This is a story of how we started a movement with four words, garnered national press and had nearly no budget. “Bring Back the Brown” started in late 2010 to persuade the San Diego Padres organization to reintroduce brown as an official team color. Why brown? San Diego was founded by a Spanish friar, a.k.a. Padre Junipero Sierra. Friars wear brown. Friars do not wear blue, ocean wave graphics. It isn’t about a retro return either, it is about the return of a modern, ownable San Diego Padres identity.
Trying to persuade a $615 million MLB franchise to change their identity is a tall order, but we started at the bottom. Throwing parties, organizing meet-ups, collecting signatures, and we worked our way to the top.
In 2011 and early 2013 we created the limited-edition “Bring Back the Brown” sunglasses Pt. 1 and Pt. 2, with Knockaround Sunglasses. These consisted of 250 pairs and 500 pairs respectively. Then in late 2013 we designed the giveaway Knockaround officially collaborated with the Padres on, which was 18,000 pairs of brown and gold sunglasses. Knockaround has continued that tradition themselves in 2014, 2015, and 2016, by giving away 25,000 pairs of brown sunglasses with the Padres each year.
The campaign went from being acknowledged as a “vocal minority” by the front-office in 2013, to receiving mentions by Padres announcers during live telecasts. On May 26th 2014, fans furiously responded via social media to President Ron Fowler’s lack of urgency and seriousness concerning “Bring Back the Brown” support. This prompted a 30 minute question and answer the very next day on Fox Sports San Diego by Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Partello.
Then in 2016, the Padres brought back the brown with a new uniform reserved for all Friday home games. The same year, the MLB brought back brown and gold as the colors to brand the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego. Subsequently, sales of brown and gold All-Star merchandise shocked the city, franchise, and MLB by shattering 16 years of All-Star merchandise sales records.
Given these advances, the battle of persuasion continues to be fought, until our Padres figure out a more substantial way to incorporate brown into the Padres identity. Some folks from Sports Illustrated have joined the cause, along with ESPN, Yahoo Sports, San Diego Union Tribune, CBS Sports, and coverage on NBC news San Diego, and Fox Sports San Diego. We love our Padres, we love our city, and we will continue to Bring Back The Brown until it is officially so.
Sign the petition and learn more at BringBackTheBrown.com
Client: San Diego
Location: San Diego, Ca
Team: Tony Martinez (co-founder); Jordan Stark (co-founder)