Announcing a new network is one thing, but getting the word out is another.
The ESPN-affiliated SEC Network launches on Aug. 14, the first day of the college football season. The network unveiled 14 school-specific ads, showcasing something special about each institution. Each of these 14 ads will run in the regional area of the schools, helping spread the word about the SEC Network while also requesting fans to bombard their cable or satellite provider to add the network to their channel guide.
All 14 are well-made and provide an insight to the school, but some are better than others.
Auburn’s is a nice continuous shot of the rolled trees around Toomer’s Corner after a home win but it’s set to a song from the musical “Oklahoma!” That ain’t SEC. Kentucky’s is a pregame hype video. Mississippi State’s is about baseball, and Vanderbilt is just Vanderbilt.
LSU’s Mike the Tiger ad, Arkansas’ “pig sooey” chant, Mizzou’s name-singing, Ole Miss’ tour of the Grove and South Carolina’s “Sandstorm” are honorable mentions that just missed the cut because they weren’t as good as the next four. And an extra honorable mention to Texas A&M because their dog mascot Reveille is cuter than your mascot.
The best four begin with Florida. An ad about Gatorade would be too easy, so the history of “the Chomp” clap will have to do.
Next, there’s Tennessee. This is a subtle, simple ad that only shows a new mother singing “Rocky Top” to her baby. SEC football fandom – and college football fandom in general – starts at birth, and this is the lone ad that depicts it.
Next, there’s Alabama. This is the most reflective, almost somber commercial. The voice of Bear Bryant is heard while the visuals are filled with people wearing houndstooth – the pattern synonymous with the coach. But mostly, kudos to the SEC Network for finding audio of Bryant talking that is understandable.
Finally, there’s Georgia. It’s simple, and historic. The commercial is simply a highlight of Herschel Walker ruining a few defensive players on Tennessee and the voice of the Tennessee player who lived to talk about it. It’s interesting that the SEC Network went with Georgia for its only player-based ad, but Walker is deserving of that designation.
Those are simply my favorites. But don’t take my word for it, go watch them all here and pick your own favorite.