Help wanted: Cubs search for Clark mascot
BY GEORGE SLEFO For Sun-Times Media January 16, 2014 12:19PM
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The Cubs have a brand-new mascot in Clark the Cub, but they still need someone to fill his shoes.
Next week, the team’s website will have a job opening for a “mascot coordinator,” senior marketing director Allison Miller said.
Translation: They need someone to be Clark the Cub.
With the winter caravan having begun Thursday and the Cubs Convention kicking off Friday, Miller said they’ve hired an experienced person to work the costume for a short-term basis but still need someone for the long haul.
Whoever lands the job will have some big furry pants to fill: Clark is the Cubs’ first modern-day mascot.
The idea to have a mascot came about after receiving feedback from fans, families and season-ticket holders through several focus groups spread out over a year. In the end, the organization realized they had a glaring gap.
“The 12-and-under [demographic] has really been an area of focus for us,” Miller said. “We have to build the next generation of fans.”
But in his debut Monday, Clark was beat on like a pinata as columnists, bloggers and social-media users took turns.
Still, Clark isn’t geared toward adults. He won’t be chugging Old Style in the bleachers, nor will he be launching T-shirts at fans.
On Opening Day, you’ll find him greeting kids outside the stadium or running the bases with toddlers. As Miller put it, he’ll be the Cubs’ “ambassador” to children.
With that mind-set, Miller and her team reached out to Minneapolis-based VEE Corporation, a company she collaborated with several years ago while working for General Mills. Back then, the assignment was to update the Honey Nut Cheerios bumblebee.
The company is known in marketing circles for making costumes for such iconic characters as Oscar the Grouch, Clifford the Big Red Dog and My Little Pony. They’ve also designed mascots for dozens of other pro teams.
“Our baseball players play 162 games in a regular season. That makes it difficult for players to come out to events,” Miller said. “With Clark, that won’t be the case.”
Meanwhile, VEE’s designers said they’re confident about Clark’s future and aren’t fazed by the public’s initial reception.
“We really believe that Clark is a strong character,” said Peter Windingstad, creative director at VEE.
“We know how to put something like this together, to get this out and represent the brand. . . . In the long run, it will win over the kids, which is our goal.”