Victor E. Viking, the official mascot for NKU’s Norse athletic teams, got a quiet rollout recently, via a press release on the Department of Athletics site and a post on its Facebook page.
But the reaction has been anything but quiet on the Northern Kentucky University Athletics Facebook page, which earned more than 120 comments already — and most of them bordering on outrage.
“We aimed to create a Victor who is more friendly and approachable, and to soften his demeanor,” said Brandon Hays, assistant athletic director for marketing, promotions and tickets. “While it was certainly fun to be mentioned as the 9th scariest mascot in the nation by ESPN, we hope the updates to Victor won’t be quite so frightening to our younger fans.”
Victor’s refreshed style aligns him with the athletic department’s comprehensive brand identity standards, which were released last spring. Hays said that images of the new Victor were included in that report posted on the department’s web page.
The most noticeable changes come in Victor’s facial features. He has softened green eyes and a gentle smile on his face. He has also kept his trademark mustache, but the braids in his hair were removed to show Victor’s flowing gold mane.
The made-over Victor sports a helmet, shield and sword, as well as a cape that features the primary NKU Norse logo on the back.
The changes were an outcome, Hays explained, of a process to create an athletics brand standard involving a committee of athletics staff personnel and members of the University’s Marketing and Communications department.
Last fall, the group conducted a survey on brand identity which drew feedback from a total of 260 respondents — students, faculty, staff and alumni. Admittedly not a big number. Hays says they made every effort to get more responses to the survey.
Of three questions in the survey related to Victor, about 33% equally responded “strong” and “amateur” to “What is your first impression of the mascot Victor E. Viking? To the question “On a scale of 1-5, is the current mascot Victor E. Viking worthy of a Division 1 Conference,” nearly 30% said “very worthy” and 10% said “not worthy at all.”
To the question “Would an update to the mascot Victor E. Viking influence your loyalty as an NKU Athletics fan?” 50% said “not at all,” while 25% responded “somewhat” and 15% said “very much.” Ten percent had no opinion.
On the basis of these responses, the group moved ahead with developing a new image and then on to commissioning a new costume — without any further testing or focus group input. The department worked with the Olympus Group in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to complete the updated costume.
The old Victor costume had been used since 2005; because its features had worn down, Hays said, a new costume was needed anyway.
Victor E. Viking regularly makes appearances at community events in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region. To make a request, complete this form. Hays said the new Victor has already made four different appearances.
Here are sample responses to the department’s Facebook page about the new Victor. See them all on Facebook.
Madison Staggs noooooooooo
Blaze Bolden I think I’m the only person that isn’t bothered by it lol
Anthony Leanhart The logo and mascot are both terrible now
Jeff Yu Give me back my Victor, not his skinny little brother:
Tiffany Marie Harris I went to NKU and my daughter used to love her some Victor! I showed her this video and she said yeahhh who is that? Thats not my victor! Lol from the mouth of a 5 yr old
Bryan Ganulin Thanks, now I have to explain to people I went to NKU when the mascot was cool.
Kendall Ross ……this is why people give me a weird look when I say NKU, its hard to defend my school when they do stuff like this.
Mary Catherine Leanhart I like the old one much better!
Lauren White A mascot and logo doesn’t change my experience or opinion of NKU. Norse Pride
Rebecca Potzner Lookin good, Victor
Shaun Abbott Sad.. There was nothing wrong with Victor
Jessica Keefe Last time I checked Victor was fine the way he was…this is what to much plastic surgery will do in the hands of a bad Doctor. Bad choice NKU!
Ashley Nicole Jackson Omg. This is awful
Jordan Michel Brown This is actually horrendous. Wtf NKU?
John Sullivan This looks so cheesy.
Gary Harper I’ve been to so many NKU sporting events and I have not once ever seen little kids get scared by the old Victor. Ridiculous
Mark Csolkovits This is bad. Just bad.
Adam Marcum Norse down… Terrible decision by people who must have vision impairment…
Almithra Daroga Anyone else think this victor looks like the Burger King guy but blonde?
Christina Torok Seriously NKU, there was nothing wrong with Victor and now you changed him and he looks terrible….disappointed 😒
Lauren White A mascot and logo doesn’t change my experience or opinion of NKU. Norse Pride!
Mac Wilburn Is Burger King gonna sue nku now? Cause they look so alike!
Ania Zmyslo Was no research was taken before making this decision? Most of us hate this.
Shae McKee Oh look another bad decision by nku…
Joseph Fons As someone who had the great honor of playing Victor E. Viking for Northern Kentucky University between 2009 and 2012, I must express my disappointment in the unveiling of the new costume.
Aliser Thorne The new mascot looks like a bloody wildling my brothers of the Night’s Watch encounter north of The Wall. No creativity, lack of vision. Winter is Coming! For the Watch!