UT creates ads to highlight student-athletes in MAC

October 21, 2011 | Features, UToday
By Nicolette Jett



The commercial begins with the Mid-American Conference logo and the words “Just another day in the life of a student-athlete.” You might expect a college athletics commercial to focus on the game, but these spots show students studying in the library and testing their medical knowledge in a simulation laboratory.

The University of Toledo Office of Marketing was asked to develop these public service announcements to promote athletes in the Mid-American Conference. They are students first and athletes second, said Bob Gennarelli, senior associate commissioner and chief operating officer for the conference.

This image is from the points of pride 30-second spot UT created for the Mid-American Conference.

“The label of student-athlete holds true in the Mid-American Conference,” he said. “The purpose for these spots is to stress that academics are held in the highest regard throughout the conference.”

To highlight the student-athlete, the UT marketing team created a 15-second ad featuring a student-athlete in the library with images of him on the football field imposed over books. Another 15-second spot highlights a basketball player as she practices medical studies in a simulation lab with images of her on the court on the monitor. Both were filmed on UT’s Health Science Campus in the Mulford Library and Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

The concept of a 30-second public service announcement is points of pride, looking through the eyes of a fan who is building his model conference on a digital board with qualities such as sportsmanship and proud tradition.

The UT team developed the ideas and partnered with the staff at WGTE Public Media in Toledo to film and produce the three spots.

“The commercials were designed to show off the great qualities of the MAC,” said Esther Fabian, UT associate vice president for branding and creative services. “The spots promote the brand of the MAC through the student-athletes, with a focus on the academics that also combines the excitement of the game.”

Fabian and her team developed points of pride to represent a MAC fan transported to a virtual environment where he can choose the positive qualities of college athletics he would root for on a Saturday afternoon. The PSA was filmed using a green screen in the WGTE studio.

“The Marketing Office has helped us in the past, and if they were willing to work with us again on another set of PSAs, we were more than willing to let them,” Gennarelli said. “The UT group is a great team with great ideas. This year they proved that again.”

The spots were prepared as part of the ESPN network package for the annual number of announcements allotted to each conference.

The Mid-American Conference is made up of 14 schools from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Watch the UT-created commercials for the MAC here.