In May 2013, the AD declared that “Rainbow” would return as nickname to UH’s sports teams. (Actually, it would return as an adjective to Warriors and Wahine.)
Three months earlier, of course, the AD declared that the men’s teams would be known only as the Warriors. That February 2013 decision, which came three months into the AD’s tenure, sparked some protest and led to his version of the hokey-pokey: You put your Rainbow in, you put your Rainbow out, you put your Rainbow in, then you shake it all about …
The point is, both those 2013 decisions were based on emotion rather than economics.
The real reason the football team initially wore black and renamed itself Warriors in 2000 was to rebrand and, subsequently, sell more apparel. It coincided with the creation of the H logo.
The May 2013 declaration to bring back Rainbow was made as a compromise. There never was a marketing strategy to promote the Rainbow brand. The H logo, of course, is the UH brand, which needed to be protected and promoted. But surely there is a market for the Rainbow brand beyond retro uniforms and retro nights. The only rainbow on the athletic department’s Web site is the First Hawaiian Bank logo. Want to buy UH gear? Go to the H Zone. The RainBowtique “has moved,” according to its Web site.
As we’ve learned, declarations are plentiful. Hey, it was ESPN Day last week. There’s hope that this new administration, which is marketing savvy (“Made in Hawaii, played in a Hawaii” is a catchy phrase), can show that name changes are more than just symbolic.