In my last blog, I talked about all of the places I've traveled so far this summer.  Guess what?!  It's time to add another place to the list - Champaign, Illinois.

Tomorrow, Dustin, Stevie, and I are heading to Champaign for a football video shoot.  Since I went to college only 40 minutes down the highway, I have been there before, but this is the first time we will be there with U of I as a client!

We are super excited and always love going to new campuses.  I know our capture and video team have some awesome concepts in mind, and I cannot wait to see how this video will look when it's done.

Be on the look out for some behind the scenes photos this week!

In the meantime, here's a look at some football materials we've created for the Illini this season:


Schedule Card

Really all of the work Old Hat does is eye candy. Our goal with every single project is to help make our clients look good, real good. Our stellar video team has been doing a great job helping our clients enhance their own broadcast and video projects by incorporating our graphics package work into their projects. Here's some examples of what we've been able to create for Duke, Marist and UMASS.


Another year and another successful NACMA in the books for us. We had a great time catching up with current clients and connecting with potential new clients. Overall, the trip was a blast and here are the top nine things we learned:


1. Stuckey's is an American Tradition - Anyone ever heard of Stuckey's? It's a chain of gas stations that I thought had gone the way of the dodo bird. There used to be multiple Stuckey's locations dotting I-35 in Oklahoma but I haven't seen one in years. As luck would have it, there's one right outside Pensacola, FL and we stopped there TWICE on this trip. Stuckey's is a great place to stop if you want really cheaply made chachkis, ugly t-shirts, alligator claw back-scratchers, etc. We decided to pick up surprises for all the staff that couldn't make the trip with us. See below.


2. The back seat of a Suburban is not meant for adults - Six adults in one suburban in a 45 hour (total) road trip is tough. Josie and Hannah are the smallest so we forced them into the third seat for a good portion of the trip. I gave them a hard time for complaining about it but the fact of the matter is, that seat wasn't meant for adults. Holli and I rode back there for a while on the way down there and then started the trip back with a solid 6 hours back there. It was not enjoyable. Here's a photo of me and Holli asleep in the back while everyone else is enjoying their spacious seating.


3. There's Only One Place Left in the World That Still Allows Smoking Indoors... And We Had Our Party There - For all of our clients that are chain-smokers, I'm sure you were delighted to see that the bar we chose for our party allowed smoking. For all of you that DON'T want lung cancer, I'm sure the cloud of smoke was a bit of a shock when you arrive. On the upside, the bar's vending machine DID offer condoms. So we had that going for us... which was nice.


4. Make Sure to Bring $1.25 to Pensacola Beach - Pensacola Beach is a pretty nice beach. Crowded... but the sand is white and the water is clear. But if you have any desire to walk out on the pier, you better have some cash with you. Pensacola must be very proud of their pier as they charge $1.25 to walk on it. It's like a toll road for your feet. We walked over to it but hadn't brought any methods of payment with us so we opted out of the walk on the pier. Oh well.


5. The Lighting is Better in the Suburban than in My Shower - So apparently sunlight through the back windows of a Suburband does a better job of showing missed spots on shaven legs than the lighting in my shower at home. Holli noticed a few spots on the drive out there that she had missed so she hollered at whoever was in the front seat to fetch her the razor she keeps in the glove compartment for this very reason. I'm thinking about installing a shower in the Suburban so she can kill two birds with one stone from here on out.


6. 500 Square Feet is a LOT of Awesomeness - The past few years, we've had a 20 x 20 foot booth space in the tradeshow. This year, we decided to go with a 10 x 40 foot space to mix it up a little. It was a little experiment. Well, due to a longer story than you care to hear, we expanded that to 10 x 50 feet. It was nice to have all that space but I think we'll go back down to 10 x 40 next year. 


