Fish Sticks edge Seal Slingers in close vote for Dub Sea team name

Baseball fans on social media engaged in a hotly contested ballot to determine a new name for the Highline Bears, a Seattle-based collegiate summer level team in the Pacific International League. In October, the team released two brands developed by Brandiose, the Dub Sea Fish Sticks and the Dub Sea Seal Slingers, and let fans select which one the team would adopt through an online vote.

In the end, the nickname Fish Sticks garnered 50.4 percent of the tally, with Seal Slingers taking 49.6 percent. Out of roughly 5,000 votes, that calculates to a difference of just 40 votes.

“We had these different pods of support,” said general manager Justin Moser. “Twitter seemed to be very much Seal Slinger-heavy, Facebook fans and followers were very much Fish Stick-heavy.”

A US map prepared by the team shows how the states votes—notably including voters in Washington state getting their wish with the name Fish Sticks. Included in that state of Washington is the area known as Dub Sea, which is a colloquial abbreviation for either West Seattle or White Center, the Seattle neighborhood where the team plays.

The team announced the results of the vote today and released a fleshed out identity system, including several new logos and a revised word mark. In describing the unique method of determining a nickname, and the fact that the new name is based on frozen junk food, Jason Klein of Brandiose put it like this:

“It was a new process for a new, processed food logo.”

The brand centers on an anthropomorphized fish stick following through on a swing that should look familiar to Seattle baseball fans. The character, wearing a backwards cap and swinging a French fry bat, is a tribute to Ken Griffey, Jr.

“It’s an homage to him,” Moser said, “paying tribute to arguably the best swing in baseball ever and obviously the best swing ever to come out of Seattle.”

There are a lot of minor league baseball logos based on seafood, but this one stands out in that it’s the only one that represents seafood that’s been caught, processed, frozen, and then fried or microwaved before being eaten. Basing a logo off a food item that is likely a staple of the typical collegiate summer level baseball player’s diet gave Brandiose the opportunity to create a certain type of personality.

“With Fish Sticks, you’re winking at the audience, in a way,” Klein said. “The idea that this fish stick is taking itself very seriously… it’s like, you’re a fish stick, why are you taking yourself so seriously, and he says, no I’m going yard! That is the minor league humor in it.”

Representing the intricacies of frozen junk food presented a unique design challenge.

“We spent an inordinate amount of time getting the shape and the crunchiness just right,” Klein said. “The revision on this was, what is the ideal shape of a fish stick. Is it a rounded top, is it a square top?”

The color palette of navy, light blue, and yellow, will help the team establish itself in a crowded Seattle sports market.

“We’re trying to stand out in a big city,” Moser said. “The light blue was different from what a lot of sports teams do, and the yellow and brown that we have is visually different from anything else around. That was the goal.”

A fish-based brand provides the team plenty of opportunities for creative marketing. Their stadium will be called The Fryer, and they’ll have fish stick recipe contests, between-inning fishing contests, and their ceremonial first pitch will be a fish throw—familiar to anyone who has seen the fish that are flung around Seattle’s Pike Place Market to the delight of tourists.

“Our whole goal was, we need to do something to stand out because we’re trying to get fans to come to the ballpark,” Moser said. “We need to make sure we’re providing entertainment on top of the game of baseball.”

Seal Slingers fans will not be left out in the cold next year. The team is considering secret menu items or discounts for fans who show up for games in Seal Slingers gear, or perhaps even a Seal Slingers section of the stadium.

The Fish Sticks will take the field when the Pacific International League begins next summer.