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!

Nike, Dick's, and AT&T Showcase Activation at the 2011 Cowboys Classic

Nike, Dick's Sporting Goods, and AT&T kicked off the 2011 college football season with impressive activation displays at the 2011 Cowboys Classic, a game played between LSU and Oregon at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Nike had a prominent on-site presence at the game with several customization stations set up around Cowboys Stadiums. At each of the stations, LSU and Oregon fans could customize their favorite t-shirts and have them produced on-site. Nike's on-site activation resonated very well with fans and further demonstrates how brands can leverage their team marks in an engaging manner on gameday. It's always refreshing to see a brand like Nike who effectively engages with both fan bases on-site at rivalry games.

Dick's Sporting Goods and AT&T also featured elaborate displays on-site that resonated well fans prior to the game. Dick's used a large footprint to showcase its Scorecard Rewards program and featured an inflatable football toss and several other elements to entertain fans. AT&T featured a mobile unit on-site that promoted the brand's sponsorship of the AT&T All-America Team and allowed fans an opportunity to trial AT&T products and meet their favorite school legends.

As kickoff and rivalry games begin to play a larger role in the college sports landscape, look for more brands to capitalize on these events and take their activation to new heights on game day!

Click here to check out photos the three impressive brand displays on-site.

A special thanks to Sean O'Hara for his photos, insights, and contributions to this column!


UNM Athletics Turns to A Giant Pencil to Drive Fan Engagement

Sports properties looking for new ways to engage office supply partners (e.g. Office Depot, Office Max, etc.) should take a close look at the following promotion executed by Lobos Sports Properties at a recent University of New Mexico home basketball game.

Lobos Sports Properties created a promotion where a blindfolded fan had to locate a giant pencil positioned on the court in a given time frame to win a grand prize. During the contest, fans had to try to guide the fan by shouting out simple instructions. The promotion is extremely simple (and commonly used in the collegiate sports space for a variety of corporate partners) but serves as an effective and engaging awareness driver, especially for a company like Midway Office Supply.

Lobos Sports Properties could consider taking the fan engagement aspect to the next level by rewarding a section with free office supplies (e.g. pack of pens per person seated in Section 108) if the fan were to locate the Giant Pencil... and possibly pens for the entire arena if he was able to locate it within the first 5 seconds.

With this promotion, it would be hard for fans to leave the arena that night and not remember the giant pencil! Check it out below:

Lobos Sports Properties has done a terrific job compiling all of its basketball arena inventory and promotions on an Official YouTube page, which can definitely be considered to be an industry best practice. Look for more college sports properties to leverage YouTube as a similar hosting platform for sponsorship inventory in the near future!