UCLA Athletics needed a unified brand image to address the array of challenges faced by a top tier athletics program. It needed to drive ticket sales for key revenue-generating sports, and also operate as an effective recruitment tool in the highly competitive PAC12. It needed a brand that bolstered fundraising and encouraged corporate sponsorships. Simply put, it needed a brand as dynamic and powerful as its athletic legacy.
UCLA is home to arguably the most storied college athletics program in the world. More NCAA titles than any other university, the most basketball championships, and if UCLA was a country, it would rank 14th in the world for Olympic medal count. Expectations among internal and external audiences are extremely high. When Athletics Director Dan Guerrero engaged 160over90, the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion was preparing to open after a two-year closure. There were recent coaching changes for both men’s basketball and football with the arrivals of Steve Alford and Jim Mora. Basketball shared the market with attendance beasts the Lakers and the Clippers, while football was largely in the shadow of powerhouse USC and faced with filling the 92,000-seat Rose Bowl.
160over90 was first tasked with promoting the opening of the new Pauley Pavilion. A venue with an unrivaled legacy and history in NCAA basketball, we created a spot that captured the excitement of the event and reminded viewers that this venue and legacy belongs to every citizen of Los Angeles. This was followed up with the “Blue Bloods” campaign proclaiming “Legacy isn’t inherited. It’s earned.” For football, we publicized a major culture change by touting the “Bruin Revolution.” Plastered across the region, the production value rivaled global athletic brands and professional sports teams. From broadcast to digital to impossible-to-ignore outdoor along the main arteries of the city. The brand permeated every facet of the fan experience, including custom ticket pages and uniquely crafted ephemera, as well as oversized stadium graphics and runs-of-show.
The Pauley spot received over 800,000 views in the first week. Even with a two-year gap, meaning half the students had no tie to the Pauley tradition, it completely sold out for the season. Student attendance was at its highest since the last championship season. Following the launch of the football and basketball campaigns, UCLA had one of its strongest recruiting classes in history. Basketball recruiting secured the nation’s most sought after talent, including current NBA players Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson. Mora’s recruiting ESPN class ranking was up 10 spaces and ticket sales were up nearly 25% from the previous year.