Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 18
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Oregon sees huge social media impact for #StompOutCancer

For more than a decade, Nike has teamed up with pediatric cancer patients from Portland’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to create unique shoe and apparel designs. Revenue from the sales have raised more than $17 million for the hospital.

The University of Oregon, meanwhile, has developed its football brand around innovative uniform design. What if those groups came together, the school wondered aloud, by giving the pediatric cancer patients the opportunity to design the Ducks’ uniforms for one game this season?

The result was the #StompOutCancer game on Sept. 9. Three teenage patients were selected to do the design and the school marketed the event — dubbed Project Elevate — through its growing social media channels.

In the weeks leading up to the game, Oregon measured the impact of its social media

promotion with the hashtag #StompOutCancer through its @GoDucks channel. The results: 13.6 million impressions on Facebook; 5.6 million impressions on Twitter; 2.2 million impressions and 416,000 video views on Instagram; and 12,000 story views on Snapchat.

“In the past, we had done the pink helmets, but we were looking for something that would be more local,” said Craig Pintens, Oregon’s senior associate athletic director for marketing and public relations. “Letting the kids do the design was just what we were looking for.”

By spreading the word through social media, Oregon was able to sell specially designed merchandise made specifically for that game, with all proceeds going to the hospital.

The Ducks already have sold more than $1 million of the gear, all of which goes to the children’s hospital to fight pediatric cancer.

The #StompOutCancer game provided an illustration of how Oregon’s growing social media efforts have elevated the Ducks’ brand. Their Twitter followers have jumped from 113,000 to more than 509,000 in the last two years.

The University of Tennessee site that tracks a school’s Twitter audience ranks Oregon’s @GoDucks channel as the second-busiest in the country. Its growth over the last 30 days surpassed 7 percent, compared to 1 percent or 2 percent for the others in the top 20.

Oregon, like many schools, is heavily video-focused, even on Twitter where there’s not a lot of text on the @GoDucks channel. The athletic department also has enlisted the help of local graphic artist and huge Ducks fan Dan Boyer, whose animated images and stories have turned into a weekly series on @GoDucks.

It’s all intended to have “mass appeal, especially for the recruits,” Pintens said.