Recently Old Hat completed a Sports180 for SMU. Some of you might be asking, "What is a Sports180"? Well, glad you asked! I'll give you a quick rundown.

The Sports180 Process is our proven, research-based process that gets to the heart of your unique position. Through this approach, we help you clarify objectives, analyze your playing field, and develop a winning strategy. Ok, so that sounds pretty fancy, what does it mean?

The Sports180 takes place in 3 phases.

Phase One

Phase One is the Workshop and Research phase. Phase One is a team effort: your team plus our team is where we learn and discover. This phase is how we uncover insights. There’s sharing involved for all of us, but we know you’re up for the challenge. Using quantitative and qualitative research, we dig into your department inside and out: its challenges, opportunities, target audiences, product focus, and compelling story. We will ask for data that you may already have, in addition to asking insightful questions to elicit honest, comprehensive, and solution-focused answers. 

Phase Two

Phase Two is the Findings and Recommendations phase. In Phase Two, we analyze the research and develop a playbook to achieve your objectives. This is how we diagnose and prescribe. This phase involves refining your leadership vision, identifying sales and marketing opportunities, aligning your target audiences with your brand differentiators, and assessing how you can win against your competitors. 

Phase Three

Phase Three is where a tangible direction is generated. In Phase Three, we execute our recommendations and begin to engage with your fans, alumni and donors. We will present a set of campaign platforms that demonstrate how you will connect with your key stakeholders. You will also receive comprehensive reports with our research findings and strategic recommendations plus a detailed brand launch marketing plan.

Phase Three is where I'm going to focus for this blog. Phase Three is where the creative direction takes place and where I spend most of my time. 

The Creative Platform

Above is the Schedule Poster and jumping off point for the creative we developed in response to SMU's 180. The imagery, fonts, colors and tone were all generated from feedback and discussion from the 180 process. The message of "Get Here for Gameday" was a specific call to action for fans and is carried out across the campaign platform. An example of this campaign in billboard-form below. 

We'll be releasing more pieces to this campaign as we approach football season. The campaign is already getting good feedback from the SMU community and fanbase and we're excited to see where it goes next!

Blog Assignment: Concepting client videos - what is your process.

Current Creative State of Mind:


I hit a creative block this week. It's one of the awesome realities you face when your job is to be creative. There's no rhyme or reason. In fact, the day before it struck I drove home feeling really good about the creative work I put in. 16 hours later IT'S GONE. To be honest, it's infuriating. What changed between today and yesterday?? No idea, but now everything is a struggle. Writing this blog is a struggle. FINDING THE PERFECT GIF IS A STRUGGLE.

Struggle struggle struggle.


I'm sure this kind of honesty isn't exactly what they had in mind when assigning me this blog topic, but I'm also pretty sure every single person who creates anything deals with this problem. It's a little paralyzing especially when most days it comes so easy. So you find yourself filling part your day with tasks that don't require a whole lot of thought, but provide very little satisfaction. The other part of the day you stare at a blank piece of paper. You write the same voice over lines over and over again thinking maybe if you write it one more time it will finally sound good in your head. You play the Intro music with the footage from the video shoot and read the VO lines in your head. You play Heart really loudly in your ear buds hoping Ann Wilson's voice will drown out the office din, but then get distracted by their version of "Stairway to Heaven." Maybe I do like that song? NO. I do not. Play "These Dreams" again.

Sooner or later everything leads to this:

The good news is this isn't a permanent condition. It's not the first time I've hit a creative wall and it won't be the last time. Thankfully, I have several boards on Pinterest to help drag me out of the creative void. THIS is typically where my creative concepting process begins. Looking at other people's creative work helps motivate that hamster in my head to get back on the wheel. It doesn't take much to get inspired. It could be a concept, a song, a design, writing, a camera angle, etc. I just have to put in the work to find it. 

Concepting isn't just on the creative person though. It helps when, for example, your client brings some ideas to the table. Simple lines like "Hail to the Orange" , "Texas Tough" or "Bring the Fight" actually help me conjur up several visuals like iconic campus settings, skylines, time lapses, groups of people and voice overs. From there I start researching ways to visually bring the lines to life. I ask a lot of internal questions: How have other people done it? Was it successful? How could we do it better? Could this work in a sports setting?

I spend a lot of time gathering pictures, videos, and music examples for a poor man's storyboard. And I might even write a rough voice over. There are several other things specific to each client, sport and team that have to be taken into account when concepting and I discussed all of that in length here.

If there's time and I have the assets I'll create a rough video edit to see how everything works together. Once I think I'm onto something I like to run it by another video creative person like a Dustin. Finally, if we're all on board then I'll hand it on over to the Geppetto's downstairs who will make the concept come to life. 

It's all pretty magical once you get past the creative block. I guess if you really think about it the block is a necessary part of the creative process. And there's my Doogie Howser, M.D blog conclusion.

Repeat after us: video is your friend.

You already know that video lets you reach your fans in a way that’s exciting and memorable. But did you know that video play on smartphones and tablets has grown 116% every year since 2011? Current statistics show that about 70% of Americans watch short-form videos daily on their smartphone, with the youngest group of viewers (your current and future students) watching twice as many videos on mobile as any other group.

And it’s not like people are just out there watching cat videos (well, some are… but you can’t help those people, so don’t even try). In the sports world, we naturally have the kind of content that people of all ages want to watch. According to YouTube data, a whole lot of people are watching sports-related videos before, during, and after sports events. As in: 57% of YouTube sports viewers said they watch related video content before a sports event and 60% say YouTube is one of the first places they go after major sports events or news.

What are they watching? A fair amount of it is how-to, demo, and product videos - but not all of it.

They’re also watching insider content they can’t get anywhere else, game highlights and replays, and videos that help them connect to their favorite teams and players in unique ways. You just happen to have about a gazillion micro-moments that fit this description, so why not make good use of them?

If you want to get fans excited about coming to your games or make them feel like they’re missing out if they aren’t there in person, it’s time to develop a deliberate video strategy. Identify your goals, do some research and ask your fans what makes them tick, and make a plan to consistently capture and share videos that scratch that itch. For some of it, you’ll want professional quality shooting and production (by the way, we do that really well). For other parts of your video plan, you’ll want to take a more casual, as-it-happens approach. And it’s not a bad idea to consider building in opportunities for fans and players to submit their own videos as part of a deliberate collection and sharing effort.

Video is one of the most powerful and shareable tactics in your marketing playbook. So use it. We can help.

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