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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Univ. of Michigan AD Dave Brandon has “encouraged” the athletic department’s first CMO Hunter Lochmann to “push the boundaries of Michigan's previous marketing strategy, old-school and unrefined, pushing into the modern era in every way possible,” according to Mark Snyder of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Lochmann said the school is “not going to have a billboard” of QB Denard Robinson in N.Y. for the Heisman campaign. Lochmann: “That's not Michigan. It's all about the team. You remember what they did at Oregon years ago with Joey Harrington? We're not going to do that.” He added, "As a marketer would that be fun? Absolutely. But you have to do it in the context of what Michigan represents." When Brandon hired Lochmann, he “made a commitment to the resources as well.” The marketing budget “swelled from $218,000 in 2009-10 to $471,000 in 2010-11 to $750,000 in 2011-12, an investment Brandon says is essential.” The results “followed,” as two years ago there was a “double-digit percentage department revenue increase, followed by 7% this past year.” Additional changes included more staff with specified roles, new video scoreboards at Michigan Stadium and “paid advertising in different areas of the department, pushing to sell basketball games during student breaks and new ticketing options.” A student ticket loyalty program also is “debuting this fall,” and it will be “centered around technology and smart-phone apps” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/6).

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 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” (, 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). 

Collegiate Licensing Co. has extended its agreement to be the licensing agent for Notre Dame, keeping the Atlanta-based company in business with the Irish as part of a deal that started in '03. The contract gives Notre Dame full access to CLC’s brand protection and management services. Notre Dame is one of CLC’s top-selling schools, ranking 10th among CLC’s nearly 200 clients, based on the most recent sales data. The Irish were 11th for FY '11, but have moved up a spot after the '12 Q3 rankings were released. Texas continues to be first, followed by Alabama and Florida. Michigan and LSU round out the top five. CLC also has extended deals with three bowls and a handful of schools, including Arizona and Vanderbilt, this summer, while also bringing on Virginia Tech as a new client. In addition, CLC will be moving its HQs later this month out of its long-time home in Northwest Atlanta near the Chattahoochee River to a location on Peachtree Street in the Midtown section of Atlanta.