Great Social Media Idea: Promoting a Rivalry Game

Every now and then I get a submission in my inbox that clarifies so distinctly that there are countless other people in this world that would be infinitely better at writing this blog than me.

A few weeks ago, Lindsay Lebresco from Lehigh University submitted such a post.

Read, enjoy, and think wistfully about what this blog could be if someone who knew what they were doing were in charge!  :)

(Also - apologies for the slow post schedule this week... girlfriend just got back from Hawaii and it was my mom's birthday... and I'm perpetually lazy.)

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Last month, Lehigh University & Lafayette College met, in Yankee Stadium, for the 150th playing of our football rivalry. This is actually the MOST played college football rivalry in the US. In University Communications (at Lehigh) we spent the better part of a year preparing for The Rivalry. We created a ton of content (a lot of videos!), promoted the historical game, increased engagement of the Lehigh community around the game and drove national awareness of Lehigh as an institution. We wanted to hit this from all angles so all mediums were tapped. Here are four of those (non-video) examples:

- College GameDay: We REEEAALLLY wanted ESPN College GameDay to come to Yankee Stadium and cover our game. We knew it was a long shot but we went for it anyway. Since the start of the football season, we engaged Lehigh alums who lived close to the schools where College GameDay would be shooting from and got them to wave the Lehigh flag. This was a real grassroots effort and we were able to wave the (large) Lehing flag at 13 consecutive games. Alas, College GameDay chose to cover Harvard-Yale instead of ours, but we got very close to being chosen. (Proof.) Here is the page we created to track our #GameDayforRivalry150 flag waving efforts.

- Rivalry in Peeps: Because the rivalry game was being played this year on neutral territory (only the 2nd time of 150 games!), we wanted to somehow bring the Lehigh Valley (where our schools are located) to New York. Our campus is just two miles from Just Born, Inc- the famous maker of Peeps! In order to pay homage to our PA roots while in NYC (and complete a fantasy project that I've always wanted to do!) we created a Peeps diorama depicting The Rivalry. Our students came through with some fabulous designs including a 3D printed version of Yankee Stadium's iconic facade. We thought the whole thing turned out pretty sweet (pun intended). Pics from our university Tumblr. And for another pun - people absolutely ATE IT UP. 


- Game Locker App: We wanted to incorporate some academic aspects of our universities into the promotion of the game, so we tapped a student group here at Lehigh to put together a game app. that pitted Lehigh against Lafayette in the digital world. The students did an amazing job (mostly between 10pm and 3am apparently) and it was a great collaboration between our computer engineers and design students with a great result. (Here's a university story about it.) 

- Mascot Monday: Building off an already existing hashtag in Twitter & sports, we created "Mascot Monday" in coordination with Lafayette College which followed our Mascots in their "training" for the big game in New York. For four weeks, every Monday at 3:00pm we launched into a #MascotMonday banter between our school Twitter accounts (@LehighU and @LafCol) bragging and/or making fun of each other and referencing the Mascot video that would be released that day. Honestly, the banter portion on Twitter fell pretty flat but the Mascot videos were played on the jumbotron at the game and were a huge hit with attendees. The Mascot videos are tucked in the Rivalry150 playlist here.

- Storify: We felt a useful way to currate all the content that was created and feature some of the great media hits we received was to create a storify pulling all of the pieces together. We only sent it out to internal audiences as a recap of the work that was done in University Communications around the game, but in general, it paints a good, overall picture of the year The Rivalry took over Lehigh and Lafayette.

Oh and small detail... we lost :( 

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Incredible, stuff, Lindsay... that Peeps idea is probably the greatest thing I've ever seen.

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your ideas and experiences executing this campaign. So much of what we do is more than just a collection of single posts... building momentum toward an event on social media can be extremely difficult, and this is a great example of how you can tackle it from multiple angles and in many creative ways.

Job very well done, Lehigh and Lafayette!

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