New collectable bobblehead highlights the Hawkeye Marching Band

A new collectible bobblehead, “Halftime Heroes,” features Herky as a member of the band.


Alyssa Hitchcock

A Hawkeye Marching Band member plays before the Rose Bowl Game in Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Stanford defeated Iowa, 45-16.

Rin Swann, News Reporter

More than just those standing among the teeming crowd will bob their heads to the beat of the halftime show at Hawkeye football this year.

FOCO, a long-time licensee of the University of Iowa, just launched a new line of bobbleheads spotlighting the Hawkeye Marching Band.

The line of bobbleheads, called Halftime Heroes, features UI mascot Herky the Hawk in a band uniform while holding a bass drum to represent the Hawkeye Marching Band members. The $45 product is currently available for pre-order on the FOCO website.

Similar Halftime Heroes products have been launched at other colleges around the country, including but not limited to Clemson University and the University of Alabama, with each one also featuring the school’s mascot in band uniforms.

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“We’ve been an Iowa licensee for several years,” said Matthew Katz, FOCO’s licensing director. “We make a lot of different items — bobbleheads being one of the core products that we produce — and we were looking to do something different and fun with the mascot this year. Nobody ever does anything for the band, and it’s such a big part of a lot of schools programs.”

The company has created collectible bobbleheads since 2002. While these products traditionally feature individual football players or the entire team, this collectible series marks the first time the band has been featured.

The bobblehead was initially a generic person in a band uniform, but the company later changed it to feature Herky. FOCO Marketing Coordinator Lauren Colanduoni said the idea is to create a sense of inclusivity among all members of the football games, players, and band members alike.

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Katz highlighted the difference between the amount of football products available compared with those featuring the band.

“People always focus on the football team and the sports team, but there’s not a lot of products out there for the band, which is one of the larger student organizations on campus,” Katz said.

Colanduoni and Katz said the reception of the product has been overall positive. They said they hope that outlook continues, specifically among college band members and alums.

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Colanduoni added that the company hopes to later expand the line of bobbleheads so that it includes other band instruments besides the bass drum. She said FOCO will wait on these additions until after the product’s formal release.

“We hope to continue but we want to see how everything goes first,” Colanduoni said. “So far it’s been really positive, so hopefully we will expand.”

UI student Alex Kautzman said she feels that a lot of the school spirit comes from the pep band itself, so she appreciates the attention that the band members are now receiving.

“While it’s easy to say we cheer and root for the football team,” Kautzman said, “I think it’s a lot harder and even braver to root for the bandmates who show up every day and give it their all — just like the football players.”