If there has been one recurring criticism for UMass athletics from me — it’s the marketing coming from the athletic department. That has taken the form of inconsistency in branding, lack of student outreach, etc. A number of issues, really.
That said, this time it isn’t what the athletic department is doing is wrong. The problem is that I’ve yet to see or hear anything.
If a football program moves up to FBS. And no one is around to see it. Does it make a noise?
No noise thus far in Eastern Massachusetts. We previously heard of a pending marketing campaign to be unleashed this month.
After July 4, the school will begin a marketing “blitz” in Eastern Massachusetts that is guided by Salem-based marketing firm, the Gold Group.
“It’s basically under the direction of the Gold Group, who’s doing it, they’ll start placing the outdoor advertising, the billboards and things,” Kenney said. “Radio will be going across a broad spectrum. Not just sports, because that’s not just our demographic — it’s families.”
The Gold Group is not traditionally a firm that deals with sports, but UMass was impressed with their outside the box thinking and use of grassroots marketing, such as logo cups at local restaurants.
“They’ve done Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. The National tour of the Vatican exhibit. The mummies, the king tut exhibit,” Kenney said. “What intrigued us about them was their thorough approach to not just placing media. It was that grassroots area, to create that buzz to get people to buy tickets to the game.”
Kenney said the Athletic Department had about $50,000 in extra advertising expenditures this season to increase its presence in the Eastern part of the state.
A media blitz! Exciting!
And that’s the last I’ve heard about it.
I live in Eastern Massachusetts. I drive the major highways. I frequent local establishments. I listen to both Boston sports radio stations. Damn near the only television I watch is sports and local news. Yet, I haven’t heard one advertisement.
I understand that the athletic department wants to reach beyond the sports demo. That is apparent from the quotes given to Mass Live. However, I’m not sure completely ignoring it is wise.
Although I don’t like that I am yet to see/hear a single traditional promo; here is one idea for the non-traditional sports demo.
There is a massive concert at Gillette Stadium at the end of August. It’s called CountryFest. There will be over 100,000 people over the span of the two days (many of whom like to tailgate) in attendance. This is a golden opportunity to make a whole new category of people aware that UMass football’s new home is at Gillette.
Partnering with Robert Kraft and Gillette Stadium to make UMass’ presence known at an event of this magnitude just weeks before the season opener — it should be a no-brainer.
For now we anxiously await for the Gold Group and the athletic department to make the first move.
If you have seen or heard any new UMass football marketing, let us know in the comments.
UPDATE: We can confirm that 98.5 The Sports Hub aired a UMass football radio spot this morning.