In 1979, when I was just 9 years old, a Cuban friend of the family named Albert introduced me to the legendary rock group KISS. In a room wallpapered with posters of freaky, half-naked characters wearing makeup, covered in blood, spewing fire and playing instruments, he pulled out the album KISS Alive II and started jamming it for me, as loud as he could. So loud, the walls shook. That day, I fell in love with rock-n-roll and KISS instantly became one of my all time favorite rock bands. More for their showmanship than for their music, I must admit. I just loved the whole idea of musicians who looked like super heroes, flying around an electrifying stage, wielding their guitars like mighty Thor’s hammer.
35 years later, KISS continues to smack their brand of brazen entertainment on the face America with the introduction of their new LA KISS arena football uniforms. Just check out the helmet and jersey!
Designed by lead singer Paul Stanley and Hydro Graphics, Inc., the uniform has created a big buzz on Twitter and the internet. From what I’m reading, opinions are slightly mixed. Most people love the new look but some people hate it, taking cheap shots at the design by disparaging it with “flamer” jokes. Not cool. One thing is for sure, “The Starchild” was crankin’ the KISS tunes during the design process. Hits like ‘Hotter Than Hell’ and ‘Firehouse’ must have been blasting in the background when he came up with his main design element… FUEGO. Personally, I like the design and the innovative treatment of the helmet shield and grill. It’s different and looks really HOT, to me.
If there is one thing good design seeks to do is to be unique, to stand out from the pack, and that’s right up KISS’ alley. Over the years, the band has made a fortune from its distinguishable look and branded merchandise, applying their name and logo on everything from traditional tees and lunch boxes, to pinball machines and burial kaskets. That’s right, official KISS kaskets. How’s that for leaving no marketing stone unturned.
I don’t know if these uniforms will help the team win, or if the LA KISS can rock football arenas like the band did music venues (their first game is March 15th), but I’m pretty sure the design will have a positive impact on merchandising sales for the first year or two. With their marketing and design genius, Paul Stanley and his team know that they can offset some initial losses on the field with a solid performance at the sales counter. But at some point, the LA KISS has to play well in order to have fans continue to buy football apparel and merchandise.
If all else fails, Paul Stanley can try outfitting the team with guitars and flame throwers to see if that works like it did back in the ’70s. An era when KISS truly torched the competition.