BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is launching its first branding campaign in collaboration with The Richards Group, the SEC's agency of record. "It Just Means More," a 60-second video, will air nationwide during SEC games, starting Thursday, Sept. 1, when the college football season kicks off.
"It's a common theme that the SEC is well known for athletic success but there is so much more to the story of our conference," said Greg Sankey, SEC Commissioner. "Through our work with the Richards Group we will show the other side of the SEC - one of history, legacy and an overall positive impact on our people, our communities, our state and our nation."
The new 60-second spot is the culmination of an 11-day road trip spent gathering shots throughout SEC Country, featuring old barns, old cemeteries and even older libraries. From a small town square in Savannah, GA, to a chartered fishing boat in Orange Beach, AL, the campaign highlights what it truly means to be part of the SEC.
The spot is the introduction of an integrated marketing campaign that will also feature print and radio advertising, in-stadium messaging and a social media strategy. While the 60-second spot will air in games involving SEC teams on most ESPN platforms and CBS the first weekend of the season, 30-second versions will air during some ESPN games that originate from neutral sites.
"Imagine telling the story of the mighty Southeastern Conference, the unquestioned king of college football, without ever mentioning or focusing on a single SEC football player or coach," said Bill Milkereit, brand creative and writer at The Richards Group. "We set out to break all the rules of conventional and formulaic conference advertising. We went to great lengths to dig deeper than the clichés and be supremely authentic with respect to SEC tradition, passion and culture."
Over 2,900 miles were traveled by van to capture the genuine stories of the SEC. Stories and iconic scenery from each of the 14 universities in the conference are represented in the new work. The famous Toomer's Corner at Auburn. The iconic barn off Georgia State Route 15. There are stories of Florida-alumni surgeons who are father and son, three generations of Alabama graduates, a newborn Vanderbilt fan and even a double-majoring graduate student at the University of South Carolina.
The story of the SEC is told through the parents of a world-renowned Arkansas athlete, the uniqueness of Big Blue Madness and iconic landmarks on the Missouri campus on graduation day. It is seen in the togetherness of a massive LSU student section and the comparable enthusiasm of a single listener to a dramatic Mississippi State radio call against the backdrop of the Mississippi River.
It is seen in the celebration of traditions like "Locking the Vaught" at Ole Miss, Reveille leading Texas A&M onto the field and the reverence paid to "Rocky Top" by an enthusiastic gathering of Tennessee followers. All of these stories tie together to support the belief that in the SEC, "It Just Means More."
To help tell the stories and guide the viewers through the SEC, actress Wynn Everett was identified from among more than a thousand applicants nationwide to be the on-screen ambassador for the campaign. Everett brings deep SEC ties to the role as a graduate of Auburn University and family connections at Vanderbilt, Georgia and Alabama. A native of Georgia who lives in Los Angeles, she has appeared in television and films such as "Charlie Wilson's War," HBO's "The Newsroom," "Lumen" for TNT, Showtime's "House of Lies," ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," "Mind Games" and most recently Marvel's "Agent Carter."