CALL ME MAVERICK
CLIENT: UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA OMAHA
WORK: BRAND DEVELOPMENT, CONTENT, CAMPAIGNS
A championship-ready campaign that elevated a brand to the national stage and doubled ticket sales.
The University of Nebraska, Omaha was moving towards a tipping point for some time. What was once a commuter school transformed into a vibrant campus community. When the school first engaged us to help them with their branding and communications, the motto within the Athletics department was simple: Championship-Ready. Those two words applied to everything, including the brand itself. This was a jump to the big leagues and everyone involved was acutely aware of the stakes.
A PIVOT IN STYLE
We chose to embrace the word ‘Maverick,’ to own it, celebrate it, and shout it from the rooftops. Visually, we dropped the red–that belongs to the Huskers–and moved to black as our primary color. For an aesthetic, we went gritty, urban, and edgy. Where Nebraska and Creighton can be conservative, staid, and cautious, we went the opposite direction: loose, free-wheeling, rough.
We uncovered several additional key nuggets from our brand immersion process and built those into our creative strategy.
We highlighted these characters in print, social media, in the season schedule posters, in our outdoor billboards, and in our national award-winning radio and TV spots.
• No bad seat in the house – Unlike many other fan experiences, when you go to a Mavericks game you’re close to the action.
• A vibrant fan culture, full of traditions – Hockey is the flagship revenue sport for UNO and the hockey fan base is full of colorful characters, including “The Red Army” with the frozen fish that gets thrown out onto the ice after the first Maverick goal, the and “mini zamboni” that zips around on the ice and scoops up the fish in a net.
An immersive brand experience
To transform this brand, to elevate its profile, and to achieve the kind of measurable success that we’ve had, we had to look at all of the brand touchpoints, every place the audience and brand intersect. This included the in-game experience, as we concepted, shot, and edited the intro tunnel walk videos for hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and men’s and women’s soccer. It included some of the fundamental design pieces like game tickets and schedule posters, as well as strategy and creative assets in support of social and earned media. It also included an engagement strategy to the internal university audience, the core fan base, and the general public. And, finally, it included developing creative assets across all media –TV, radio, print, outdoor, and digital.
The numbers tell the story
The campaign was transformative for the brand, cutting through the clutter and establishing a new visual and verbal language for the fan base. Together, we helped the university make the transition to D-I, open up a brand new arena with a Frozen Four banner hanging from the ceiling, and increase ticket revenues by 98% year-over-year, not only for its flagship hockey team but also for its men’s and women’s basketball programs.