clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lehigh Valley IronPigs Want You To Eat Their Mascot

This new marketing strategy walks that fine line between brilliant and disturbing.

Wikimedia Commons

Have you heard of "Smell the Change?" It sounds like something you'd say when you're really drunk. An amusing mix-up. Because you can't really smell change.

Regardless of science, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies' AAA affiliates, are asking you to do just that. They want you to smell the change and get on board with their new re-branding campaign. Head to and you'll see that the IronPigs have introduced a number of new logos and uniforms (and merchandise, of course). But where does the smelling come in? The uniforms for their Saturday home games includes a bacon logo.

Because bacon smells good, and bacon comes from pigs. Connection made! I get it now! And normally, because this involves bacon and baseball (two of my favorite things), I'd be totally on board. But this seems... weird. Because bacon comes from pigs. Not live pigs, but dead ones. The mascot of the IronPigs, though a fictional character who appears animated on merchandise and as a giant, person-filled foam being in the real world, is a pig. To get bacon from that pig, it would have to be not living anymore. It would have to be dead.

Now don't get me wrong. I love bacon. I made bacon this weekend, in fact. I covered it with brown sugar and put it in the oven and then ate an inadvisable amount of it. Hell, I love bacon so much that I put it in chocolate chip cookies. But I'm not sure how comfortable I am with wearing a logo that depicts something that can only result from the death and dismemberment of the mascot of the team whose merchandise I'm currently wearing.

The involvement of bacon is the reason this brilliant/disturbing marketing move isn't being looked at as morbid and weird. Bacon is the unofficial food of this decade. It's ubiquitous. There's bacon in so many things. Every (non-vegetarian) food blog has at least one post about bacon. At least one, if not maybe five or ten or eleven hundred. Have you been to Pinterest? Even if you haven't spent a borderline inappropriate amount of time on there, as I have (and I say that proudly, dammit), you can plainly see that bacon is a huuuuuge part of Pinterest. I did a quick Pinterest search for bacon today, and this is just a sampling of some of the bacon things that people had pinned recently: how to weave salad bowls out of bacon, rolling up bacon into pre-made cinnamon roll dough to make bacon cinnamon rolls, and bacon woven into a taco shell shape and actually being used as a taco shell.  Sage Kotsenburg, the US gold medal winner for snowboard slopestyle, was given a medal made of bacon. Bacon is loveable, and everybody loves it. So putting it on a hat helps people forget that the organization is actively encouraging people to eat their mascot. Well, what they're really doing is putting pieces of their dead mascot on a hat.

If this was any other animal-to-food combination, I don't think it would fly. Imagine that the Orioles' Saturday home uniforms featured a fried chicken drumstick. Or the Marlins' Sunday home unis had a huge piece of sushi on it. How about a giant steak on the uniform of any team that has a delectable mammal as its mascot. Cubs? Mariners? Rockies? Well, the Rockies are a bad example, because Dinger is the worst and I'd proudly wear a hat with a dinosaur steak on it.

I know where my food comes from. It comes from animals who were once alive and breathing. And as a carnivore, I'm comfortable with that. But I'm not sure that putting the dead-but-tasty version of a team's mascot on a shirt is the best idea.

Do you know what an IronPig is? From what Wikipedia tells me, there is no such thing as an actual ironpig. Lehigh Valley's mascot is apparently named as such to pay tribute to something called pig iron, for which the Lehigh Valley is "world-renowned".

Knowing that, I don't think I want to eat IronPig bacon.