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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Ahead of the curve

The marketing professors and gurus over at Eller College of Management must be taking very close notes — if not already sculpting a syllabus or focus in New Media Marketing.

Branding 101, Buzz 205 and Exposure 310 should all be chapters to the ultimate case study of how the Pacific 10 Conference went from a yawner late-night afterthought to the nation’s most talked-about sports conference this summer.

You heard about commissioner Larry Scott’s ambitious attempt at absorbing the Big 12 — that was all in the plan to grab eyes and resurrect a conference that couldn’t make an evening SportsCenter highlight unless Legarrette Blount punched someone.

The conference’s explosive All-American-caliber quarterbacks like Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Washington’s Jake Locker and USC’s Matt Barkley aren’t household names east of the Mississippi. And that’s why Scott intervened and grabbed Bristol, Conn., by the ear, funneling the East Coast media with a feeding tube of West Coast nutrients.

Scott’s first move: Hiring Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency to give the conference a makeover. The world’s leading talent agency, which represents the majority of A-list celebrities in all sorts of entertainment, rebranded the Pac-10’s image by simply retelling its résumé through sexy videos for prospective student athletes.

Watch the video and you’ll see its dynamic landscape (coastline, desert, mountains), cool locales (Los Angeles, Seattle, Bay Area), incredible alumni (Google’s founders at Stanford, Neil Armstrong at USC, Kourtney Kardashian at UA), legendary sports icons (John Wooden, John Elway, Steve Prefontaine), the most NCAA championships, leaders in the Director’s Cup …

The list goes on. Watch it all in the Pac-10’s new “”brand trailer”” on its new website adorned by its new logos.

It’s all new. Harnessing the tradition of innovation, excellence and winning is attractive, and what better place to rejuvenate the rebirth than New York City, the media epicenter of the world.

You’ve seen photos of the coaches ringing the Nasdaq bell and players on the set of ESPN College GameDay. Maybe those video clips appeared on your Facebook News Feed or maybe it was retweeted. 

New Media Marketing. It’s viral, and it’s got to have you excited for the future of this conference, as the fidgety Pac-10 looks to choose from new television contracts like The Situation chooses his women at the club.

Big 12, you can take the grenades.

“”Sometimes on the West Coast we have a West Coast attitude that things are great out here and if the rest of the country wants to learn about us, they can come have a look,”” Michael Mokwa, a marketing professor at ASU, told the Los Angeles Times. “”It’s a matter of being aggressive, or the alternative, being complacent.””

On a smaller yet equally effective scale, UA’s new athletic director Greg Byrne must also be taking notes. The 38-year-old social media-savvy young gun personally thanks fans on his Facebook page, posts photos from his trips on his Twitter and writes a weekly e-mail newsletter to fans who subscribe.

Earlier this month he posted: “”OK, lunch at Student Union on Tues. 8/31 for 1st one to Twitter out @Greg_Byrne in a message. Only respond if u can use. Bear Down!””

That’s a true fan’s AD. Don’t be surprised to see him venture into the Zona Zoo or upper deck during football games. After all, Byrne just returned from a statewide tour, shaking hands and kissing babies all to raise awareness of the UA’s athletic brand. He wants your attention.

Should this all translate to ticket sales?

“”We sold 484 season tixs last week. We have sold 25,477 and just a little over 2,000 away from the record,”” Byrne said on Twitter. “”Better get them!””

Note taken.

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