SBD/September 28, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Univ. Of Memphis' Local Ad Campaign To Promote Struggling Football Team A Hit

The Univ. of Memphis is "relying on a mix of humor and creativity" in a new television ad campaign to "sell the sizzle" of the school's football team, according to Phil Stukenborg of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The ads, which come via Sullivan Branding, Memphis, feature UM grads Drew Smith and Jamie Mann "as office workers discussing attending the upcoming Tiger football home game." The spots conclude with UM players "staring menacingly at the camera while new coach Justin Fuente implores fans to attend the next game." They began running in mid-August and have made Smith and Mann "quasi-celebrities." Smith's "signature comeback to the office intern, 'Mind your business, Dennis,' has become a local catchphrase." With the understanding the football program is rebuilding, UM AD Tom Bowen "suggested a unique approach with an ad campaign that 'would be memorable, something light.'" Sullivan Branding Creative Dir Earl Keister said that there was "an ad campaign set to run when Bowen took over, but Bowen wanted a different message." Keister: "We took three campaigns into him and the one he liked the best, and the one we liked the best, was one we called 'The Water Cooler Guys.' It's these office workers in cubicle land that have this witty banter back and forth. And they are just always around the office water cooler because that's where guys talk in the office." Bowen said that the spots "have been so well-received that 'The Water Cooler Guys' will be part of next year's ad campaign." He said that women's basketball spots "will feature the duo and a TV commercial to promote next spring's Tiger baseball game against Ole Miss at AutoZone Park will include Smith and Mann, too" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/28).
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