Updated: Feb 14
For 2020’s Super Bowl LIV (54), The University of Texas at Tyler produced a one-minute commercial that will air during the Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers game. Food Editor Taryn Sullivan investigates.
The commercial is a celebration of UT Tyler’s Division II athletics that features our newly assembled Patriot Drumline behind an action sequence, with a lot of great shots of our athletic teams, along with factoids popping up on the screen that mention the school’s achievements.
“One of the messages that is really important is that when people think about a university and its quality and brand, people think about its athletics,” said Lucas Roebuck, Chief Communications Officer and Vice President of Marketing at UT Tyler. “It’s a huge investment for the University that says we are doing scholarships for students, we are trying to up our game, because higher education and athletics are very close together in the United States and is a very important part of university branding.”
Super Bowl commercials are famous for being extremely costly, but because of a fixed marketing budget for the purpose of brand building, a commercial was possible.
Roebuck broke down the price of a regional Super Bowl commercial, claiming that it’s roughly the same cost of a billboard. The average cost of a billboard can be between $800 to $1,200 a month, depending on the traffic, so the commercial cost is roughly about $10,000, according to Roebuck.
Because it’s a regional commercial, only East Texas will be able to view it. There are national commercials that air across the country (or majority of the country), and then regional commercials that local television stations sell at least two blocks for. The commercial will air during one of the two blocks.
“Clearly, a national buy for a commercial would not be an appropriate use of our resources,” Roebuck said.
There are two possible times the commercial will air, as it is guaranteed to run “between the whistles,” Roebuck said. After the game starts or before the game is over.
Though UT Tyler lacks a football team, Roebuck provided justification for airing a commercial during the largest football game of the year.
“You advertise where the eyeballs are. The Super Bowl obviously has a huge place in the zeitgeist of American culture,” Roebuck explained.
Companies sometimes spend their entire advertising budget on a national Super Bowl buy.
“People talk about the Super Bowl commercials, but there isn’t much talk about regular commercials in casual conversations, as streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ have taken over, therefore the Super Bowl is still the best venue for airtime,” Roebuck explained.
Roebuck discussed how things were 20-30 years ago, with “water-cooler talk” and how coworkers would all stand around the water cooler discussing what each of them saw on TV the night prior.
“So the Super Bowl really is all that’s left of that era. It’s the one thing that the majority of America will watch and in that regard, it becomes very empowerful.”
Having a commercial during the biggest game of the year also gives our University significance, value and an overall better brand. UT Tyler wants people to know, particularly sports fans, that we have D2 athletics.
“One of the obvious things we do is we need to attract students to come to our university, but there’s also this point of brand-building and saying we want the community at-large to think positively of the university for a lot of reasons, one of them is because people are more likely to get money,” Roebuck added. “We actually do want more people from the community to come to our Division II games and the other part of it too is that generally speaking, the more valuable the UT Tyler brand, then the more valuable it is when you go and apply to get a job.”
With quarterback Patrick Mahomes from Whitehouse,Texas in this year’s Super Bowl, local interest will definitely pay off.
“We bought the ad before we knew KC was in, but ends up paying off for us really well because there is more local interest in the Super Bowl,” Roebuck said.
With all the local attention, many more people will see the commercial this year compared to how many would at a normal Super Bowl.
“You might not be able to remember the Super Bowl last year, but I bet next year at this time I’ll be able to say ‘Oh yeah, Kansas City was in the Super Bowl’ and hopefully the Chiefs win,” Roebuck noted.
Roebuck expressed his happiness with the commercial.
“It certainly features our great athletes and the new drumline we’re excited about as well. We think D2 athletics is very important and we’re investing in it because, even for non-athletes, it promotes engagement, and engagement increases graduation rates. It makes people better, well-rounded students and strong athletic programs really lift the whole campus.”
Lastly, Roebeck added, “Go Chiefs and go Patriots!”