CageHero rebrands itself

October 26, 2011

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with the owners of CageHero, Mark Mastrandrea and Ian Parker as it recently re-branded itself focusing its business to target kids. Once a sponsor of fighters in the octagon, it has a new web site, a new clothing line and its CageHero Kids Team.

“We feel we can be the brand that really brings that innocent image to MMA- help it go mainstream,” said Mastrandrea, “We are re-branding to further target the kids. We feel there is a real need for a new generations Superhero.”

MP: When did Cagehero decide to target kids? What was the basis of your decision? Did you do any market research or look at trends to target a younger demographic?

CH: With the characters we have developed, we knew kids were always the ultimate destination.
We felt the need to educate the decision maker first. The 18-34 Male demo is the target everyone looks too, but we knew the increase in women’s interest-both as participants, and consumers in MMA was important too.  Both parents- the mother and father buy the kids their clothing.  When we looked at the numbers, we also found that the Youth Apparel Market is actually bigger then the Men’s Apparel Market.

MP: How did you find the kids to be in the commercial?

CH: It started with Stevo- the mohawked wrestling YouTube sensation.  When we saw his video on YouTube, it made both of us smile, laugh and really remember the days of Youth Sports. Days later we traveled to see him at a tournament to meet him, and his parents-the family were great people.  We then thought of the concept of the Cagehero Kids Team-  a compilation of the world’s best youth athletes across the world promoting there respective youth combat sports.    We checked out some kids in Vegas, California and then received some help from our friends over at Youth1.com.  In the past 2 days we have received almost 100 emails of new kids applying for the team.

MP: Are you still sponsoring MMA fighters? If so, who. Are they mostly in Bellator? I see that Ben Askren was in the commercial. Is he still sponsored?

CH: As far as the stereotypical MMA Marketing, walking out wearing our logo- Ben Askren is the only fighter in either Bellator/UFC that we will be marketing.  Ben is a great guy who really embodies our brand.  He also deals directly with kids, owning the Askren Brothers Wrestling Academy.  We do some outside signings/appearances with UFC guys, but for the time being we only “sponsor” in Bellator.

MP: How have/will the marketing efforts change as a result of the re-branding?

CH: We will continue to market in MMA-Bellator for now.  We have begun a stronger push with the Kids Marketing with Videos and a number of strategic partnerships with Youth-focused companies.  We are also starting to focus more on a grassroots level with a presence at Youth Wrestling Tournaments and BJJ Competitions.

MP: Are there any concerns that kids may be too young for MMA?

CH: When we started this company, we knew we were investing in the sport of MMA.  We’re passionate about it, and believe that one day it will be the largest sport in the world with acceptance by people of all cultures/ages.  With the UFC on Fox Deal, the recent Bellator-Viacom deal and the constant penetration of new markets- we think it’s only a matter of time.  Like Dana always says “Fighting is our DNA- we get it, we like it.”  Our brand will always have MMA roots.  It directly ties in with our characters as well.
Our Theory:
-In the 80’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took over, representing the fictional art of “Ninjitsu”
-In the 90s- the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, with martial arts/Gymnastics.
We are the new Superhero, with ties to Mixed Martial Arts- the new martial art.

MP: How will you try to bring MMA mainstream?

CH: We are trying to bring MMA Mainstream through the Kid’s Team, the characters and the message.  Some people, even if educated, are ignorant to the sport.  When you align it with Kids, Superheroes and a message like “The Hero Comes From Within”- it definitely puts the sport in a more innocent light.

Our full length script and artwork with our finalized characters is also completed.  We are currently taking it to market and attaching the proper people.

MP: What are the future plans for the brand?

