It’s next to impossible to miss a hype video released by UGA before a big game. They are posted, shared, and re-shared thousands of times by students, alumni, and faithful fans. The creator of the videos, Frank Martin (with Neil Peterson and Eric Black), is a senior student like me. He might as well be a part of the team for the way he stirs up the fans and players through his video production.
All bias for UGA football aside, I wish to explore why these videos are so effective at generating hype before games and inspiring viewers. A few elements are obvious: the professional footage, the elegant videography, the inspiring moments on film of players in practice and games of past seasons. The narration by Aneek James provides momentum for the videos as well, as his deep voice expresses the character of the team.
The most recent video, Autumn Fire, video begins with a montage of Athens in the early morning. It shows the football practice fields, street signs on Broad, and the new indoor training facility in construction. The audio of an interview with Kirby Smart, UGA’s new coach, sets the tone. Smart discusses the change of the team culture, harnessing talent, and the fresh outlook on the season. Then, a single leaf blows on the pavement. The morning imagery evokes the feeling of a new beginning.
The script lists a string of team values, accolades, and hopes for the season. It reads, “True storytelling is the story of life. And this is the telling of the most important story. Our story. Herein lie the values and teachings that we hold dear…the very things that drive us…that ignite our passions.” He sets the stage to unify an entire UGA community, the ‘Bulldog Nation’, not just football fans, appealing to pathos and school pride.
He continues, without yet referencing football or sports at all: “For us, education is no mere transaction…it is a source of pride…a chance for greatness…For us, commitment runs deep. Not just for our own personal desires….but most importantly, for those around us.” By now, the music rises and the story is far bigger than any single game. The Georgia Football brand is about stewarding education, dedication to each other, making a difference in the world, and more.
“Dedication and determination are in our veins. It only takes an instance of inspiration…one spark…to ignite a wildfire…to instigate change and growth in this world…Together we can be that change.” The Georgia Football story connects all of campus and perhaps the state because of its unifying mission. Frank’s website notes the purpose of the multi-video series this fall: “Autumn Fire will underline the ways in which football offers us an opportunity to unite—a platform that can transcend race, religion, and all avenues of discrimination. It will illustrate how our men on the field act as a representation of each one of us: a physical and hardworking team—one Bulldog Nation.”
I am eager to see the rest of the videos, as a fan and a marketer. Regardless of the team’s performance, these videos will forever mark my experience the past four years. Brands would do well to consider how Frank and his team have revolutionized a brand that has undergone leadership turnover, transitions, and underperformance in the past year.