Chief Wahoo

Knowing When to Let Go of Busted Branding: Demoting Chief Wahoo

My Two Cents:

Big news here in our home city of Cleveland, where the Indians have just announced that their official demotion of the Chief Wahoo logo. This caricature, created in 1947, has created much controversy through out the years, with protesters making their voices heard against a logo fueled with stereotypes.


The controversy reached a head in 2014, when the Plain Dealer’s editorial board called for its removal due to “racial insensitivity.”

But inside “Progressive” Field, the Indians held still onto the profitability of the Chief. After all, the home cap with the Chief Wahoo logo, for example, ranked in as a top seller in 2015.

The Indians, however, finally submitted to the pleas of the Native Americans and their supporters. Sort of. As of this past Friday, the Block C will become their primary mark, with Chief Wahoo playing a secondary role. We’ll still see his teethy grin on the sleeve of the player’s jerseys until, hopefully one day, he’s phased out completely.

It is possible, after all. Check out these 40 teams who managed to do it.

Until then, I’ll file this under “how to know when to change your branding.” And shake my head until the job is completely done.