ESPN is going interactive with a new promotional campaign for its Saturday morning pre-game football show “College GameDay Built by the Home Depot.”
The new campaign, which launches today, features show’s cast—Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Chris Fowler—preparing for the show in humorous vignettes. At the end of each spot, viewers are asked whether or not there’s some truth to what they’ve seen.
For example, in one spot, the GameDay crew is seen working out—Mr. Corso is shown using an old-fashioned vibrating belt machine. The spot then asks viewers how well they know “GameDay” and whether or not the guys work out together on the road.
Viewers are directed to CollegeGameDay.com where they can vote true or false, and watch a pre-recorded message from one of the “GameDay” announcers telling them whether they guessed right or wrong.
“Our fans can’t get enough of our guys, and so the campaign is designed to take people behind the scenes, bring to life the traditions of the show and leverage the relationship between the guys in other moments that fans don’t get to see,” said Gil Beverly, director of college sports marketing at ESPN.
“Gameday” is coming off record ratings last season. It average a 1.7 rating and 1.57 million viewers, up from a 1.6 rating and 1.44 million viewers in 2005.
ESPN has long programmed multiple channels and platforms, but the interactive promotion for “GameDay” is new this season.
“With the power of the Internet, we’re able to deliver more content, on demand, through a channel that viewers use regularly,” Mr. Beverly said. “The end result is a stronger relationship between the viewers and one of ESPN’s top brands. At least that’s our hope.”
ESPN will be releasing two new “Gameday” spots every couple of weeks during the season both on air and online. The spots will air on all ESPN channels.
In addition to the spots, “GameDay” is also supported by topical spots that promote which college the show will be broadcasting from and highlight an upcoming feature on a player or coach. Those topical spots will include a harder tune-in push.
Another part of the “GameDay” campaign will be entirely online. ESPN will be sending a crew on the road with “GameDay” to shoot behind the scenes footage involving the cast and the fans.
“On the Bus With College GameDay” will deliver what the experience is like on the road with the ‘GameDay crew’, Mr. Beverly said.
Mr. Beverly said the cast’s chemistery together is key to the campaign’s success.
“When we shot the campaign, it had been the first time they’d seen each other in months and just the genuine affection and happiness to be around each other was obvious,” he said.
He added that the guys have impeccable comedic timing and provide great ideas for the marketing people to work with.
“Some of the best moments of the campaign were ad-libbed,” Mr. Beverly said. “They provide us with good feedback in terms of what works and what doesn’t work, and it’s particularly important with this iteration of the campaign because everything is steeped in what really happens behind the scenes and we relied heavily on them to explain aspects of what goes on to us.”
[Via TV Week]