” since we often have sports on our minds.
Apparently, though, the institutions have been duking it out for prominence as “USC,” but the South Carolina bunch is no longer going to roll with the punches in the matter, adopting “UofSC” as its new identifier. Relying on two years of research and design efforts, the new logos—one would think—would add pride to the entire state since they are aimed to help the school stand out, but as we learned with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and its fan-driven backlash against a logo alteration, higher learning sites should not expect universal praise for their artistic efforts.
Twitter, as it usually is regarding any individual’s or company’s decision to make changes, proved an interesting playground for people to vent their frustrations with the variation.
How about we bring this one back instead pic.twitter.com/sOUw6tWf7A
— Ryan McGillan (@rpm312) January 11, 2019
I don’t know but imo the new UofSC logo is garbage.
— Cockpit Brad (@CockPitTweets) January 11, 2019
You need to ask for a refund pic.twitter.com/kI6guENGc1
— Irving Snerd (@RonaldR71639834) January 11, 2019
— The Spurs Up Show (@TheSpursUpShow) January 9, 2019
“In terms of the response, we get it,” J.C. Higgins, the director of brand strategy at the University of South Carolina, said. “There was some confusion. Once they see it come to life throughout the semester, they’re going to like it.”
“We’re realistic about the fact that many people won’t start saying ‘UofSC’ right away,” spokesman Jeff Stensland said. “It will take a while for people to get used to it, and that’s OK.”
I don't think people understand the purpose of the rebranding. 🤔 Y'all can still refer to @UofSC as "USC", "South Carolina", "Carolina", "The Original USC", etc. That was not the purpose. It's geared toward the marketing world 👈🏾
— Mr. Brownlee (@_MrBrownlee) January 11, 2019
As the above tweet makes clear, people can choose to dub the school whatever it wants, as the logo swap mainly serves to increase marketing opportunities for its brand. This matter between the institutions does not even register as the first sort of confrontation between schools over letters, as Oklahoma State and Ohio State universities staged quite a quarrel over the “OSU” designation. With this instance, though, ego does not seem as much of a motivator as brand distinction does.
The universities in this matter have massive endowments, so neither is going to suffer a sudden lack of applications to join the student body or a decline in the number of businesses that look to give financial support or receive sponsorships from each. Since The State has noted that the cost of the new logos makes up just a little bit more than 10 percent of the $238,000 rebrand, it will be interesting to see how “UofSC” (which is kind of a mouthful) takes off. It's also worth watching which other means the University of South Carolina—especially in the promo world—takes to distinguish itself from the University of Southern California, whose sports teams, nicknamed the Trojans, gave us one of our favorite “Saturday Night Live” clips.