Photo courtesy of the Association for Campus Entertainment.
In the past two years, UNCW’s Basketball program has grown in prominence and recognition, not only on our campus, but on the college basketball scene as a whole. As a former Spirit Chair for the Association for Campus Entertainment, I was beyond excited when the Men’s team started winning. One of the best ways to garner school spirit on a college campus is to give students something to root for. Events intended to boost that school spirit, like Midnite Madness and ACE’s Fan Jam, are not new to UNCW’s campus, but appear to be getting some new—and well deserved—recognition.
Some decked-out fans at Fan Jam. Photo courtesy of ACE.
This past Friday, ACE worked with the Residence Hall Association, Athletics Department, Campus Dining, and more to organize the event known as Fan Jam. The purpose of Fan Jam is to get UNCW fans excited about the upcoming basketball season, while rewarding them with free games, shirts, and food. It is a way to thank fans for supporting UNCW’s sports teams. In the past, this event occurred after Midnite Madness and ran late into the night. However, this year Maddie Driggers, the current Spirit Chair for ACE, moved the event to 8 p.m., meaning it would take place before Midnite Madness. As with all her events, Maddie was tasked with discovering fun and engaging marketing techniques to inform students about the event and its new time.
Basketball cookies made by Campus Dining. Photo courtesy of ACE.
Aside from creating a flyer and posting the event details on social media, Maddie and her committee members tabled around campus. At their table, students could win Midnite Madness t-shirts by making a basket in a child-sized basketball hoop. This technique proved effective because curiosity drew a lot of people to the table. Additionally, the students were more engaged with the information because they were getting a reward. The Athletics Department also provided glowing foam sticks with “Seahawks” written on them. This giveaway helped market the event because they were conversation starters and looked amazing in photos.
The glowing rods in action at Midnite Madness. Photo from UNCW Athletics’s Facebook.
The foam rods can also be used a sporting events throughout the year and the photos can be used for promotional purposes for upcoming games. On the Tuesday before Midnite Madness, the Athletics Department hosted a Teal Tuesday event where they gave away more t-shirts and free food. They held other events during the week, like an ice cream social. At each of these events, Sammy was present to take photos with students and encourage them to participate.
Sammy at Fan Jam with students. Photo courtesy of the Association for Campus Entertainment.
Overall, the key marketing strategies used by ACE and the Athletics Department for these events were face-to-face interaction with their key public (the students) and freebies. Both groups were also consistent in their marketing in the week leading up to the big day, maximizing the amount of students who learned about the events. In the end, Fan Jam had an estimated 500 students attend the event, the majority of whom went to Midnite Madness directly after making the day quite the success.
By: Katie Solinski