containing or resembling grit
having strong qualities of tough uncompromising realism
Although I’d like to think that each and every one of you already knows who this large orange creature is, I’m sure there are some of you that probably don’t and are wondering why I’m bringing him to your attention. I’m sure you’re also probably asking yourself what exactly he has to do with this class. Well, without further ado, please let me introduce you to Gritty, the new mascot of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
Now that you’ve been introduced, let’s get down to the nitty gritty (see what I did there). As we all know, social media can be used as a means of sharing our lives with the world, as well as following along with those we know and those we don’t. The folks over in the Flyers marketing department also know this, hence the creation of Gritty, the first mascot that the team has had since the 1970s. As something that was seen as a joke to many when first introduced back in September, Gritty’s popularity has grown, racking up 147,000 Instagram followers, 223,300 Twitter followers and earning several appearances on late night television with the likes of Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert.
In a time when the Philadelphia Flyers have been struggling on the ice (sorry if there are any fans in the class, it’s true), they needed something that could help detract some attention away from their play and Gritty did just that. He was never your typical mascot that just walked around, laced up the skates or took photos with fans, he took on a persona and ran with it. With the use of social media, the Flyers have been able to create a personality for the bearded mascot with a hula hoop for a waist that attracts attention from a wide variety of parties. Yes, the Flyers could have just introduced him with a simple post on the team’s social media accounts that may have generated a little buzz at the onset and fans could have gotten to know him a bit throughout the season, but they had bigger plans in mind. The big orange mascot partakes in friendly banter with other teams around the league and even gets into it with the NHL, yes you read that right, the actual league. He also loves a good Instagram story, and his followers love them too. The mascot has also become so well liked that he now has his own apparel collection available on the Philadelphia Flyers website and in their arenas, giving the organization an opportunity to capture some revenue from those looking to dawn a Gritty t-shirt or sweatshirt.
Who knows if Gritty will continue to create a buzz or if the fanfare will die down, one thing is for certain, the Flyers are going to capitalize on what might just be their best public relations move to date. He’s connecting with the public in a way that no other mascot has and it’s proving to be a good thing for his team and the sport. Although hockey is one of the big four sports in the United States, it doesn’t necessarily garner as much attention as football, baseball or basketball, but Gritty and the Philadelphia Flyers organization are doing their part to get their social media presence more on the map. With the likes of USA Today and The Washington Post writing articles about him due to his antics displayed for the world to see, their use of social media is so far proving to be a success. In fact, Gritty has proven to be such a success that it will be interesting to see if other teams follow suit with giving their existing mascots more of a personality and another way of interacting with their fanbases or if they’ll just leave that to Gritty.
Who knew that a big orange monster with a couple of social media accounts could become somewhat of a sensation? If you’re a hockey fan (or even if you’re not) and enjoy some entertaining content, you might want to give Gritty a follow and see what all of the hype is about.
I do have to warn you though that any interactions with Gritty could result in some time in the penalty box. Just ask this mite hockey player….