When Under Armour partners with collegiate programs, its more than a logo on a jersey. We are about making athletes better through training, performing, and recovering. With Coach Sanders going into his second year at Jackson State University we wanted to support not only him, but more importantly the players who made sacrifices to help level the playing field in collegiate football. There is a shift in Historically Black Colleges and Universities with top recruits, de-committing from power five schools, to HBCU’s like JSU.
To help elevate JSU’s rising football program, we knew that JSU was the perfect school to be the first HBCU school ever featured on Campus Blitz. Campus Blitz is a social video series that is a cultural exploration of a team both on and off the field leading into a big game. Campus Blitz is our way of shifting the lens away from commercially driven content and focusing strictly on the athlete’s personal journey through football, through his eyes only.
Our goal was simple, showcase all the great things of HBCU football. We knew we needed to pull the curtain back and share the HBCU game day experience overall. Football is football, but the HBCU community and experience is one of a kind. The band, the food, the support…everything just hits differently. The performance gear Under Armour provides is just the tip of the iceberg; we are creating visibility for underserved communities and driving inspiring narratives.
Our strategy was to elevate the football program by 1) Showcasing the sacrifices players made to level the playing field 2) How JSU is doing more with less 3) Highlighting how playing at an HBCU is different in a positive way.
Most brands would have covered JSU’s homecoming, but we felt that was expected. Therefore, we selected the last game of the season vs. Alcorn State – JSU’s arch rival. This allowed us to show that fans, alumni and friends care about HBCU football outside of homecoming and so should America.
Over the course of four days at JSU we filmed Name, Image and Likeness deals featuring Warren Newmann, Camron Silmon-Craig and Shedeur Sanders. We focused on the student-athlete experience beyond the expected with Sheduer Sanders. We also wanted our audience to feel that that they were a part of the moment by posting content within 4 days of filming, instead of holding the content for BHM. In total there were 30+ stories, a picture carousel and 4x videos.
These videos showed the pride of JSU. Through the eyes of Warren, Camron and Sheduer we were able to see 1) the raw emotion and love for JSU 2) how the HBCU community is different at JSU 3) the sacrifices players made to change the narrative and level the playing field.
JSU – We Believe
Campus Blitz – JSU was the highest performing school for the 2021 Campus Blitz football season. Overall, the JSU Campus Blitz series achieved:
20k new followers
10M consumers reached
12.1 %Engagement rate, +195% over benchmark
Avg. View rate was 20+% over benchmark
From the first video posted, to the final video (4th) the VR increased every video, with the final video having a 23% VR – 42% over benchmark, further proving out the success of the content series and consumers continually being engaged.
Beyond contract deals, all three athletes reshared and posted all videos, commenting and liking UA’s post. These videos were a success beyond the numbers. This content also allowed two media students from JSU to intern and shadow the UA crew – inclusive of filming a game – learning about social media content capture, best practices
Overall, the results exceeded our expectations. Our goal was to create visibility, but we did not expect the outward support on the ground and on social media to be as prominent as it was. We were thanked over and over by members of the football staff, athletes, and fans alike. There was a true appreciation for Under Armour being on the ground and how impactful it was to a community who isn’t often publicly recognized. We received a lot of direct messaging showing support and engagement. Even HBCU’s reaching out to be featured next season.