ASU Introduces “Red” To Public
JONESBORO, Ark. — “Red,” a new spirit character for Arkansas State University’s athletic programs, was introduced to the public Wednesday during two press conferences—in Jonesboro and in Little Rock. The red and black-haired costumed character greeted fans, children, and members of the media at a conference Wednesday morning at the ASU Football Complex, then traveled to the First Tee in Little Rock for an afternoon gathering.
“We wanted to look at something that would improve the game experience of our fans, something that would enhance the atmosphere and entertainment of our events,” said Dr. Dean Lee, ASU Director of Athletics. “We wanted something that would allow us to have a stronger attraction to a major target we’re after and that’s children and youth. And, we wanted to have something that would have more interaction and involvement with the crowd to excite our fans.”
And, Lee wants to make one thing clear. “Red absolutely will not replace Arkansas State’s official mascot, the Indian Family,” he said. Instead, the spirit character is designed to function independently of the Family as an entertaining figure during men’s and women’s athletic events.
A commercial produced by KAIT-TV of Jonesboro was shown to the group. The commercial will begin airing on television soon. Lee also said that throughout the various stages of the spirit character’s development through artists’ renderings, ASU officials presented the updates to an advisory committee and university personnel for feedback from the youth market groups.
“Red” is the brainchild of ASU Director of Athletic Marketing Andrea Scott who personally designed the figure.
“The spirit character began as a project to design a character that looks friendly, is unique, and is not an animal,” said Scott. “I was looking for something out of the ordinary that’s presence could elevate spirit at ball games.”
Scott, an ASU graduate, sent her design to Olympic Flag and Banner Inc., who made the costume utilizing ASU’s school colors of scarlet and black and will be worn primarily by an ASU student. Lee said the selection process will be similar to that of other spirit organizations with interviews, tryouts, and auditions.
“Red was given his name because that was how he was perceived by the marketing analysis and research groups, which consisted of children and youth,” said Lee. “This will be a very visible part of ASU Athletics. Our aim is for this character to be very recognizable so when seen by a television audience or in the newspaper, he becomes a symbol associated with ASU.”
“The Indian Family maintains a stately and dignified persona befitting the Indian tribes which once lived in this area as the official mascot of Arkansas State athletics and they will still have a major presence at our game day events,” said Lee.
The Indian Family is a trio of Indian-attired students which include Chief Big Track who is named after the legendary chief of the Osage tribe which occupied Northeast Arkansas, an unnamed Prince and an unnamed Brave.
The term “Indians” officially became the school’s athletic nickname in 1931. The first nickname in 1911 was “Aggies,” since ASU was the only agricultural school in Eastern Arkansas. In 1925, it was changed to “Gorillas,” “Warriors was adopted in 1930, and it evolved to “Indians” one year later.
“The opportunities for Red are endless. They are only limited to the skills and abilities of the person inside the costume,” said Lee.