For almost three months now I haven’t been able to scroll through any social media platform without seeing his orange googly eyes peering out of the screen & into my soul – and yet – I am still nowhere near being sick of Gritty & I doubt I ever will be. The haters can say what they want but meeting him the other month was one of the highlights of my year & he was extremely polite about my terrible attempt at a ‘knitty gritty’ joke.
During a trip to the NHL All-Star game in 2017, the son of Flyers chief operating officer Shawn Tilger intently watched the antics of the mascot hockey game and afterward asked his father why the team didn’t have a mascot (the Flyers were one of three teams not represented). When the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018, Philadelphia’s three mascots, the Phillie Phanatic, the Eagles’ Swoop and the 76ers’ Franklin, met the team at the airport to welcome them home. It was becoming increasingly apparent the Flyers were missing out on opportunities big and small…
Cue the quest for a mascot…
The marketing team’s development process as the season approached was all-consuming.. they thought of it constantly & meetings on other topics always wound up on mascot talk. Fur length, body type, will the belly button make a funny sound if you press it, should it have wings, eye color, personality… In the end I think they nailed it.
According to the Flyers, media coverage of Gritty’s first 30 days generated an enormous audience, reaching nearly 70 million people on TV, with a local audience over 16 million. Online, Gritty garnered nearly 5 billion impressions, worth $151 million in earned media.
As for the Flyers themselves.. they’re currently having a rough season at 9-8, but at least they’ve got a win with Gritty. Whether you’re a fan or not, I’d highly recommend checking out Fleming’s story if you want a fun read.