Texas A&M Wins ‘College Gameday’ Ad Contest
Providing the setting for a quirky ad for ESPN‘s College GameDay show has become a badge of honor of sorts in the gung-ho and image-conscious world of college football fandom. The spots validate national stature, and guarantee an audience of millions for school colors and traditions.
Texas A&M stars in the most recent promo after its fans won an online voting contest powered in large part by social media.
The contest called on fans from more than 100 schools to vote via the GameDayVote.com site or a special Facebook app — the first time fan input has decided an ad shoot location for the college football season staple of highlights and analysis.
Texas A&M fans proved the most organized and mobilized, and the spot was shot this summer then debuted on YouTube on Thursday. It will make its first TV appearance on Sept. 3.
ESPN’s vice president of marketing Aaron Taylor says the contest was a natural fit for the show, which is shot live from a different campus each week of football season and traditionally features hosts bantering with crowds of screaming fans.
“College GameDay has long been one of our most interactive programs,” Taylor told Mashable in an email when the competition was announced in the spring. “It was inherently social before ‘social media’ existed. The foundation of the show has always been a big social gathering of thousands of fans on campus each week, expressing themselves with signs and joining in a community.”
Social media has helped the show expand its reach in recent years, according to Taylor. More and more fans are incorporating second screens into their viewing routines, and younger demographics especially rely on social media to augment normal broadcasts.
“Fans on-site want to be part of the action with signs and painted faces, but for fans at home, social engagement helps transport them to campus and enable them to express their passion and point of view,” he wrote.
The Texas A&M ad was filmed with students and features the schools traditional Midnight Yell rooting practice. Some 25,000 fans gather at midnight before each home game to go over cheers and chants to be used later that day, and it’s been a tradition since 1913.
In the spot, which is embedded above, Midnight Yell practice keeps curmudgeonly ESPN analyst Lee Corso from getting a good night’s rest.
ESPN has leveraged fan voting to build engagement with a few recent promotions. Last season, a similar contest decided which school’s mascot would appear in a GameDay ad, and a socially-driven contest in the spring decided which player would grace the cover of the popular Madden NFL 13 video game.
Where would you like to see GameDay shoot next? Sound off in the comments.
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