Well, it's official. Today marks the date that the merger we've been talking about for the past few months finally takes effect. Truth be told, Old Hat Creative and Third Degree Advertising have been working together for many months now in preparation for combining into a single company. But today is the day that we no longer exist as separate entities. Old Hat and Third Degree are one.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, on one hand, not much. And on the other hand, it means a lot.

What is NOT changing?

Primarily, Old Hat will continue to be the company you know and love...

1. You'll still get birthday cards every year with a coupon for free Fightin' Gnomes gear from the Old Hat University Team Shop.

 

2. You'll continue to be the life of the party by being able to quote random facts that you found by viewing our email signatures. 

• When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.

• Banging your head against the wall burns 150 calories per hour.

• Billy goats urinate on their own heads to smell more attractive to females (female goats, I assume).

 

3. You'll continue getting the most amazing creative to help you engage your fans, improve the gameday experience, sell tickets and increase fundraising.

 

4. Our dedication to ridiculously good customer service will never fade. We'll continue to always be available, always be responsive and never miss deadlines.

 

What IS changing?

Well, we're getting bigger...

1. Old Hat is currently headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma with remote employees in North Carolina and Utah. Starting today, we will have talented employees working from offices in Oklahoma City; Durham, NC; Greensboro, NC; Salt Lake City, UT; Charlottesville, VA and Frederick, MD.

This is me outside the OKC office with the downtown skyline in the background:

 

And, we're getting better...

2. Old Hat has a long history of producing amazingly awesome creative. This merger puts us in the position to make that creative even more awesome by adding research, media planning/buying, digital strategy and implementation, content creation, repositioning, media audits, copywriting, marketing automation and much more. We're taking our creative and making it smarter.

The UNC Ticket Sales site is a perfect example of taking our current offerings (web design and development, video production, on-site video shoots) and combining that with the expertise of our new partners (research, strategy and marketing automation).

 

So to summarize, nothing that you like is going away. We're just going from ridiculously-awesome to far-more-ridiculously-awesome. And just for fun, here's a photo tour of our OKC office.

 

This is a map with doorknobs showing all of the locations of Third Degree's clients from all over the United States. It's rad.

 

This is a cool yellow couch. The wall behind me says, "Elevate." 

 

This is a really big pencil we use write all of our really big ideas down with. It's bolted to the wall so no one will steal it.

 

This is the room where we keep a guy named Richard.

 

Just kidding. The men's room says, "Dick" and the ladies' room says, "Jane." How clever is that?

 

This is a cool red refrigerator where I get to keep my Diet Dr Pepper.

 

 

Each week this past month our client reps have been sharing some of their favorite projects they worked on in 2015. And this week, it's my turn! Since I became a client rep in July, I've been taking on some of our new clients, while assisting with some of our long-term clients. Scroll down to see some of my first and (also my favorite) projects as a client rep in 2015. 

University of Memphis

My first project was for the University of Memphis' Time to Shine website. This site was built to help fundraise for Memphis' football and men's basketball new facilities. Check out the video playing in the background! 

University of Michigan

Another fun project was the University of Michigan's football animations for the 2015 season. For these animations, our productions team incorporated a brick wall and iron gates to create a traditional feel. You can see a full list of the animations here 

 

 

Northwestern University 

We created a fun, new Derby animation for Northwestern Football, customizing it for their sponsor, Coca-Cola. Our productions team created helmet to completely cover the drivers face and uniforms that match different Coca-Cola products.  

DePaul University

In November, the City of Chicago broke ground on a new convention center, the McCormick Collection which will house the McCormick Place Event Center. Starting in the fall of 2017, DePaul Men's and Women's Basketball teams will begin playing here. Old Hat was given several opportunities to assist with this project including three websites and a video to get Blue Demon fans excited about the move to this downtown Chicago facility, 

HomeCourtChicago.com - This website highlights everything related to the new convention center including hotels and the entertainment venue. 

