To get fans pumped up for the upcoming football season, Texas Christian University is inviting its students to submit videos of themselves showing their Horned Frog purple pride. The "United for the Fight" submitted clips are augmented by partner tech platform Vivoom and turned into fully branded 21-second videos that can easily be shared through social media.
"Anytime we can invite the community via social media, we hope that all of that translates into the fans of the games being really involved and gives our student athletes the home field advantage we strive for," said TCU assistant athletic director Drew Martin.
Thanks to the growth in popularity of social media, more companies are relying on user-generated content (UGC) created on online platforms to market their products to younger folks. The tactic is especially effective in sports, where including passionate fans in campaigns can help build loyalty.
"Historically from a marketing standpoint, we're always trying to recreate these magical moments in sports, like people cheering in a bar or jumping off a couch with the chips and snacks flying in the air," said sports marketing agency Optimum Sports managing director Jeremy Carey. "It did feel a little bit artificial at times. Now, we're at a point where we can deliver on these moments with authenticity, and do it in a way that's real time, and people are accepting of it, almost in a nonedited format."
UGC isn't a new concept. In 2006, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay ran the Crash the Super Bowl contest, where fans could submit their own commercials. The most creative and popular ads were given free a 30-second spot during the Big Game. But, Carey points out that almost everyone from local leagues to major teams are adding fan social media content into their marketing—and if they aren't yet, they will be in the near future.
"There's two big themes driving [the popularity of UGC]: mobile and how do you break through on mobile," said Vivoom CEO and founder Katherine Hays. "And, content from friends breaks through."
Major League Baseball launched "MLB Wednesdays" on May 13, a way for Snapchat users to submit photos and videos of themselves at baseball games.