Rabbitohs Respond to Brand Critic
Thursday 29 November 2012 11:30 AM
Rabbitohs Chief Commercial Officer John Richardson has responded to claims by a ‘brand expert’ that were recently published in trade magazine AdNews titled ‘Rabbitohs woes stem from poor branding, says expert’, which said the Rabbitohs’ “fluffy white rabbit” brand is flawed and should be changed.
John Richardson’s response to these claims can found below.
We here at the Rabbitohs were shocked by these claims as to the relevance and power of our symbol, our brand, saying it was somehow sub-par, and we wanted to express that this article is not a true reflection of where our brand actually is in the market place, nor our business for that matter.
The ‘journalist’ and ‘expert’ have loosely cobbled together a shallow opinion and un-researched anecdotes lifted from an article in a Sydney newspaper about where our business and our brand is at, without speaking to us obviously.
The rabbit has been on the jersey since the 1950’s, before which the team simply wore the cardinal and myrtle stripes, the same stripes that they wear to this day. These are the colours that represent the Rabbitohs, since their foundation in 1908.
A ‘Rabbitoh’ was a battling member of the early 20th century who hunted rabbits in the fields of South Sydney, skinned them, and then walked the streets of Redfern selling them yelling “rabbit-o!”
These hardened men made up a majority of the early South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club sides which became familiarly known as the ‘Rabbitohs’.
The rabbit is about the people and place.
About the history.
And I can assure you our players, Members and supporters hold it dearly in their hearts.
You will often see players kissing the rabbit after the team scores a try.
To respond to our “woes”...
The Rabbitohs have won 20 premierships, more than any Club in the competition.
We have the largest Membership of any NRL Club in NSW, over 22,000 in 2012.
We sell more merchandise via our Club Shop, online outlets and game days than any other team in Australia, bar the AFL/NRL grand finalists.
We command more major sponsorship revenue than any NRL club, outside of the Broncos.
We’ve posted an EBITDA profit for the past four years, with no Leagues Club funding, unlike any of our Sydney Rugby League neighbours.
When the Club was excluded from the competition during the Super League war, 80,000+ people marched the streets from Redfern to Town Hall, twice, to demand its readmission, which was granted in 2002.
The Football Club and the brand have been awarded National Iconic Status by the NSW Trust in 2008, for what the Club means to our community both in Sydney and more broadly in the indigenous community across Australia.
We are the only Founding NRL Club remaining in the competition that has been operating under the same name since inception.
Our brand is globally unique, unlike less “fluffy” team brands such as Lions, Tigers and Bears.
Our football team finished third last season, and finished one game short of the Grand Final in front of over 70,000 people at ANZ Stadium.
In terms of fearlessness, that rabbit is worn by players that put their bodies on the line every week. It was famously worn by John Sattler, a member of the 1970 Rabbitohs premiership-winning team that played 77 minutes of the game with a jaw broken in three places, to help them win the Club’s 19th premiership, with him shown carrying the J. J. Giltinan Shield around the SCG with his team mates.
That is what the rabbit is about, and I’ll be damned if I’ll ever consider changing it.
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