Sales Presentation - This website is actually a touch screen website that is displayed on monitors throughout DePaul Preview Center. Sales Associates at the Preview Center walk Blue Demon fans through the project and show premium seating opportunities. 

Scheduling Website - This site is used to help Blue Demon fans schedule appointments easily with a DePaul Sales Associate to look around the Preview Center. 

 


2015 was busy! It was filled with lots of projects for a wide variety of clients. When I was asked to share a few of my favorite projects from 2015, I knew it was going to be challenging. Every project is fun and unique in its own way. A few of the projects from 2015 that stick out to me are:

1. Towson Women's Basketball Intro Video

I enjoyed this project because the Towson Women's Basketball coaching staff had a clear vision of what they wanted this video to be. We traveled to Towson to shoot footage of the women's basketball team and Baltimore to bring their vision to life. It was the first video shoot I'd been a part of where we captured footage off campus. My favorite part of the video is how our video crew was able to show the movement of the team and basketball through the iconic locations in Baltimore.

2. Army Football Videos, Graphics and Animations

We had the opportunity to do 6 different videoboard projects for Army football. I really enjoyed these projects because each one was so unique. We had the opportunity to do a high end 3D logo animation, a Make Some Noise crowd prompt animation, a Shuffle game, a Derby game, a hype video and an intro animation for Army to use prior to their own video features. Stay tuned for some awesome new projects for the Army / Navy basketball game on January 23 at Madison Square Garden.

3. Delaware Custom Font and Wordmarks

This project was great because we had the opportunity to create a custom font for the University of Delaware and then used that font to design wordmarks for Delaware and all of their sports. Since Delaware was getting a new uniform supplier, all of these marks were then used on their 2015 team uniforms. It was really cool to see our work being worn by all of the Blue Hen athletes.

4. Duke Social Media Graphics

I enjoyed this project because we were able to work with Duke to create a consistent brand across all of their sports. This included creating profile pictures and cover photos as well as a wide variety of templates and holiday graphics for each sport to use. We based the social media profile and cover images off of the Olympic sport poster template design to create an even more cohesive look.

 

  

2016 is already off to a flying start with some exciting projects underway. I'm looking forward to another year of memorable projects!

Growing up, Christmas mornings were always filled with the insanely bright light from my father's 8mm camera (the video cameras at this time were still the size of carry-on luggage). I recently watched some of these old home movies over the holidays. We set up the projector and the screen and looked at sleepy kids with their hair sticking straight up, wearing highwater pajama pants (the Wallevand boys had crazy growth spurts that were apparently hard to keep up with). I love the nostalgia involved with my father's projector. The dark room, the hum of the film, the dust floating in the light, silent people smiling and waving at the camera. It's all very Clark Griswold and Christmas Vacation.

It's hard to imagine how just one month earlier we were closing out the job on another on-court projection video for Runnin' Utes Basketball. We've come a long way from shining an image onto a flat screen. Now you can project complex 3D animations and motion sequences onto a 94' x 50' basketball court. Video projection mapping can turn almost any surface into a dynamic video display. This technique has been around for several years and has been perfected in Europe. And it's not something that is limited to buildings or floors anymore. Some insanely talented people are taking the technique up into the stratosphere by projecting onto dresses and tattooing or "ink mapping" people.

Take a look at this American Express event for US Open week. This video was displayed on a 40' x 60' screen of falling water suspended over the Hudson River:

Here's a projection mapping display on CERN's large hadron collider:

I'm pretty sure we're just a few projections away from having the arena from The Hunger Games.

Projection mapping in professional basketball and hockey arenas has become as expected as the national anthem and kiss cam. Last year, the University of Utah installed college basketball's FIRST permanent on-court projection system. The Utes have without a doubt one of the most unique gameday atmospheres in the nation. The combination of technology and music together with the exciting team visuals allows fans to experience the Utah brand in a whole new way. These projections create a fully, immersive fan experience. There is an explosion of energy released before a single second of basketball has even been played. It is the ultimate home court advantage and a great complement to an exciting team. Not to mention it is a one of a kind asset in the insanely competitive recruiting game. 

