“That’s the one — let’s breathe some life back into it,” said Hector Cortes the moment he laid eyes on the elephant that would become Dinkytown’s new mascot.
In a recent video that has garnered over 40,000 views, the Dinkytown Business Alliance (DBA) unveiled its new mascot, “Dinky the Elephant.”
The concept and video were created by the media company Hecco — launched by Cortes, a former University of Minnesota student.
After a 2013 Dinkytown melee following the Gophers men’s hockey loss in the NCAA Frozen Four final, the neighborhood has looked to improve public relations, Cortes said.
Over the summer, Hecco was tasked with finding ways to connect University alumni with current students.
“We want to reach people that haven’t been to Dinkytown in a while in addition to the students so people that haven’t been there in a while remember how fun it is to come to Dinkytown,” said DBA Coordinator, Katie Thering. “Hopefully [they] will come back for a date night or to hang out with their friends and kind of reminisce over old times.”
Blarney Pub & Grill owner Mike Mulrooney said he thinks Dinky the Elephant will bring in customers of all demographics.
“It’s not directed directly at students,” Mulrooney said. “It’s bigger than that.”
Dinky is a lighthearted character, Cortes said, who enjoys beautiful scenery — the type of fictitious mammal that absorbs commotion and loves everyone it sees.
“He’s fun, lovable and he’s an elephant so he doesn’t forget to go to Dinkytown,” Thering said. “We wanted something… representative of what Dinkytown is.”
Hecco plans to release more videos of Dinky throughout the year. Cortes said making a video series would be a good way to get Dinkytown attention now, as well as further down the line.
Dinky currently has no plans to meet with Goldy Gopher, but his representatives say he would be open to it.
“Goldy’s obviously been a mascot a lot longer than Dinky has, so he could give Dinky some tips,” Thering said.
There have been talks about making Dinky the Elephant posters and little figurines of Dinky, she said.
Earlier this week, many Dinkytown businesses were unaware of the existence of the mascot, but Cortes said he hopes it will encourage more visitors to area shops.
“You never really know how people are going to take something that’s digital and on the internet into real life action,” Cortes said. “But the best indicator for us is how much attention it’s getting just by the concept.”
Dinky is set to appear during Dinkytown’s Open Streets event Oct. 1.