28 Days of Story Ideas, #2: Super Bowl Commercials & College Ad Campaigns

The Super Bowl will be unleashed this evening in New Jersey. Forget the Oscars or NBC’s live musical stagings. This is the television event of the year, every year. Of course, some viewers will closely watch the game, while others will mainly be interested in the commercials.

Creative or quirky ads are a cherished part of the Super Bowl tradition. The best ones grab free media exposure for days and in a few cases years after the game wraps. Does your own school’s advertising garner anywhere near the same buzz?

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Building off the Super Bowl ad bonanza, take a close look at your college’s current advertising campaign. Profile the person or creative team in charge of the campaign’s creation. Provide details on the creation process, distribution methods and target audiences. And of course, follow the money. How much was spent on building and maintaining your school’s brand during the past calendar year? And what is your school doing in the digital media realm specifically? Any cool viral efforts? One example from Ohio State University below.

Then, play the critique game. What do current students, prospective students and alumni think of your school’s ads? What about professors teaching advertising, public relations and media courses?

In addition, collaborate with advertising students or a class. Have them create and pitch several mock ad campaigns for the college — including a new motto, logo, viral videos and print/TV ad premises — letting readers vote on a winner.

5For more ideas, check out 1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists, a quick-hit, unending, hopefully indispensable, fun, fun, fun digital story ideas fountain.

Also order a copy of my book Journalism of Ideas: Brainstorming, Developing, and Selling Stories in the Digital Age. Dubbed “the next new mandatory text for college journalists,” it features advice from hundreds of contributors, lots of digital storytelling tips, tons of story ideas and more than 300 games aimed at sparking you to come up with endless ideas of your own.

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