Nicknamed ‘The Granddaddy of Them All’, the Rose Bowl is the oldest bowl game and arguably the most popular, ranking as the highest attended college football bowl game since 1945. Played on January 2 this year, it will be home to a sold-out stadium of over 64,000 enthusiastic attendees.
None are more excited, however, than the dedicated fans of the two dueling schools! With anticipation building over the past few weeks, both the The Duck Store at University of Oregon and The University Book Store at University of Wisconsin have played an integral role in increasing the excitement for the big day!
Using a variety of strategies, both stores have found creative ways to spread the message of school spirit.
“We came up with an overall campaign called ‘One Goal’ to motivate our students to support our objective of winning the Rose Bowl,” explained Duck Store Senior Team Leader, Brian Wright. “It’s been the foundation of all our marketing for the game.”
To represent that message, the store took a hint from their football team’s playbook – literally! Known for their signature sideline signaling system, University of Oregon’s football players are seemingly instructed on which plays to initiate based on a series of poster-size placards featuring nonsensical pictures including everything from the word ‘BOOF’ to an image of the Cincinnati Bengals logo.
“Even ESPN has commented on that strategy, so it was a fun way for us to incorporate what our team is known for in our advertising efforts,” Wright added. “We’ve integrated it into everything from in-store graphics at all of our locations to our online advertising and email blasts.”
That’s not all, though. Using a cross-channel approach, the store also featured the graphics on both the standard and mobile version of their website to reemphasize wearing yellow, the Ducks’ official game day color, during the bowl, added it to some of their apparel, and released PR to the media about their slogan, offering access to their stores for news stories.
”We wanted to get everyone involved so we also made social media a big focus in our promotions, too” Wright said. “We started by posting the image on Facebook and Twitter, and then asking our fans to ‘share’ it on their pages and make it their profile picture to spread the word.”
Based on the huge response, the store continued their campaign with contests and interactive status updates.
“We gave away two tickets to the Rose Bowl in a raffle,” he added. “Our fans simply had to fill out their information at one of our locations or on our website to enter, all of which we promoted through our social media pages.”
Along with their own campaign, the store cross-promoted the University’s initiatives too.
“The University was posting fun updates from Donald, the team’s duck mascot, on his Facebook page, talking about how long it would take him to walk to Pasadena, where the game is held,” he explained. “We played off that and had conversations with the Duck on our page, doing math calculations and everything! It was really fun and the students loved it.”
The University also created a #DuckMyRide hashtag on Twitter where fans could tweet a picture of their decked out cars as they drove down to the Rose Bowl.
“We gave away two complete car decoration packages in social media help get our fans involved,” Wright described. “All the tweets with that hashtag are posted on the official Duck My Ride website where you can view the pictures of these elaborate cars; it’s really neat.”
All in all, Wright believes the store’s efforts have helped get the students excited.
“School spirit is definitely running high, we’re all really looking forward to it!” he said.
But Oregon isn’t the only one getting fans ready for the game; The University Book Store has also pumped up their students through creative promotions!
“Our main focus has been on promoting our store as the Official Rose Bowl Headquarters,” explained Erin Lambert, marketing supervisor at The University Book Store. “Because we have a lot of competition when it comes to this merchandise, we incorporated the ‘Buy Local’ theme into our marketing, as well, to remind fans that our store supports the University and the community.”
To reinforce this message, the store took advantage of other local resources that support the same idea.
“We posted images of our merchandise and the dates of our sales on Dane Buy Local’s Facebook Page, which is a coalition of local independent businesses, organizations and citizens in our area who support the Buy Local movement,” Lambert said. “We highlighted the fact we’re a local business in our posts, too. It was a great way to reach out to our team’s fans in the community.”
Similarly, the store frequently posted the same information to their own Facebook page to gain the attention of students and alumni.
“We’ve had several online sales on our Rose Bowl gear, which has generated lots of excitement,” she said. “Our biggest seller was our Bucky vs. Ducky t-shirt; our fans went crazy for it and it sold out right away!”
To make shopping on their website even more accessible, the store added a ‘UBS Shop’ tab to their Facebook page, allowing fans to access their Rose Bowl apparel with just one click!
“We wanted to keep reinforcing the fact that we have everything our students need to support the Badgers,” Lambert added.
To make their promotions more interactive, The University Book Store also held contests on their social media pages. For example, they prompted students to comment on a status with their holiday or winter break plans for a chance to win a JanSport Rose Bowl Tee!
Although students couldn’t post twice in a row, they could post multiple times, and the 50th person to respond was deemed the winner.
“We received over 50 responses in just 15 minutes; it was great!” she added.
Based off the same concept, the store integrated text messaging into their promotions to give students yet another channel to participate.
“We post a keyword and a designated number on our social media pages and ask students to text in to win,” explained Leena Asuma, UBS marketing assistant. “We also choose an increment, so every 30th text entry would win a prize, for example. We’ve given away different merchandise and even gift cards, and they’ve all been very popular! Students love how easy it is to enter.”
With the game just days away, the store doesn’t plan to stop their promotions now, either.
“We’d like to do a contest on the day of the game to get fans to show off their spirit,” Lambert added. “We haven’t nailed down the exact logistics, but we’re going to ask fans to post a picture of themselves to our Facebook page to determine who the biggest Badger fan is! The top pick will win either a gift card or a prize pack of our merchandise; it should be fun!”
Just like Oregon, Lambert says that the enthusiasm level is high in Wisconsin!
“Everyone is very excited; we can’t wait!”