CH:  The future plans for the brand is to further develop the Cagehero Kid’s Team with athletes throughout the world.  We are doing our first Youth Combine with Youth1, Ben Askren and some surprise UFC guests in the upcoming months.  Keeping the same comic book aesthetic.  As far as the Adults, we will continue to market in Bellator, and always keep our eyes open if the opportunity is right to go to the UFC. Our new adult line is more geared towards inspirational lifestyle apparel.  The Big Picture remains the same:  A comic book, a movie.  Become this generations Superhero.

Payout Perspective:

CageHero is a unique brand and based on its designs, it was poised to make an easy transition from the young male target demographic to the kids demographic. This is partly due to the comic book designs and partly due to its positive messaging. Certainly, the way the brand is positioning itself in the market, it seems like the most kid-friendly, parent approved brand to wear as opposed to the more adult-themed shirts from other brands.

The Strikeforce merger with UFC may have muted a portion of its fighters due to the UFC sponsor fee. Although it says that it may make a return, the brand has found another way to market itself within the MMA industry. Through outreach and visibility at youth wrestling and grappling tournaments and continutng its sponsorship of Ben Askren, it is making all the right moves in targeting youth with its new campaign.

CageHero also is participating in a campaign benefiting Clothes4Soul, an organization that facilitates the donations of new clothing to those in need. When you buy one shirt, it will donate one to the organization. Participating in this program helps the CageHero brand in showing that it truly is making a positive impression in the MMA community.

CageHero’s new info:
New Website:  www.cagehero.net
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/CAGEHERO
Twitter:  @cagehero

7 Responses to “CageHero rebrands itself”

  1. Machiel Van on October 27th, 2011 8:08 AM

    Hopefully the Culinary Union doesn’t catch wind of this…

  2. Jose Mendoza on October 27th, 2011 11:21 AM

    Great job Jason, as always. This re-branding really caught me off guard, but it may be a great move. I wonder how those in the MMA circle and those outside of it feel.

  3. Jack Hughes on October 28th, 2011 9:44 AM

    Adults endorsing children’s involvement in a cage fight is child abuse. We must tell our kids not to hurt other kids. I hope parents ban this brand. I enjoy MMA but CHILDREN DO NOT BELONG IN A CAGE, especially to brutalize each other. These CageHero guys are idiots.

  4. 5 Oz. MMA Link Club : Five Ounces of Pain on October 28th, 2011 2:02 PM

    […] CageHero Re-brands Itself (MMAPayout.com) […]

  5. jon lee on October 28th, 2011 7:38 PM

    These guys aren’t endorsing children in a cageFight, they had kids showing their abilities in a. Cage for the commercial..They aren’t idiots, they are marketing their brand through youth athletes..They aren’t promoting kids to hurt other kids, they are trying to inspire kids to follow their Passion.. I think what they are doing is great!!

  6. Jason Hart on February 8th, 2012 12:02 AM

    Cage Hero is not being honest. The original company that started focusing on youth martial arts is called “The Kids of MMA” I have been following them since they started. They are also partners of Youth1. Most of the kids on the cage hero kids team came directly from “The Kids of MMA” Cage hero “re-branded” because they saw the crazy response and support rate that “The Kids of MMA” organization was getting from everyone. Cage hero are copy cats and are not original.

    “The Kids of MMA” is doing a whole lot for youth martial arts in a huge way. Look them up on Facebook or Google and u will see what i mean. They literally took these guys ideas and are trying to take the credit. Not cool at all.

  7. hawksta on July 17th, 2012 10:48 PM

    These people just took this idea from someone else, these people are basically thieves. They got their ideas, and most of their fighters from http://www.KidsOf MMA.net
    The Kids of MMA is the real sponsorship provider for children working on making their dreams come true. CageHero is a copy cat, they seen how well the Kids of MMA were doing and thats why they rebranded. That is unoriginal man! These guys deserve no success at all. They are conniving con artist that prey on other peoples success. They don’t even deserve the pedestal your putting them on by doing this interview.
    Check into it, and you will see. I and everybody else that knows the truth are going to fight these guys to the bitter end!

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