For over a month now, the Vikings football team has been running television and print advertisements, trying to get Portlanders enthusiastic about Portland State football. There are four fifteen-second spots that run back-to-back on many of the major networks. The commercials show the football team in uniform in different parts of Portland. They range from Viking players riding the Max to running up Broadway in formation.
“We wanted to convey the fact that we are Portland’s team,” Brent Wilder said, the associate athletic director for external relations and the man in charge of this ad campaign.
Many Portlanders go to Eugene or Corvallis to see a football game instead of PGE Park to watch the Vikings. To change this, Wilder wanted to get ads that would show citizens of Portland that they already have their own team right here in the city.
Portland State worked with the advertising company Sockeye Creative to develop the campaign theme and commercials. Sockeye is a local group based in Portland and contracts with companies like Adidas, Hollywood Video and the Portland Visitors Association.
Wilder knew the company had already done ads for other athletic teams so he was eager to see what they could do for Portland State.
“It was an opportunity for them to work with a partner in an industry they thoroughly enjoy,” he said.
Sockeye productions shot the spots in two days. With almost a hundred players on the Vikings football team not everyone could be in the commercials. The first day they used members of the offense and the second day some of the defensive players had an opportunity to play a role in the commercials.
To film the ads they used hand held digital cameras and part of the footage was later used for print ads that are now running in local papers like the Oregonian and the Portland Tribune.
In order to pay for the commercials, Portland State began a valuable media relationship with Comcast Cable. Instead of paying them to run the ads, Portland State gave Comcast advertising opportunities in return for five hundred spots on the air.
Portland State has a field sign located in PGE Park they have allowed Comcast to use and also has given them radio spots on the air to sponsor their company.
Wilder said, “We don’t have a large ad budget so we have to do trade.”
Even with the Comcast deal, Portland State still had to pay Sockeye for their services. Wilder says that he took what his department usually spends for print advertising and used it for this.
“It’s as close to a pro-bono account as you can possibly have.”
With five hundred spots to fill, the ads will keep running on many of the major networks. The athletic department also plans on doing some advertising for men and women’s basketball starting in December and going into February.