University Runs its First Super Bowl Commercial

Superb[owl] Reception

MU First Superbowl Commercial

The Super Bowl is widely known as one of the most watched events on television. An article from The Hollywood Reporter reported that 113.7 million viewers tuned in for this year’s event, which was tied for the second-most-watched Super Bowl of all-time, creating an optimal opportunity for companies to advertise. Monmouth seized this opportunity for the first time ever.

The University decided to run a 30-second advertisement in the Philadelphia market on FOX 29 WTXF right before the second half. The advertisement, which has been run by the University on their ESPN3 broadcasts throughout the year, featured men’s basketball Head Coach King Rice.

The commercial started with a flashback to the team’s defeat to Iona in last year’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship Game, with Rice’s voice saying, “They say one single moment can mean everything. They’re right.”

Rice went on to say, “A moment can test limits, measure heart, and defy expectations. It can make your legs heavy, and your lungs burn. And how you respond to it will determine who you are, and who you become.”

Tara Peters, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications, stated that the goals of the commercial were to “create awareness, enhance reputation, and build pride for Monmouth University.”

Editors of The Outlook were generally positive with their feedback of the advertisement. One editor said, “I think that this commercial was a phenomenal use of the advertising/marketing resources. Any way to get the MU name out there.”

Peters mentioned that the advertisement directly impacted more than two million viewers and that was only enhanced through social media efforts. As of Feb. 7, the commercial reached more than 200,000 people on Facebook and had more than 74,000 impressions on Twitter.

According to Peters, the Philadelphia market was an ideal location to run the advertisement because the University was able to reach a target audience of students, alumni, and friends for a fraction of the cost of a national ad. Although she would not specifically outline the financial cost of the advertisement, an article published by the Rochester, NY - based newspaper, The Democrat and Chronicle, on Feb. 3 estimated a local advertisement to cost roughly $30,000.

“I think the Philly area was a perfect area to market in,” one editor said. “Most people who live in New Jersey already know about Monmouth - we are a local school and we are famously located ‘by the shore.’ Marketing in an area that is close enough for prospective students to feel comfortable, but also expanding to out-of-state students was a great choice for this marketing campaign.”

While most people have been positive about the attention the University has received with the commercial, some have been wondering why the commercial was strictly about the men’s basketball team. Facebook user Harvey Cottrell commented, “Is Monmouth University only a school for sports? An actual multi-million dollar ad is placed for the Super Bowl and not a single mention of academics. Wow! Guess those of us who are not athletes are not the ‘real’ Monmouth. Keep raising tuition.”

Peter’s cited the fact that they were dealing with a sports audience as well as the message of the commercial - our experiences and how we respond to them define who we are and who we become – can be applied “on the court, in the classroom, in the boardroom, and in life .”

“I think it was the right decision. The audience that watched the Super Bowl is clearly one filled with sports fans. If they had shown a Monmouth commercial advertising the college, it would not have been as impactful and may have been ignored considering the audience,” one editor said. “I think when you are marketing to people you always need to think about your audience and Monmouth made the right decision in focusing on the basketball team.”

The commercial also relates to Chris Hogan’s journey from lacrosse player at Penn State to playing one year of football at Monmouth and ultimately becoming a Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots. Peters also referenced Hogan’s involvement in the game, and as a product of the University’s football program, as another reason the school decided to air the commercial during the game.

One editor who feels that the commercial would have run regardless of Hogan’s involvement in the game said, “Super Bowl commercials hit a huge target audience. Even if people didn’t know that we had an alum playing in the Super Bowl and they were interested in our commercial, it would bring them to our Facebook or Twitter profiles to find out more.”

Another editor disagreed and said, “I honestly do not think they would have run it if he was not playing. However, the commercial did not have anything to do with football, so it is interesting to see that while we were marketing hardcore for this Super Bowl because of Hogan’s involvement, we did not market for his sport. I think Hogan’s involvement brought the idea of using the Super Bowl to market our University to the attention of marketing employees.”

Overall, The Outlook editors viewed the commercial as a positive as it got the University name out there to a large and diverse audience.

One editor said, “It was an awesome moment for Monmouth as it has never happened before. It is rare that small universities get national attention and it was a great way to get our name out there.”

“I think that if anyone has anything negative to say about the ad, they just don’t love Monmouth enough,” another editor said. “It shouldn’t matter who is featured in the commercial—it is about the future of our University. It may help that I am also a HUGE basketball fan, but this is what is selling our University right now. We have to use what we have and right now, this is our biggest claim to fame. I am extremely happy about that because I only want to see the best for our University.”

IMAGE TAKEN from Monmouth Basketball Commerical