Intro hype videos and starting line-up introductions are just the tip of the projection iceburg. As technology and techniques improve, who's to say we can't project a sponsored Derby race or Shuffle game? The sky is really the limit for fan engagement and partnership opportunities. On-court projection systems are becoming as important an investment as video boards and LED screens and several institutions are working their costs into building plans when they construct or renovate their arenas. Projection mapping is the future and those who want to be cutting edge are making the investment now. 

 

So it's 2016 which you've probably already heard, and you know what that means... it actually means a lot of things- like a presidential election year and the Summer Olympics in Rio and Leap Year and yes... Groundhog Day! Actually I think that occurs every year. Either way, none of these things bring me to the point of my blog.

The rollover into 2016 means I get to blog about my favorite projects from 2015 (hence the reason for the large 2015 graphic up top)! We like to do recaps and favorite projects lists around here, and sometimes we may even overdo it. But that's what we're all about (why do it when you can overdo it?).

With that, let's see how we did in 2015.

You may have seen in our latest newsletter how many new clients we were fortunate to work with this past year. Even I was surprised at all the new business from 2015. One of these new clients, the American Athletic Conference, just held their first-ever football championship. I'm proud to say Old Hat was able to work with the client on multiple projects to market the event and enhance the in-game experience for fans. It all comes down to One was the tagline for the championship, and that theme was used throughout the year in print, interactive and video work leading up to the big game. Here are a few of the pieces from the American Football Championship.

 

 

 

Another group of projects that turned out exceptional and unique are the Notre Dame template posters that have been used for their olympic sports. Notre Dame has been more conscious and deliberate about keeping their brand consistent (which I applaud), so the template posters this year came with a more stringent set of guidelines to ensure we were staying within the brand. Our designers did a great job not only staying within the guidelines, but the template poster could be seen as a **big word spoiler alert** microcosm of the style guide itself. 

 

I would eventually include every project as one of my favorites if I had more time, because our designers across all media (interactive, video and print) are truly experts at what they do. We're very fortunate to get to work with the clients that we have, and our clients are also very fortunate to get to have our designers put together incredible projects day in and day out. I'll leave you with a few more of my favorites from the year. Here's to a great 2016 for Old Hat and our clients!

 

 

 

Obviously, I don't have favorite clients...I would never...I love you all the same!  However, when it comes to projects, even though I love everything that comes from our designers, I have a few that I could call favorites from this season.

So, without further ado...away we go!

In no particular order:

Illinois Football Intro Video:

  • This was our first trip out to Champaign for the season to see our Illini friends.  Deb and Dustin worked with Brad Wurthman to create a visually appealing concept, and we used orange and blue gels to cover the lights we set up to give the video an intense orange and blue look.
  • I love how we incorporated their Victory Badge logo into our transition effects.
  • My favorite part of this video is the music...its so dramatic.  Gets me everytime...
  • And that stare at the end...my goodness. 

Mizzou Women's Basketball Intro:

  • I love this whole concept.  The song is "I put on for my City" and we used campus and city b-roll, and even incorporated those into the silhouettes of the girls.
  • While this silhouette concept was trendy this year, I like this one because we used city footage instead of highlights.

Colorado State Basketball Commercial:

  • Deb had an idea, and Nick at CSU let her run with it.  Inspired by American Horror Story, this commercial scares me a bit.  It definitely makes me want to come experience the Moby Madness.  If not for basketball, at least for this guy:

Presbyterian Men's Basketball Poster:

  • Simon at PC wanted to highlight the one senior on the team this year. 
  • In years past, the designs we did had a darker look to them.  This one is lighter and just stood out to me among our posters this season.

Syracuse Template Posters:

  • This design started as a unique poster for women's ice hockey last year.  
  • They liked it so much, they decided to use it as the starting point for the template for most of the Orange sports this season.
  • I love it!
 
