Should Ted Lasso Refresh the AFC Richmond Brand?

A few months ago, we explored some fictional brands from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Arrested Development, and The Simpsons. The story was fun for us and popular among our followers, which inspired us to do it again. This time we’re looking at AFC Richmond, the team at the center of the Apple TV+ hit, Ted Lasso.

At first glance, the Richmond logo seems outdated, which may have actually been the designers’ intent. The logo’s greyhound mascot – a breed known for speed and grace – is simply standing there, looking over his shoulder. It’s an apt symbol for the team at the start of the series – once full of potential, but stuck in a rut and wondering why. That said, two and a half seasons later, the team wins matches and has been promoted to the Premier League. So, it could be a great time for a brand refresh, but –

“That’s a big but. I don’t like big buts, and I cannot lie.”

— Right Wing Sam Obisanya, season 2, episode 10

At Relish Marketing, we recognize that the decision to update a brand hinges on more than aesthetics alone. For instance, a close look at the Richmond logo shows that the team is supposed to go back to 1897. Relish Creative Director Michael Palermo explains, “When you’ve got a team with that much history, fans will cling to tradition and reject any attempts to change it.” At the same time, Nike’s recent sponsorship of the fictitious team’s kit could open the door to a brand refresh. So, with that as our backdrop, Michael and I entertained the question of how we would respond if AFC Richmond Owner Rebecca Welton and Manager Ted Lasso came to us for advice.

“Same thing I’d say if Diane Sawyer asked me on a date. Yes, please.”

— Team manager, Ted Lasso, season 2, episode 1

After I finished fangirling over the idea of working with Ted and the team, we took our charge seriously. “We’re not rebranding a typical business,” Michael observed. “There will be emotions and investment in a longstanding, beloved brand. You won’t make everyone happy no matter what you do. So, the question is how to honor the past as you put a new foot forward.”

 “I shouldn’t bring an umbrella to a brainstorm.”

— Ted Lasso, season 2, episode 1

The ability to be open-minded is, of course, critical to refreshing a brand. It’s also on-brand since Ted has infused the team with his characteristic open-minded, optimistic perspectives.

“We’re Richmond ‘til we die! We know we are, we’re sure we are, we’re Richmond ‘til we die!”

— Team fans chanting, every season in every episode with a game

A town full of loyal fans could be an asset or a detriment to a brand refresh. That’s why Michael would tell Ted and Rebecca, “Bring your fans into the process early. Listen to them – and pay attention to what they love. If they feel vested in the process, they’re more likely to welcome its results.” He’d also caution, “Avoid the black hole of design-by-committee. Keep the focus on what makes the team the team.”

Michael agreed with my suggestion that reimagining the greyhound in motion could reflect both the team’s new vitality and its history. “Done right,” he says, “a greyhound with movement could add new energy while still respecting the brand’s legacy.”

“I think things come into our lives to help us get from one place to a better one.”

— Ted Lasso, season 2, episode 1

There’s no question that change can be daunting. But Ted gets it – persevering through thoughtful changes can help carry a brand forward to a better future. Or, as the team’s affable Director of Football Operations, Leslie Higgins, says in season 2, episode 5, “I suppose the best brand is just being yourself.”