Thursday, July 26, 2007

It’s Time To Pony Up!

By Monica Contreras, Director of Marketing & Promotions

As many have seen, we have been slowly rolling out the fall campaign during the month of July. We have done a very soft launch with posters, schedule cards and the football kick-off luncheon invite. Don’t worry - this isn’t all you will see of this campaign!

Why a Pony and a drawn arrow? No SMU lettering? The marketing department has worked very closely with the Richards Group to come up with a unique campaign that taps into the excitement of the upcoming season. We wanted something that is proactive, something that will create a buzz and get everyone on board from the players to the faculty and students, the alumni and community. That’s what we believe we’ve found in “Pony Up!” It says we are headed in the right direction – it says we’ve stepped up our game – it says we are committed to making 2007-2008 a great season!

The best is yet to come with this campaign. We will incorporate “Pony Up” into all of our TV, radio, internet and outdoor campaigns. You will come to see it on t-shirts, ball caps, stickers, signage and anywhere that we can post it. You will see street teams building the excitement across Dallas handing out merchandise to new, existing and future fans! Come mid-August you will notice a big blast throughout the Dallas area and I'll bet it keeps you talking and spreading the word - whatever your opinion may be.

Interested in wearing some Pony Up gear? We will have it available soon on Wear it and keep the buzz going!

Go Mustangs!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It’s déjà vu all over again…

by Richard Sweet, Associate A.D./Marketing & Public Relations

Eight months ago I was writing a blog entry for “Nuts about Southwest” announcing my plans to leave a life-long passion (Southwest) for another life-long passion (SMU Athletics). I sit here today trying to write the same post, but this time reversing the passions.

I’m headed back to Southwest. As they call it, I’m “boomeranging.” From a career standpoint, they made me an offer I couldn’t turn down. Southwest is truly the best company in the world to work for and the airline business is in my blood. Call me a masochist, I left when oil was $60 a barrel and I’m returning at $74. And who knows – it may be even higher when I start back August 6th! (My last day at SMU will be August 3rd.)

This move is equally as emotional as the day I left Southwest. I have made great friends in the Athletic Department, friends that have done remarkable things in the past year to get this program headed in the right direction - the top 25 direction. Working with Steve Orsini has been great. He is relentless and will not stop until we reach and exceed our goals. He has put together an incredible staff and I plan to help them as much as I can in a marketing advisory capacity (now they get me for free). I also get to be a Mustang fan - something that is difficult when the games become the job.

Being able to work at SMU has helped fill a void… a need to help this program from a brand standpoint. One of my regrets is not being able to actually be here when the upcoming ad campaign is running in full stride. I tried, but my friends at Southwest wanted me back sooner. I couldn’t afford to pass up this invitation to go back. The good news is that the campaign is in very capable hands (we shot two television spots last week). Monica Contreras gets it… she has a great marketing mind. Brad Sutton gets it… you all have seen some pretty good feature articles and reports done recently and that didn’t happen by accident. Both Monica’s and Brad’s staffs have done a great job formulating their plans and now are ready to execute those plans.

The table has been set, the foundation has been laid and I’m glad Steve gave me the opportunity to lead it. I believe the convergence of winning and branding will put SMU in the position we, as fans, have hungered for for years.

Now it’s time for me to go “pony up” and renew my season tickets. I think I’ll buy an extra one - it’s going to be a good year. Beat Tech!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Social Networking Websites? Hazing? This Is NCAA Compliance?

by Jeff Konya, Associate A.D. for Compliance & Student Services

This blog entry attempts to successfully mix the rush scenes in Animal House with the “dorky dance internet camera scene” from one of the American Pie movies.
I have the good fortune of formally leading a social networking discussion at next week’s annual NAACC meetings in Austin, Texas, in and among my peers in this profession. I am by no means a technical expert in Facebook or Myspace specifics, but I have given a similar talk on several college campuses as to how to formulate an effective institutional policy on social networking given all of its pros and cons. In August, I will be talking about the issue of hazing with all SMU coaches and staff in preparation of the upcoming academic year. That discussion will focus on the psychological underpinnings for why elements of hazing can be appealing to the group dynamic while at the same time having possible damaging effects to its individual participants. It is interesting that in today’s world, websites like can gain momentum focusing on what images and words athletes/coaches/staff freely post on their respective social networking websites and at times, they showcase obvious hazing incidents. In this way, the two topics are interconnected. So how does this connect to compliance and student services?

Simply put, there are NCAA rules that could come into play. For example, these sites can show impropriety during the recruiting process of a prospect. There was a recent case where boosters/fans posted or encouraged prospects to attend their respective institution and not to attend another rival school. Such active recruitment is restricted to institutional coaches who have passed an annual recruiting exam, and the institution whose boosters/fans engaged in this sort of activity were forced to self report the violation. Of course with hazing, not only could NCAA rules come into play but institutional, state and federal rules could as well, especially when these activities are combined with alcohol and underage drinking.

I am going to start working on my new movie script “Animal Pie,” no make that “American House.”

Last Download – “Hey You” by Pink Floyd