A year ago, Hooters announced a major initiative to revamp its aging brand, with remodeled restaurants, new TV spots, and improved menu items. That effort has now touched the public face of the original "breastaurant": Hootie the owl, whose wide and suggestive eyes anchor the chain's iconic logo, and bring to mind the charms of its all-female waitstaff.
"Three decades ago," USA Today reports, "when the fledgling Hooters had no logo, the company traced the owl's images from the pages of a dictionary." The result was a detailed, almost staid drawing -- if you ignored the anatomical implications of the owl's globular gaze.
As part of the company's three-to-five-year revitalization plan, "We wanted to give 'Hootie' a facelift along with the stores," said chief marketing officer Dave Henninger, clearly choosing the wrong plastic surgery metaphor.
So Hootie has been made more slender, his coloring starker: more a cartoon. But Hooters hasn't forgotten what really matters: "The (visual) double entendre remains in place," Henninger explained. "We want to keep the tongue-in-cheek wink going."
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