SBD/August 6, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Univ. Of Illinois Rolls Out New Campaign In Effort To Claim The State's Fan Base

The Univ. of Illinois’ athletic department Friday revealed its newest marketing campaign built around the theme “ILLINOIS. OUR STATE. OUR TEAM,” which AD Mike Thomas hopes will make the school “the state’s definitive college program,” according to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com. The theme and logo will be introduced “throughout the state beginning this fall.” Both will be used “in a variety of ways including advertising, street banners, team posters, schedule cards, stadium signage and video board graphics.” The “updated brand identity” also will include “new football uniforms for 2014.” Thomas said, “This theme becomes a way for all of our fans to rally behind one central concept -- that the University of Illinois is our state's school.” Rittenberg wrote Thomas has come “under criticism for his football and men’s basketball coaching searches,” so using a new campaign to rally the fan base “always is a good idea.” However, this “seems like a pretty obvious response to the campaign Northwestern launched in the summer of 2010.” Northwestern AD Jim Phillips and Senior Associate AD for External Affairs Mike Polisky “made a marketing push for the Chicago market, which Illinois feels is its territory, and has been successful.” Now Illinois “is countering with a push to claim the state” (ESPN.com, 8/3).

WAR EAGLE: Auburn Univ. last month rolled out its latest football-themed billboard campaign, titled “Ever To Conquer.” The campaign, which takes its name from a line in the school's fight song, is set to run for five months and will consist of 15 billboards. Auburn Assistant AD/PR Cassie Arner said the billboards will be moving throughout the campaign. Arner: “The three big markets for us are Montgomery, Atlanta and Birmingham. That’s kind of our largest season-ticket holder fan base.” She also noted the boards will be up for around one month in each spot. All of the billboards feature the “Ever To Conquer” phrase with a picture of the Auburn mascot ripping open a shirt. The action is reminiscent of Heisman Trophy-winner QB Cam Newton, who helped lead Auburn to a national championship in ’10. Arner: “We felt like it’s a great way to invest some of your marketing money because of the visibility of it and what it does for your brand.” She added, “It isn’t necessarily to encourage season-ticket sales. … A lot of it has to do with just branding, and getting our logo and our brand out there” (Molly Hogan, THE DAILY). 
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