Friday, 21 November 2008

Black Is The New Black

There have been a lot of teams that have recently turned to a black alternate uniform. Spiderman did it as well, but he's infinitely cooler to six year-olds than NHL teams are. I have asked it before, and I'll be asking it again soon: what is the fascination with the colour black as a uniform base colour? Spiderman to the left does look much more ominous than he did as his red-and-blue self, but Spidey also gets a lot of help from the artists by portraying him in shadows and darkness. There are a number of ways that Marvel tried to spin this new "uniform" that Spiderman decided to wear, but it was eventually revealed that his black tights were an alien symbiote known as Venom. Venom tried to bond with its host, Peter Parker, but was rejected. The Sharks, attempting to capitalize on a partnership, appear to be the NHL's version of Peter Parker as they have allowed a symbiote to change their look.

As you roll your eyes, consider this: the San Jose Sharks are calling their new black jerseys "BlackArmor". Working with Seagate in this 12th season of their partnership, the Sharks are allowing Seagate to promote its newest product called, ironically, BlackArmor™. BlackArmor, the world’s first safe portable hard drive, "is a storage solution that provides government-grade AES encryption certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to help protect against unauthorized access to your valuable and private information. The BlackArmor portable hard drive also puts all security keys and cryptographic operations within the device, delivering stronger protection against hacking and tampering than traditional software alternatives".

What the...? Are you kidding me?

For all the complaints that fans have made in North America over the advertisements seen on European hockey jerseys, isn't this the biggest sell-out yet? The Sharks have named their alternate jerseys after a product! What's next - the "Seagate Sharks of San Jose"? This is bordering on offensive in terms of selling advertising space.

"Aligning the cool new black sweater with our BlackArmor portable hard drive is a unique promotion that we think Sharks fans will enjoy," Chief Executive Officer of Seagate Bill Watkins said. "Just as strong defense is key for a successful team like the Sharks, strong defense for your valuable digital content is the key benefit of our BlackArmor portable hard drive, and we’re leveraging this promotion to raise awareness of the importance of keeping your content safe and secure."

The San Jose Sell-Outs are poised for a good run in the "best marketing campaign of the year". That statement from Mr. Watkins is the biggest stretch since spandex was made in extra-large sizes.

Anyway, let's take a look at how Venom Seagate attached themselves to Spiderman the Sharks with these new uniforms.

First off, the Sharks decided to return to a black alternate jersey as they have worn in past seasons. I'm ok with the new white-bordered logo as it stands out against the black background, but I simply hate black backgrounds on uniforms. The one thing that does bother me is the size difference between the numbers on the left-hand shoulder compared to the size of the captaincy designations on the right-hand shoulder. They make the jersey look asymmetrical. It's more noticeable on Peter Parker Patrick Marleau.

As you can see on Marleau's jersey, the Sharks are using their city's initials as a shoulder patch with a miniscule secondary logo for good measure. Perhaps this shoulder patch will remind people that the symbiote company Seagate doesn't, in fact, own the Sharks. Why not just use the fin logo? What purpose does it serve if you can barely see it? That's an "epic fail" move.

The rear font is clean and crisp, and makes reading the player's name and number very easy. Unfortunately, this is precisely what white-and-black is supposed to do, so I'm not going to commend the Sharks for using polar opposite colours to make their font stand out.

What bothers me the most about these jerseys is that the Sharks have abandoned the burnt orange colour they were trying to introduce on their regular jerseys. Aside from the microscopic fin logo that will go unseen on televisions around the world, where did the orange go? Patrick Marleau is still looking for it.

Really, though, these jerseys scream "boredom". There's nothing revolutionary or different about them that would make them stand out in crowd. They are black with a couple of stripes on the arms. Big whoop. There are no shoulder contrasts, as seen on the home jerseys, and the complete lack of orange - a colour the Sharks heralded during their redesign - is completely gone. They list their colour scheme as "Deep Pacific Teal, Burnt Orange, Black", yet there is no orange anywhere to be seen on this jersey.

Maybe the Sharks' staff members were reading blogs about how some fans didn't like the orange in the colour scheme. Orange just isn't liked in the colour scheme, it seems. However, the burnt orange is sharp, and I like it as an accent colour on their normal jerseys.

Could they have worked it in on this jersey? I'm thinking they could have. How? I'm not sure. I'm not a designer. But apparently the Sharks didn't use one to come up with this alternate jersey anyway.

Overall, a very boring jersey. And a thumbs-down from me. The worst part is calling the jerseys "BlackArmor". It stinks of cash grab. I understand the partnership, but you're nothing but a poorly-dressed European hockey team in these jerseys, Sharks. And that's poor form for a professional hockey team in the best league in the world. Very poor form.

Get back to the red-and-blue, Spidey teal-and-silver, Sharks. Black just ain't your colour.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Sage Confucius said...

While it disturbs me to see any team prostitute itself to a company I can understand the Seagate connection. It's not at all random. With San Jose being in the Silicon Valley, and Seagate being headquartered there, the pairing is logical. However, if you want to partner with another local company try giving away the BlackArmor devices to the first 5000 fans or whatnot. The jersey connection is idiotic.

And another thing. I'm sick to death of all the black jerseys. Stop the madness!