7. Robert and I have Similar Tastes in Swimwear - I've known Robert a long time... since we were juniors in college, to be exact. And we've worked together for many years. So I know him pretty well. But I have to admit that I was surprised when we got ready to leave for the beach and discovered that our swimsuits were nearly identical. 


8. Just Like the Seminoles, My Diet Dr Pepper Record will Forever be Unconquered - FSU was the latest in my trek to have the record for the most Division 1 college campuses upon which a person has been photographed drinking a Diet Dr Pepper. This was number 26 for me.


9. People Would Rather See My Wife Hula Hoop than See Me Do ANYTHING - It all started as a joke. Last year we had a hula hoop at the booth because we wrapped a sign around it. Holli hula hooped with it, I video'd it, uploaded it to facebook and she became a hula hooping sensation. So I decided it would be funny to make this year's t-shirt giveaway an Old Hat University Hula Hooping Team t-shirt and to promote it, I'd have her hula hoop at landmarks all the way to Orlando AND at the booth. Well what I discovered is that videos of her hula hooping are far more popular than anything I've ever done on camera. So far, her videos have been viewed 3,201 times. The most popular was the one of her hula hooping with Nicole Imbrogno. You can view that on the Old Hat facebook page:


That's all! See you next year!


So today is my two year anniversary at Old Hat Creative. Much like my very first blog, this one will touch on a few things. A lot has changed for me in the last few years, though it seems to be settling down with much of the change coming in the first few months of that stretch two years ago.

The NBA Finals wrapped up last night with Golden State winning their first title in 40 years, finishing off one of the great seasons in NBA history. The Warriors are classy group with a likable cast including Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Steve Kerr. Kerr was one of my favorite Bulls back in the day (other than Michael and Scottie) and Kerr has enjoyed success at many of his career stops including playing, coaching or broadcasting. The Warriors also held off a spectacular series performance by one of the great players in history in LeBron James. I've been a LeBron fan for a long time but continue to be amazed / disappointed by all of the hate that's slung his way in spite of his on-court performance. Granted LeBron brings some of it on himself with actions like "The Decision" and "Not one, not two, not three, etc", but he is already one of the top 10 of all-time with several good years left. LeBron and MJ are often compared, many times unfairly because they are different types of players. Can't we be fans of both? I know I am. Jordan won four of his six titles in his 30s and LeBron, who just turned 30, already has two championships under his belt. Even though LeBron is just 2-4 in the Finals, that still holds up when compared to other legends such as Jerry West (1-8 Finals record), Wilt Chamberlain (2-5) or Karl Malone (0-3). Imagine what it would be like if Jordan, West or Chamberlain played in the social media era?

The New York Times reported yesterday that the St. Louis Cardinals were being investigated by the FBI for hacking the Houston Astros player evaluation computer database. We will see how this turns out, but the Internet has already had fun with this one and will call into question the accomplishments of the Cardinals over the last decade. I'm not condoning the hacking/cheating, but this has to be a lesson to create stronger passwords and don't re-use old ones. Especially if you're moving from one organization to a rival one!

Old Hat goes to 11 …. NACMAs. Another successful convention is wrapping up. A time to meet old friends and make some new ones. If you liked what you saw at NACMA or maybe weren't able to attend, check out the ways we use our experience and expertise to make you look good. Like Old Hat Sports Branding. Or court projection videos. Or Fanswers and Fangage. Maybe a print piece, large or small, is what you need. We will make you look good.

Did you hear? NACMA is next week. Although I won't be going, it's still exciting to me for a few reasons.

1.  The Old Hat booth that you should totally visit while you're there, is no longer set up in the office. I didn't mind it being set up at first, but then I hit my head on one of the many TVs, so Booth and I were not on good terms. However, one thing I did like about it this past week was that the curtains were up, and with Deb being out of town, it was like I had my own office or something.

2.  You're going to get to see things that I worked on! We'll have tons of our client work on display, including commercials, intros and even court projections. Prepare your eyeballs now. They haven't seen anything this cool EVER.

