For the Fans, By the Fans: Washington Commanders Mascot Major Tuddy
Since the early days of our creative adventures, we have always been believers of creating things “for the people by the people.” One of our largest and long-standing projects, AltSounds, actually used this as our slogan and mantra as we created an independent music platform that was built by music lovers, for music lovers.
Everything we make as a creative agency follows the same principle – incorporating the viewer (or fan) as a major consideration. This was recently highlighted with our long-standing creative collaboration with the Washington Commanders. The Washington Commanders fans are hardcore and loyal. They eat, sleep and breathe their team. So, when it came time to reveal their official mascot, we wanted to make sure that we demonstrated the fan’s dedication and decision making input that went into the final mascot character, Major Tuddy.
The Hogs and The Hogettes
The beginnings of Major Tuddy, the Washington Commanders mascot wasn’t originally started by the owners or staff of the team. It was the teams loyal fans that started incorporating a hog as their unofficial mascot, dating back to when the team was known as Washington Redskins. “The Hogs” was a nickname given to the Washington Redskins most successful offensive line, who were responsible for key Super Bowl wins in the ’80s and ’90s.
The dedicated and loyal fans of “The Hogs” created a fan group known as the Hogettes who would dress up in crazy outfits during the games, while wearing pig snout masks to show their loyal support of the team. This dedicated fan group frequently made it to all the games, every season, for over 30 years until their official retirement in 2012. Of major note is that the Hogettes became much more than just hardcore fans of Washington Redskins and the Hogs. The group started successful charities and helped give back to the community of Washington D.C., Maryland and Virgina (fondly known by the fans as “The DMV”) in a variety of ways.
We made sure to pay homage to both the Hogettes and the Hogs in our film which also helped us show the clear path of a hog as a fan favorite, unofficial mascot for decades. This storytelling included featuring vintage footage and soundbites from the archives including a vintage interview soundbite of the late Washington Redskins Coach Joe Bugel, recalling how the name “the hogs” originated from a casual and hype intended callout that stated of “come on you hogs, let’s get down to the bull pen down there.” The rest, as they say is history.
Getting the mascot right
Before the decision could be made as to what the first ever team mascot character should be, the Washington Commanders wanted to ensure they included the fans in the decision making process. During our “Making The Mascot” film we made sure to interview a variety of key decision makers that were involved; from fans, to core executives of the team. One key executive was long term fan and Brand & Innovation Strategy team member Michaela Dowling who brought a vintage hog hat to the shoot which she personally owns and used to wear to team games as a child. It was a touching moment!
After months of interacting with fans on social media and collecting their opinions while present at their FedEx field stadium, whittled down mascot theme ideas were exposed to fans so they could vote and bring the five options down to two. In the end, the Hog theme aptly became the winning direction. We were sure to showcase this fan driven decision making path using motion graphic visual animations that helped fans to understand just how unanimous their decision was.
Once the hog was decided as the official mascot subject, the Washington Commanders creative team found a mascot partner to collaborate with who then composed a variety of visual representations of what the Commanders hog might look like. Hog teeth or no teeth? What should his facial expression be? Should he have a belly, if so how big? Within our film we created a slick animation that quickly showcases some of the iterations before ending on the final design. We’re a firm believer in giving a glimpse behind the curtain wherever possible and, while brief, hardcore Washington Commanders fans can pause the video and look at what Major Tuddy might have looked like in a different life!
Capturing the creative process
In our “Making The Mascot” docu-film we included storytelling that showcases Major Tuddy being finalized at Bam Mascots in Toronto, Canada. Demonstrating initial prototypes and illustrations all the way through interviews with the hands-on creators we help to showcase the love, care and craftsmanship that went into Major Tuddy’s creation. We highlight the hand built quality of the character and how every piece was carefully thought out to reference both Washington Commanders and its previous namesake, Washington Redskins.
The materials, drawings, and finer details were included in our film to show the outfit’s creative process in its progressive stages and how the making of Major Tuddy actually came together. We explored how the mascot was going to look and feel while showcasing the quality of craftsmanship and the handmade production process.
Technique Experimentation & Product Placement
As always we’re pushing to create different looking shots and creative angles with every piece of our creative agency’s work. In particular, within this video, we experimented with a super cool and unique split-screen for one of the interviews that really stands out and grabs attention while viewing. This unique shot also incorporates subtle title sponsor product placement through this technique, something that wouldn’t have been possible without! Keep your eyes out for other key product placement vignettes featured throughout the film.
Introducing Major Tuddy To The fans
We helped to introduce Major Tuddy to the fans through our tongue-in-cheek trailer film which was played at FedEx field stadium, during half time, right before the official reveal of Major Tuddy. The last shot of our film was cleverly constructed to help it feel like Major Tuddy was waiting in the wings, right before officially running out onto the pitch for his debut performance where he waved to fans, introducing them his individual character traits while interacting with cheerleaders, hype squad members, legendary players and members of The Hogs! It truly was a “for the people” fan moment they’d been waiting for since the team’s official forever name reveal in February 2022.
It was really important for the Washington Commanders football team to celebrate the fans with their mascot creation and based on fan reaction it seems this fan inclusion really worked. It’s also worth noting that Washington Commanders plan to use Major Tuddy for other duties outside of his silliness on the pitch. They aim to use Major Tuddy to feature at community events throughout the DMV and will be an extended face of the Washington Commanders through these community appearances.
The Story Continues
We’re excited to continue our creative adventures with the Commanders as well as tell the story of Tuddy as this is just the beginning!