Iowa Athletics Turns to a Card Stunt to Promote ANF Day Celebration

The University of Iowa Athletics Department recently teamed up with the Iowa Farm Bureau to pull off a spectacular stadium card stunt display in celebration of America Needs Farmers (ANF) Day at Kinnick Stadium.

Prior to kickoff of a recent Iowa-Northwestern football game, four grandstands of Hawkeyes fans at Kinnick Stadium held up cards on cue to deliver some impactful messages to 70,000 fans inside the stadium and a national television audience on Big Ten Network.

The impressive stadium card stunt display served as an effective way to drive awareness for the America Needs Farmers movement nationwide and creatively unite a stadium full of football fans. The University of Iowa Athletics Department captured the action on several cameras, including one on a time lapse setting that provides a remarkable viewpoint of the activation.

Check out the card stunts below and consider ways that your organization can leverage similar stunts to drive awareness for brands and cause marketing efforts!

Video of the Card Stunt Display

Time Lapse of the Card Stunt Display

Additional ANF Branding and Activation on Game Day

A special thanks to Craig Decker of Virginia Sports Properties for his insights and contributions to this column!

Stanford Athletics Engages Their Student-Athletes with a "19 Hours" Project

Stanford Athletics recentlyannounced a terrific new online initiative entitled the "19 Hours" Project, tasking all 35 of the school's athletics programs with producing a high-quality video that symbolizes their team/sport. Student-athletes on each of the teams are given 19 hours to work with a video producer from the Cardinal Channel to script, shoot, and edit a short film.

The initiative is outstanding because it provides new, fresh video content for Stanford Athletics' website that comes directly from a student-athlete's perspective. It's also content that they will actively share with their friends on campus, family members, classmates, and more. The project also allows teams to unite and really have an opportunity to express their creativity, personality, and passion in a friendly competition against their student-athlete peers.

Check out the first edition of the "19 Hours" Project below featuring the Stanford Field Hockey Team and be sure to check back on the Stanford Athletics' website for more great videos to come!

Marketers Can Re-Create The Baylor Line to Sell New Inventory

College marketers looking to create new, ownable inventory in conjunction with their student fanbase should consider benchmarking one of Baylor University's gameday traditions - The Baylor Line.

Prior to each home football game, a group of Baylor freshmen, referred to as The Baylor Line - wear jerseys with their proposed graduation year and nickname on the back and storm the field through a tunnel at one end of the stadium to the other, where they form a human tunnel for the football team.

This unique moment for freshmen students can be considered as "controlled chaos" as thousands of students run onto the field in uniform fashion. Once the pre-game introductions are finished, the Baylor Line leaves the field and congregates in a designated student section behind the opponent's bench. While the Baylor Line could potentially present some safety concerns (for the students running on the field), there are precautions that can be taken to minimize risk.

While the Baylor Line not only serves as a unique experience for Baylor freshmen to enjoy on gameday, it presents a golden opportunity for college marketers to integrate a corporate partner looking to make an impact on gameday and build an affiliation with students. Sponsors interested in the initiative may represent athletic apparel/footwear (as it ties in with endurance), insurance/auto (two categories commonly targeting students), and cause marketing/philanthropy (driving awareness with themed jerseys) amongst others.

Consider new ways that you can create ownable inventory on gameday that allows corporate marketers a means to directly affiliate their brands with students in a memorable way!

Check out the Baylor Line below:

Go Inside the Huddle to Deliver Unprecedented Access for Fans

The University of Washington football team gave its fanbase unprecedented access during the team's annual Spring Game by outfitting quarterbacks Keith Price and Nick Montana with a helmet cam and mic.

The result? The Washington Huskies football team was able to effectively convey to fans what it's like to lead a football team during a game, including:

  • Calling plays in the huddle
  • Taking snaps from center
  • Identifying defensive schemes
  • Scrambling on the run
  • Listening to coaches provide instruction
  • Staring down defenders
  • Throwing passes
  • Motivating teammates
  • Scoring touchdowns

The insider video, posted by Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian on YouTube, truly serves as a best-in-class execution that should be benchmarked by all sports organizations (either during practice, Spring games, exhibition games, etc.). The video has attracted 44,000+ views. Check it out below:

Sarkisian recently followed up the Huskies' "Inside the Huddle" access with two (2) terrific Fall Camp 2011 videos, profiling the football team behind-the-scenes. Check them out below:

A special thanks to Rising Star Mark Gallo of Anheuser-Busch for his insights and contributions to this column!

Brian Gainor Speaks at NACMA on the State of College Athletics

I wanted to take a quick moment to thank the folks at NACMA (National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators) for allowing me to serve as the Keynote Speaker at the 2011 NACMA Convention in Orlando, FL. It was truly an honor to take the podium and speak with the best and brightest marketers in collegiate athletics.  

The focus of my presentation, "The Current State of Sports Marketing and Forecasting the Future" touched on the current state of collegiate athletics and highlighted ten (10) innovations that college marketers should keep an eye on in the next 2-3 years.  

Check out the entire presentation below:

Brian Gainor Presents on College Athletics at NACMA from Laura Gainor on Vimeo.

Note: I also wanted to send a special thanks to Old Hat Creative for professionally filming the presentation and posting it on the new NACMA Online Library. If you're not familiar with Old Hat Creative, you need to be... they are doing some amazing things in the college space and are a terrific group to work with ... and a special thanks to GMR Marketing as well.

I highly encourage those who work in and around college athletics to make a concerted effort to attend the NACDA Convention on an annual basis, particularly the NACMA discussion panels and breakout sessions. The Convention was truly exceptional, attracting the top college marketers, vendors, and industry minds from across the nation. The event served as a terrific forum to network, share best practices, discuss industry trends, and stimulate out-of-the-box thinking.

Look for more content about the 2011 NACMA Convention in the July 2011 Partnership Activation 2.0 Newsletter and on the site in the months to come!

Syracuse Athletics Turns to NYC Taxis to Drive Awareness

Under the direction of Athletics Director Dr. Daryl Gross, Syracuse Athletics has invested in an aggressive marketing campaign that includes SU Athletics branded taxi tops in New York City as well as the NY logo on the back of the football team's helmets.

With New York City serving as a key battleground for the Orange, the Athletics Department has turned to taxis, buses, and billboards as effective means to drive awareness and excitement for Syracuse football and basketball.

The efforts have proven to be a great way to position Syracuse Athletics as New York's College Team with 45,000+ alums living in the Metropolitan Area. Check out some photos of their branding initiatives below:



Athletics Departments Get Creative with Courtside Rotational Inventory

During national television broadcasts, University Athletic Departments are provided an opportunity to leverage their courtside rotational signage to promote "institutional messages". As a result, Universities have gotten pretty creative with their messaging tactics, promoting everything from social media channels to kids club initiatives to award nominations.

Check out a few screenshots that detail how the University of Wisconsin Athletics Department leveraged their LED scorers table display during a recent Wisconsin-Michigan State basketball game broadcasted on CBS.

A special thanks to David Cohn of the Wisconsin State Golf Association for his insights and contributions to this column.

Message: Promoting Lowe's Senior Class Award

Message: Promoting Special WI Men's Basketball Facebook Offer

Message: Promoting WI Men's Basketball Twitter Contest

Message: Promoting Badgers Kids Club

Message: Promoting Badgers' Varsity Magazine

Message: Promoting Fan of the Game Initiative