“Fear the Turtle” Nevermore: UMD Drops the “Fear the Turtle” Slogan

July 23, 2009 | WNST Interns

Don’t be scared of the turtle any longer. UMD has decided to look for a new marketing slogan. I had a chance to meet up with the genius behind the “Fear the Turtle” slogan– Drew Elburn of Reisterstown, MD.

It was during the weekend of the BB&T Classic back in 1998 to see Steve “Franchise” Francis play in his only year @ UMD. Mr. Elburn was on his way to see the Stanford vs Maryland Men’s Basketball game (UMD won 62-60 Steve Francis 24 pts) with his pal Gary Ditto when he realized that ESPN was televising this game– and he had seats behind the basket. As Drew sat in bumper to bumper traffic like the rest of the baskerball fans on I-95- he decided to make a sign that said “Fear the Turtle”. That sign was seen on the Jumbotron and ESPN’s own Dick Vitale went crazy on the air–“Fear the Turtle baaaaby. That’s right–Fear the Turtle……” The next day- Drew Elburn trademarked that slogan for a whopping $250 thanks to the advice from one of his college friends.

After multiple appearances on local radio stations and creating a buzz in College Park that got the crowds on their feet to rally around a turtle- Drew finally got the call from the UMD attorneys. After 1 1/2 years of negotiations- Mr. Elburn struck a deal that has lasted nearly 12 years (hell- the “Protect This House” campaign by Under Armour was terrific– so why did THAT not last a presidential term?).

So- as Maryland turns the page on the snazzy “Fear The Turtle” campaign, here are a few suggestions to replace Drew Elburn’s million dollar idea:

* “Fear the Fridge”– Ralph Friedgen is an intimidating guy at 400lbs– but he looks great this season losing nearly 100 lbs in the offseason.
* “Fear the Frese”– Brenda Frese has brought women’s basketball back from the dead in College Park.
* “Fear the Traffic @ UMD”- Anyone else sit on Route 1 for an hour before and after the game?
* “Fear Your Comcast Bill”- I’m tired of overpaying Comcast. No wonder they have enough money to sponsor a multi-million dollar arena.
* “Cape Fear”- Go see the movie.
* “Have No Fear”- Would you be scared of the UMD Women’s Tennis Team that lost their last 46 straight individual matches in 2009?