3.  Since you all are going to be having an awesome time at the Old Hat party down in Orlando with Zac and some of the other Old Hatters, we're going to have a huge rager back here at the office. But don't tell Zac. It's a secret.

I realized this morning that NACMA is less than three weeks away...and started to get a tiny bit stressed.

We still have lots to do! NACMA is a team effort around here, and nearly everyone in the office is contributing in some way. There's been hotel reservations, party invitations...trailer rentals and graphics environmental. A photo shoot and ordering loot. Booth construction and office obstruction. And I don't have enough brain power to think of more rhyming phrases. Instead, I'll turn my attention to checking more off our list. 

Old Hat Clients - make sure to watch your mail and email for more information soon!


Did you hear about the latest Jordan-v-LeBron debate? Public Policy Polling surveyed Americans about a number of sports-related topics, and one of the questions asked NBA fans if they thought Michael Jordan could beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one today. "LeBron is favored in such a contest 54/34, though a plurality (48/41) of voters aged 30 to 45—those who grew up watching M.J.’s on-court brilliance—think the Charlotte Hornets owner could deliver one last performance worthy of his six Finals MVPs and dethrone King James."

Speaking as somebody in that 30-45 age range, I would without a doubt vote for Jordan. I don't care if it makes me sound like a clueless moron. I could make a long argument stating my case, but I don't see the point because Michael Jordan was, is and will always be the greatest in everything basketball (we'll temporarily forget that he's an NBA owner...). These are facts. I saw greatness. I don't care that he's 52-years-old. MJ is the best and if you disagree with me you're wrong. 

The poll also found that, "NBA fans hold a near-unanimous opinion that Jordan is the greatest player of all time over LeBron, 77/14."

As some of you may know, the Women's World Cup starts in less than a month, and as US Soccer did for the men's team last year, they released the "One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories." series for the women's team recently.

If you didn't know already, I am a huge soccer fan, especially when it comes to cheering on my country. So obviously, I watched all 23 stories the minute they were released, and I can't believe I'm going to say this [because it's basically blasphemy for me to talk bad about US Soccer] but I was kind of dissappointed. Not that they were bad... they just weren't all that exciting. It felt like most of the  players talked about having older brothers [or siblings in general] who made them really competitive growing up. That's cool and all, but after watching a dozen or so people talk about that, it was kind of boring and repetitive and they started running together in my brain. A few that stood out, though, were Sydney Leroux getting a terrible flaming soccerball tattoo when she was 14 after a bet with her mom, finding out Tobin Heath is basically a vagabond, Heather O'Reilly and teammates recreating her epic game face and Meghan Klingenberg doing a nunchuck routine to NSYNC in her elementary school talent show. Then yesterday, Deb sent me the outtakes and behind the scenes video. 

This one I really enjoyed, and if you read the comments on Youtube, I'm not the only one. The consensus seems to be that this one shows way more of the players' personalities and was a lot more fun. I got to see that Christen Press has two awesome dogs and one of them is named Khaleesi [can we be best friends now?]. So yeah, I know that the series is called "One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories." but when most of those stories are similar, I lose a little interest. So let's get more of the terrible tattoo and elementary school talent show-type stories. Way more fun.

And guess what! We at Old Hat, make these sorts of fun "Get to Know" videos that showcase student athletes. While these videos can be some of the more tedious projects I work on, going through and picking out the best bits to trim down to a quickly consumable video, they're also a lot of fun for me to do. I frequently find myself giggling when going through the footage of student athletes showing off their hidden talents, favorite karaoke songs or doing an impression of a coach or teammate. These questions allow your fans to see a lot more of their favorite player's personality than just asking about what their life was like growing up. I actually find myself cheering for these student althetes of rival universities when it comes to March Madness or whatever competition they're in because I feel like I've gotten to know them. So you know your fans will definitely want to come out and support a team they feel they know and not just because they wear your logo while balling out.

