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!


Blogger George said...

First of all, I can't believe that the Richards Group was actually involved in creating that advertising campaign. I sincerely hope they did the work pro bono as that is, without a doubt, the worst advertising campaign I have ever seen. I just cannot fathom how your department and the so-called professionals at the Richards Group came up with such a juvenile effort. Please don’t try to justify the ad -- it looks so amateur that it will only serve to further the notion in the community that SMU has a rinky-dink football program -- that is assuming, of course, that they can even figure out what the ad means.

When we were a formidable football program, we were the SMU Mustangs. We were identified with a wild horse, a fast car, and formidable opponent on the field. Now we are the Ponies and our new ad campaign encourages this notion. “Pony up” is an expression derived from England, where a Pony is ₤25 and the term means put in more money, and later derived to mean ‘try harder’, or ‘give more’. So where is this campaign targeted? Do the Alumni of SMU not already contribute substantial funds to the school and its athletic program? Or is the ad a slight against the football program, saying they aren’t trying hard enough? Or does it attack the fans because it’s clearly on the schedule card? Let’s drop the softball team name “Ponies,” get back to being Mustangs and promote the football program and its players. Next time leave the misguided attempts at being "creative" for your spare time.

As an alumni I am extremely disappointed with the campaign -- you have failed SMU in your duties as marketing director.

Here's more feedback for you:

1:12 PM  
Blogger perunapower said...

Those are pretty harsh words, george, for a guy who hasn't even see the whole campaign yet. You've seen more of a teaser.

I believe the campaign means the athletics department and university is going to try harder to reach the days past when we were formidable and they are going to give more to reach this goal. The line "pony up" will be also loosely defined as if the Mustangs are headed in the right direction (e.g. up in respectability, relevance, and popularity).

I'd give the campaign more than one look at a teaser slogan and let the TV spots, radio ads, and billboards add to this slogan before you bash it and call it a "misguided attempt at being 'creative'".

Regardless of how great of a marketing scheme it is, it gets people to realize that there is still a football team at SMU and it will get people talking about the program and the university. I applaud the marketing team for getting the university and its athletic programs out into the spotlight for the DFW metroplex to see and hopefully become interested in once again. That is something that has not happened with SMU in a very long time.

Go Mustangs! Go SMU! Pony Up!

4:45 PM  
Blogger DavidSMU94 said...

Thanks so much for doing everything you can to take the air of this campaign. Seriously, the motto is only the beginning of these things, and just because you think you are really clever and can come up with something else, you try and torpedo this? Sit down, shut your mouth and give this a chance. No wonder this program is so hard to turn around.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

So, George, how many season tickets can we put you down for?
Seriously, a Pony is any horse under 14.2 hands, therefore any Mustang under 14.2 hands is technically a Pony. Since many of today's Mustangs are small, then they are also...Ponies. Also, the word Mustang is a derivative of the Spanish word Mesteno, meaning 'stray or feral' Would you rather be referred to as feral or tough, and resilient like, say, a Polo Pony...

11:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

This is downright a bad campaign.

Pull out now.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Quite honestly, this ad campaign could consist of just about anything and its effort and creativity would still far exceed what we've seen out of the athletic department over the past decade. It's been at least 3-4 years since I've seen a billboard or heard an advertisement for SMU sports.

It's people like George that are keeping this program down...the snobby alums that are never willing to show up for a game but are more than happy to bash SMU at every opportunity. From all that I've read, the new "PONY UP" campaign looks like it has a chance to be Mustang Mania II, which would be very good for both the SMU community and the Dallas area.

Quit pointing your finger and people you think are failures, and focus on yourself (and ALL of the SMU community) over the past 25 years when it comes to football and basketball.

Pony Up, buy some season tickets, and jump on the bandwagon early.


7:24 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Personally I love this campaign! I've been seeing the "pony up" image popping up all around Dallas and can verify that it's creating quite a buzz. It has more than piqued my interest and I am truly looking forward to seeing more from Ms. Contreras and her team. I believe this campaign has the potential to breath new life into SMU athletics, and let's be honest, it's been long overdue for some invigoration...

8:11 AM  
Blogger SMUer said...


I think your critique is pretty spot-on. When I first saw the "Pony Up" banners in Uptown, I interpreted them as saying "SMU That Way *arrow*" and spent some time reflecting how the heck one could get to SMU from the road I was on. Then a kind friend explained to me that the Mustang logo was really meant to be a pony so that the sign should read "Pony Up". But what does that mean? Pay up. Pay up? What kind of/how creative is an ad campaign is "pay us money"? And what do ponies have to do with SMU at all besides the fact that they wanted to have a Shetland pony ("pony" lit. means "young fowl") on the football field instead of a full grown feral horse? We got our name because it looked like a stampede when he practiced on our dirt fields and because Mustangs where powerful and native to Texas. "Ponies" sounds like it should be the name of a middle school football team ("I know you're a big boy honey, when you're older, you can be a SMU Mustang like your brother"). "Pony Up!" is only witty to people who think it's creative/saving face to cheer "our maid went to TCU". Additionally, it is a fallacy to believe that just because someone doesn't climb on a advertising bandwagon, that they are somehow embody the poverty of a team's fans or signify that don't care about the team. I've found in my life that the people who point out inadequacies and push for more excellence are often represent the opposite. Socrates was a gadfly because he loved Greece so much.

6:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home