 
 



Our 2016 New Year’s resolution: share more of what we know.

In the past 12 years, we’ve learned a lot about sports marketing and fundraising. In fact, we’re not going to be shy about saying this: we’re experts. And we’ve realized that our clients, friends, and fans would benefit from our expertise – so we’re going to start sharing more of it.

Over the upcoming year, you can expect to see more articles on our blog about sports marketing best practices, achieving fundraising goals, advice for common sports marketing challenges, marketing trends, and more. If you’ve got a sports marketing question or challenge that’s keeping you up at night, send it to us! We’d be happy to tackle it in our blog and give you some free advice. After all, our staff has a combined 482 years of experience in sports marketing and development. I know what you're thinking. 482 years? Seriously? No, not seriously. But it's a lot. 

But don’t worry, if you like hearing about our antics and personal escapades you’ll still be able to read about them on all our various social media outlets. Robert will still run shirtless through the snow. Zac will still do uncomfortable interviews with the OH staff. And Geoff might write a haiku again sometime. 

So buckle in. Twenty-sixteen is poised to be the greatest year in the history of years. And your best resource for making it the best for you is right here at the Old Hat blog.

 

HEY PEOPLE, IT'S NEW YEAR'S EVE!!! It's time to party like it's 1939. That's the old saying, right?

Now I don't typically pick favorites amongst our video/animation projects because I'm proud of all of the work we do. Every project is our most important project. I also think it's hard to compare projects because each one is unique with unique assets, concepts, and audiences. However, it's the end of the year people seem to enjoy lists. So here's a top ten list of my fav 2015 Productions projects that I think are unique.

 

10 - Colorado State Basketball Madness Commercial

9 - North Texas Men's Basketball Commercial

8 - North Texas Men's Basketball Intro

7 & 6 - American Athletic Conference Football Championship Intros

 

5 - Kennesaw State Football Intro Inaugural Season

4 - Wisconsin Football Historical

3 - Murray State Women's Basketball Intro

2 - Army West Point Derby

1 - Utah Basketball Projection

As a sports marketer, what do you sell? The simple and obvious answer is, of course, tickets. Those game ticket sales in turn fuel other revenue streams: concessions, merchandise, and indirectly other types of program support.

But in reality, you’re selling much more than tickets. You’re selling an experience of your school’s brand and what it means to be a fan of your particular sports program. That experience means different things to different people.

Your entire target audience has one important thing in common: they’re all fans of your program to some degree or another. That means all of them are likely to respond to certain visual cues like your logo, colors, and images of your team, campus, or game venue. However, if you really want to market yourself strategically and effectively, you need to segment your audience further and get to know what drives them.

There are several ways to segment your fans: alumni, donor level, development group member, fan club member, season ticket holder, single game ticket purchaser, whether they’re die-hards or jump-on-a-winning-bandwagon fans, and of course the usual demographic indicators such as age, gender, and geographic location. One of the best ways to segment your current target audience is through market research surveys that enable you to understand their motivations for being a fan and what the game experience means to them.

Here are a few simple examples of what this might look like and how you could use it to drive tailored communication strategies:

·       Students might value the fan experience because it reinforces their connection with the school and contributes to their sense of personal identity at this stage of their lives. What makes the student experience unique at your school? Think about how you can tap into traditions like these.

Alumni might be motivated by the opportunity to relive the fun and excitement of their college days, reconnecting with the brand through a combination of sense of tradition, nostalgia, and present day pride. Why not take advantage of opportunities like social media’s #TBT (Throwback Thursday) to help you reinforce that connection and encourage greater engagement?

Parents of students might see the experience as a way to strengthen their connection with their child and may feel a sense of ownership and pride based on their financial contributions to the school. Consider how you can encourage mom or dad’s commitment to the team.

Parents of younger children (whether they’re alumni or not) may value the fan experience as a means of creating memories, passing down a love the game, or teaching kids about teamwork. How is the game experience different for them, and what can you do to showcase the family-friendly side of your brand?

