What the Mighty Ducks taught us about branding

The Mighty Ducks trilogy taught us a lot as kids. It taught us about friendship and perseverance. It taught us that ducks fly together. And, of course, it taught us the knuckle-puck (I know it works, I’m just not doing it right). But now that we are adults (well, big kids), Ducks has taught us something just as meaningful: why branding is so important. Don’t mistake us for jaded or accuse us of distorting an early 90s classic into a marketing tool. This is the same movie that spawned everything from toys and merchandise to an animated series. If anything, branding may be the most important lesson to be gleaned from Coach Bombay and the gang.

The crucial message about the importance of branding is simple, but then the original Ducks film also taught us how branding plays into the larger picture of team building and success. In The Mighty Ducks, we are introduced to Coach Bombay and the ragtag group of ne’er-do-wells referred to as District 5 who will become the core of the Ducks. Three crucial things occur that take the team from the ranks of a laughingstock to championship status. Even if you’re not familiar with the plot, the lessons still resonate; however, you may want to watch the film for context. Plus, it’s amazing!


Gordon Bombay is a successful defense attorney sentenced to community service by way of coaching a failing Pee-Wee hockey team. Upon seeing the dilapidated equipment and facilities of the team, Bombay urges his boss to sponsor the team. This allows Bombay to provide his team with proper gear and dedicated coaching, facilitating their growth as an individual and a team.


The resources improve the attitudes and abilities of the squad, but Gordon realizes his team needs more to truly compete. With better resources, Bombay attracts uniquely talented individuals with specialized skill sets. This helps differentiate the team and put them on the path to success.


With the proper resources and an effective recruitment model, Coach Bombay is able to assemble and instruct a group of talented individuals. However, it is the visualization of those individuals as a team that propels District 5 toward unity. Like many organizational names, it is created out of necessity rather than creativity. Bombay’s boss who sponsors the team is Mr. Ducksworth, and as a sponsor, he asks that the team be named for him—thus, the Ducks. But from that name, and with the help of Hans, Bombay’s mentor, the team develops an identity and a purpose built around this mascot. If you don’t believe in the power of branding, go back and watch the Flying V scene.

We all know what is possible when the right people are given the right tools. Let’s not forget what we learned from The Mighty Ducks over a quarter of a century ago (yes, that math is correct). Branding is about more than just a logo or a slogan—it’s about purpose. It’s about identifying what makes an organization effective and distilling that down into something that is unifying and empowering. The characters in the movie reaped the benefits, and, perhaps more relevantly, The Walt Disney Company epitomized the effectiveness of branding when they leveraged The Mighty Ducks property into a real NHL franchise.

Maybe your organization isn’t quite ready to launch its own professional sports team. Still, Rooted Web can provide the marketing and digital resources your business needs to elevate your brand and expand the opportunity for your company to reach clients or customers.

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Emily Blattel

Emily brings more than 15 years of professional experience in public relations, advertising and marketing to Rooted Web, with a special emphasis on media relations, digital and social media strategy and implementation, content creation, internal communication, creative strategy and event planning.

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