It seems like a very simple question: What's one thing you've been wanting to try? For normal people that's a pretty simple question. You can apply it and rephrase it however you like: What's one place you've always wanted to vacation? What's one room you'd like renovated in your house? Name one entertainer you'd love to see live. Name your favorite dinosaur. For the record: Band of Brothers tour in Europe, kitchen reno, Dolly Parton, and Velociraptor. Did we just become best friends?

For designers and other people in the creative sphere oftentimes the hardest question to answer is: What's one thing you've been wanting to try? 

I get it. You want something original and cutting edge. You want to be the FIRST to do something big. You want to go VIRAL. Plus you think you want to give us the freedom to create whatever we want.

I can't fault you there. It's an innocent question, but it's also the worst question or direction we can receive when there's no other direction. It's probably my least favorite sentence to see in job notes. Don't get me wrong, I have ideas and Pinterest boards of cool things and new trends, but there are so many factors that come into play when you're creating. From a video perspective they can include: budget, deadline, school, sport, type of project (video: intro, commercial, historical, etc), length of video, time of year, number of cooks in your kitchen with differing opinions, featuring all athletes or just seniors or just top performers, featuring tradition, featuring brand new team, featuring new coach, coming off a great season, coming off a bad season, coming off a violation season, old fan base, young fan base, hitting or avoiding hot button topics on campus or the nation, celebrating an anniversary, celebrating an upcoming milestone...the list goes on and on.

So you can see the challenge of having the perfect cutting edge idea for the various combinations of factors. Not every cool new trend works with every factor of a project.

"What's something you've always been wanting to try for a 1:00 basketball intro?" Eek. And that's all of the information I'm getting. I mean if it was MY video and I was playing it for MY friends, and I'M the one paying for it well then I'd have the best ideas! 

I'd love to flip the traditional intro on its head. Maybe 30 seconds of something more artsy and dramatic (that does not include prepping for a game) that you don't see in an sports Intro and the last 15-30 seconds could have the traditional pump up sports things. Maybe they're just two different videos. Who knows? My video.

I'd love to go old school with some Aretha or James Brown era music.


I would love to film in a really unique location.

How crazy would it be to include Sia's dancer Maddie Ziegler in this video? Yeah. Pretty crazy, but it's MY video! (I haven't made my mind up in regards to Shia LeBeouf's dancing)

The point is, MY tastes are pretty eclectic and eccentric. I have all sorts of out-of-the-box ideas that I've been wanting to try, but they're not necessarily appropriate for YOUR specific fans, YOUR specific coach, YOUR specific team, this :45 video that's supposed to pump people up, etc. Giving designers direction doesn't inhibit creative work. Our job is all about collaboration. You give us some of the nuts and bolts of your team, your community. You tell us some of what makes your team unique and we figure out the creative awesome big way to make that obvious to the masses. 

Collaboration. Awesome.

This past week has been pretty exciting! Last Monday, our client, Duke, won the Men's Basketball National Championship. On Saturday, our client, Providence College, won the Men's Hockey National Championship and our client, OU, won the Men's Gymnastics National Championship! Not a bad few days! I was fortunate to work with Duke on a lot of their regular and post season Men's Basketball print and video pieces. Additionally, I worked with Providence on their Men's Hockey intro video this year. Dustin went over to OU and did a photo shoot for the Men's Gymnastics team this fall for them to use in their marketing efforts throughout the season. Seems like if you want to win a National Championship, maybe you should consider letting Old Hat help with some of your marketing pieces ;) 

You can check out some of the work for these champion clients here:

Providence Men's Hockey Intro Video:

Duke Men's Basketball Season Ticket Book (click thru to video the entire publication):

Men's Basketball Poster, Schedule Card and Magnet:

Duke National Champions Newspaper Ad:

 OU Men's Gymnastics Photo Shoot:


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