Locals who aren’t alumni and don’t have children attending your school may relate more to a sense of local pride or deep-rooted geographic rivalries. Think about what you can do or say that will recognize and encourage their continued support as honorary members of your organization.

When you understand what motivates your different fan groups to be part of the game experience, it’s easier to identify the right marketing themes. Some motivations or feelings will span segmented groups and resonate with the majority of your fans. Those are the themes you should consider for your overall marketing message. Other motivations will be specific to certain segments, and you should use those to tailor your engagement with each group.

Every ticket or season tickets package you sell represents a wide range of emotions and motivations that are felt by your fans as part of the game experience. So don’t just sell tickets: sell can’t-hold-us-down commitment. Sell remember-when-we nostalgia. Sell ours-is-better-than-yours rivalry. Sell this-is-our-house pride. Your fans will love you for it.

Football season is winding to a close and basketball season is heating up. No matter which sport you work with, these four tips will help you take your marketing efforts from having an average season to dominating your goals.

1. Talk smack.

As a sports marketer, you basically get paid to talk smack. How glorious is that? It’s a beautiful thing – as long as you get it right. Good smack-talk galvanizes your fans and increases ticket sales. Just remember that when you talk smack for your program, there are two groups who have to deliver on it: the team (of course) and the operations guys whose efforts ensure a good game-day experience for fans. Make sure you’re working closely with both. The other thing about talking smack is that in order for it to resonate, you have to talk the right smack to the right group. That can be tough if you’re new to a particular program, because every school and every sport is unique. When your messages are on point, you’re near the eye of the hurricane helping chart its path. If your messages aren’t on point, you’re going to be the guy getting crushed by the hurricane. To make sure you’re not that guy, follow the lead of your coaches and players: watch some tape.

2. Watch tape (a.k.a. do your research).

Do you know any college or professional football team that doesn’t watch tape? Yeah, us neither. There’s a reason for that. Watching game film gives players and teams insight into what went well (or didn’t go well) and what to expect from their next opponent. That type of research and analysis provides an important edge. Why not do the same thing with your marketing? Just like reviewing game film, there are two key areas you need to analyze: your brand and your target audience. When was the last time you thoroughly reviewed what your brand stands for, where it can improve on delivering the customer experience, and how strong your marketing strategy is? You also periodically analyze your customers: who they are, what they value most about the game day experience, how well their needs are being met, and what their satisfaction level is. The good news is that you can get away with investing in this type of in-depth analysis periodically (once per season) instead of having to do it for every game.  

3. Develop your plays.

On the field or off, analysis is useless if it doesn’t translate into strategy. Use your brand and market research to develop your overall marketing strategy for the year, select the themes and media that are most likely to help you achieve your goals, prioritize your budget, and develop campaigns. Your marketing year can probably be divided pretty easily into its own set of seasons, and you need to have a solid campaign plan for each. Once you find something that works, there’s no shame in recycling it for the next year as long as you don’t get complacent. Complacency kills. You don’t want fans to be able to predict your next poster, email, etc. any more than your team wants the opposing players to predict their next move. So figure out what worked last season, make some adjustments to keep it interesting, and take the next year on like you own it.

4. Monitor the stats. 

Ticket sales, game attendance, season ticket renewals, alumni contributions – these are all statistics you should be benchmarking and comparing to prior data. But don’t stop there: there’s more to measure if you really want to know how effective your marketing efforts are. While it can be difficult to measure the success rate of traditional marketing tactics (posters, print ads, billboards, radio, etc.), digital marketing offers a goldmine of statistics.  Go beyond looking at basics like number of new and returning website visitors, and start measuring responses to calls to action and actual conversion. Incorporate a marketing automation tool so you can target your messages to different groups, move them along the conversion path, and measure the response you get to each email you send. Make your emails more personal and more interactive with videos that are customizable to each recipient – it’s more affordable than you think, and it helps seriously drive engagement and ultimately ticket sales.

 

 

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