Early on, college athletic departments bought into social media as a tool for recruiting. Their target? High schoolers who grew up in this digital age and are good at blocking out the noise. This began the quest for digital and creative talent within athletic departments. And, the quest turned into an arm’s race for talent so programs could create content that actually captures attention.
Today, college football sets the tone for innovation in our industry. Every year programs consistently step up their game. Every season is another season full of inspiration. 2018 was no exception.
One area that particularly stands out in college athletics is video content. Whether programs tap into the emotional bond fans have with the school or push the envelope of what it means to create for the platforms, good video content is an area where college football tends to shine. Below are four schools that stood out this season and a little insight into why:
Ohio State – Design That Brings The Fire
Ohio State has an incredible design team and they use their talent to create stunning motion graphics for gamedays and big moments. Not only is their visual identity distinct and innovative, but their use of motion is always different and eye-catching.
Video content doesn’t always mean a hype reel, game footage or talking heads. Video content can also be used for more branded plays and milestone moments, even without a lot of b-roll. And, Ohio State is a great source of inspiration when it comes to raising the bar on how design can be leveraged to create video content. Below are a few executions that stood out this season:
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Clemson – Content That Feels More Personal
Clemson has been dominating the video game for quite a while now. They are no doubt one of the crown jewels in the content space and they continued to prove why in 2018.
While they do a lot of things well, one thing that stood out is how personal they make their video content feel. Their digital team appears to have an amazing relationship with players and coaches and it shows in the work. The footage they get often has a more intimate, first-hand perspective.
The Clemson vlog is definitely the star of the show. The weekly series brings fans up close and personal with the team. It’s often a one-stop shop for understanding what’s going on week after week. The vlog serves up a mix of highlights, strong b-roll and player and coach interviews.
The interviews and angles filmed are what makes the vlog so unique. Players and coaches can often be seen taking over the camera. The angles from the b-roll footage makes fans feel like they’re right in the middle of the action. It’s a bit raw and not at all overproduced, but that’s why it works. It brings fans into that moment in an intimate way. Below are a few examples from the vlog this season:
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Part of our job as digital marketers is to get fans as close to the team and brand as possible. Clemson’s raw and personal approach to video is a great source of inspiration for how to get there.
South Carolina – Next-Level Production & Swagger
There wasn’t a team that brought more creativity and swagger to their video production this year than South Carolina. Each week their team produced high-quality content that was engaging and worth stopping in your feed for.
The consistent commitment to producing quality work is something that truly stood out. Watching from afar it seemed like their team took the “less is more” approach. This allowed them to push the envelope of their creativity and execute well. And when you consistently produce at a high-level week after week, fans are more willing to give you their attention (it’s a trust thing).
It’s too hard to pick on series that the Gamecocks did well because it was all so good. Here’s a snippet of their work from the season, ranging from uniform unveils to pure hype and the emotional connection of their brand:
In a season that was probably a little disappointing for their fans, their video content still performed. Why? Because their team was committed to bringing the next-level production and swagger every time they shared a piece. Consistency and a commitment to doing the best work goes a long way in getting tune-in week after week.
Georgia- Weekly Trailer Fueled By Emotion
The video team at UGA is full of masterful storytellers and cinematographers. Each week they produce a trailer that chronicles the team in a fashion that is much more than the scores. The series taps into the journey, the emotion and the fanbase that helps carry the team along the way.
The video team at UGA seems to take pride in the details. The music choice, the imagery, the script and the way the story builds week after week always delivers chills. Below are a few examples:
It’s our job to evoke the emotion our fans feel for the team in the content we produce. And, that requires going beyond the scores. If teams can show what it takes to get from here to there the result is a powerful story that goes beyond the scores. It allows teams to approach both the highs and the lows and show the emotion that goes into a season.
The UGA videos don’t focus on the scores. They focus on the brand, the team’s value and what makes UGA so special. When emotion is tied to content (like this from UGA), fans are more likely to stop, care and share. That’s a win, right?
The reality is that strong video work is hard to create. In a sea of sameness, it’s not easy to stand out above the noise. Good video works requires focus and a strong point-of-view like the examples above. Whether you want to leverage design more to create engaging videos or infuse more emotion week by week, hopefully, these four programs offer up some inspiration.
What other college football programs stand out to you from a video perspective? I would love to hear your thoughts!