It is no secret that the Kentucky Wildcats football program has been on the rise ever since the arrival of Mark Stoops. There are many reasons for this, ranging from an elite staff to relentless recruiting. However, there is one thing that trumps all else, and that is the renewed backing of the football program from the athletic department. This is something that has been lacking for many years, causing the program to struggle in keeping up with the rest of the nation. The one thing that is allowing us to do this now is marketing. Kentucky’s marketing plan for football has skyrocketed their stock, causing recruits to notice. Check out Mrs. Tyler Thompson’s view on the marketing, where she lists it as one of six reason Kentucky football is becoming cool.
Every successful venture has a good marketing plan. Last year, Stoops and company got fans so excited about turning the program around that 50,000+ showed up to the Spring Game, the sixth highest spring game attendance in the country. A lot of that excitement came from last minute recruiting coups, such as Jason Hatcher and Ryan Timmons, but some of it had to do with some really impressive marketing. In the hashtag world we live in, nothing spreads faster than a slogan. Last year, it was “A Nation Awakes.” A difficult first season made it clear how much work still needed to be done, so the staff switched the message to “Why Not” to attract elite recruits. Why not come build a program at Kentucky? Why not come play early in the best football conference in the league? Now, they’ve added “Change the Game” to symbolize Stoops’ second year and the transition that needs to happen from offseason preparation to on-the-field success, something that the coaches and players continually discussed during spring practice. And don’t forget “Yahtzee,” the staff’s code word for a commitment. Before Stoops, most UK football commitments happened with little or no fanfare. Now it’s cause for a BBN Twitter party.
UK has also gotten better at spreading their message. All of the coaches actively use their Twitter accounts, and they’ve added “UK Stoops Troops,” a dedicated Twitter account and website to further spread the word. UK is also buying regional ad space in popular magazines and television markets. Remember the Super Bowl ads? As Don Draper once said, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” With really fancy, glossy graphics.
With these new slogans and catch phrases to accompany the relentless recruiting tactics implemented by Mark Stoops and staff, there is no doubt that results on the field will follow suit, sooner rather than later. Of course, if wins start coming and this train keeps rolling, then watch out. There might very well be no stopping the new look Kentucky Wildcats, marketing and all.