Creative: Imaginary Forces, initial brand framework; Radley Studios, program packaging
Campaign Led By: Lydia Murphy-Stephans, EVP & GM, Pac-12 Networks; David Aufhauser, VP & GM, Pac-12 Digital; Greg Neal, consultant and former SVP, Marketing, Pac-12 Enterprises; Ted Ishler, On-Air Promo Manager, Pac-12 Networks; David Rickles, Designer, On-Air Promos, Pac-12 Enterprises
Target Audience: Pac-12 fans, from current students to alumni of all ages
Objective: To tap into Pac-12 schools’ iconic geographic imagery, to leverage the league’s status as the Conference of Champions and to give voice to those who matter most: the fans.
Steps Taken: For a logo, Pac-12’s new network co-opted the sleek, shield shape designed by Imaginary Forces for the Pac-12 Conference in 2011. But the network still needed, according to Greg Neal, consultant and former SVP of marketing for Pac-12 Enterprises, “a massive amount of visual branding” to tie together six regional channels, one national channel and a digital channel. Utilizing stunning geographic imagery unique to the Pac-12’s regions of Southern California, the Bay Area, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, Utah and Colorado as its backdrop, Pac-12 Networks grounded its forefront in the West Coast’s “pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Neal, as well as the idea that the Pac-12 is the Conference of Champions. To that end, the networks’ look is bold and fluid, emulating the power and confidence of a conference with more NCAA championships than any other.
Emphasizing the ties between its target community of alumni, parents and other rabid college sports fanatics, Imaginary Forces created a graphic design scheme for Pac-12 dominated by connecting lines and points of light. Meanwhile, Pac-12 has literally added fans’ voices to the branding by accepting fan-made films, and showing them as promos. “For us, it’s all about that connection,” Neal said. “If you think about Silicon Valley – You-Tube was created at Stanford, a Pac-12 school – it’s all about user-generated content. It’s very on-brand for us to utilize that concept.”
Lessons Learned: Branding contributors Radley Studios and Imaginary Forces each had Pac-12 alumni on staff, elevating their dedication to the project. “When we’re looking for outside vendors, if there’s a connection there, that’s a really smart way to choose creative partners,” said Neal.