ORLANDO, Fla. — For the fourth time in the last five years, Southeastern Oklahoma State University Athletics was honored by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators, winning two awards in its annual “Best of the Best” competition. The prizes were announced at the annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention June 5-12 at Marriott’s World Center Resort in Orlando.
The “Bank of Mom & Dad” radio campaign took home the gold, marking the third year in a row Southeastern has won in the Radio Commercial category. The “Bolt the Savage Storm Mascot Naming Contest” took silver in the Interactive/Social Media Promtional category.
“We’ve got a great marketing team and most of it doesn’t work directly for SE Athletics which is a testament to the great team atmosphere here at Southeastern,” said Luke Willman. “It is an honor to work alongside great talents like Jason Hicks and Dan Hoke. They are both experts in their respective fields and Southeastern is very lucky to have them. Adding Blake Allen and Chris Roussell to the marketing team this year really put us over the top in several areas, especially the historic mascot launch, and allowed me to take on more responsibility with new projects. And, of course, President Larry Minks and AD Keith Baxter put us in the position to have success and I am very grateful for the opportunities they have provided professionally.”
With the goal of raising awareness about SE Atheltics’ unique free-admission policy for SE students, faculty and staff, the “Bank of Mom & Dad” uses humor to position home events as a top entertainment destination. The campaign aired on the campus radio station after market research conducted on campus revealed the majority (58 percent) of the student body was unaware that their university ID gained them entrance into home, regular-season athletic events at no cost. Every other public institution of higher education has an athletic fee or student ticket.
Southeastern’s Mascot Naming Contest kicked off when the Savage Storm mascot concept was revealed to a capacity crowd in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union Sept. 5, 2013. During a two-week name submission period, 96 unique suggestions were submitted by more than 475 fans. The majority of submissions came from current students (40 percent) followed by faculty or staff (23 percent), alumni (22 percent) and those that identified themselves as community (15 percent). Submissions came from 33 area codes with Southeastern’s home Bryan County (62.6 percent) and neighboring Grayson County (14.2 percent) leading the way.
President Larry Minks’ Mascot Naming Team — comprised of students, alumni, faculty, staff, tribal partners, fans and community members — then narrowed that list to four finalists. Bolt was the name selected by Southeastern students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members in a 10-day online vote. The promotion finished with 4,636 votes, which works out to an average of 452 votes per 24 hours. Southeastern’s current enrollment is around 3,000 students. Bolt finished with an overwhelming majority at 60.55 percent followed by a late-charging Sulli (23.51 percent). Stormy (11.24 percent) and Lightning (4.70 percent) finished a distant third and fourth.
“I look forward to working with Austin Harman, Drew Harbin and Cody Wood in Network Operations again,” Willman said. “We had an idea to engage fans of all ages with an online submission and vote during the process of launching the new Savage Storm mascot and the Network Ops team made that dream a reality. To have hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members participate daily in the naming of Bolt was a testament to the entire team’s hard work on the launch. It is nice to see them all recognized at a national level as well. The entire Mascot Task Force should be very proud.”
Initiated in 2003, the NACMA Awards program honors outstanding achievement in marketing and promotions. Awards are presented in 13 categories, with each category divided into three groups based upon school size and conference affiliations. Entries were judged by NACMA Past Presidents, NACMA Conference Reps or a panel of industry experts in nine of the thirteen categories.
“This year I was able to attend the NACDA & Affiliates convention including the NACMA Awards Reception and see the quality of the winners first hand,” said Athletic Director Keith Baxter. “Luke and his team are producing some of the best marketing materials in the country at any level of collegiate athletics.”
An association record of more than 1,000 awards entries were received for the 2013-14 year. The 13 NACMA award categories are Interactive/Social Media Program, New Revenue-Generating Idea, Promotional T-Shirt Design, Promotional/Schedule Poster, Radio Commercial, Sales Piece, Season Ticket Sales Campaign, Single Newspaper Display Ad, Single-Day Attendance Promotion, Sponsorship Program, Student Promotion, Video Board Segment and Video Promotion.
SE Athletics has been honored by NACMA four of the last five years with a total of seven awards. The Pack the Pit Payoff won the first-ever NACMA ‘Best Of Award’ at the 2009-10 national convention in the Student Promotion category. In 2011-12 SE Athletics was nominated for a total of five out of the 13 awards, named a finalist for four and won three. The winning entries for SE External Athletic Operations were “GoSoutheastern Tackles Murphy’s Law” taking Gold for Best Radio Commercial, “GoSoutheastern Caption Contest” taking Silver for Interactive/Social Media Promotion, and ‘One More TIme’ taking Silver for the Promotional T-Shirt Design People’s Choice award. Last year, “GoSoutheastern at the Races” won Bronze in the Radio Commercial.