Unless students are too distracted by all the fresh faces and caramel-colored eye candy — still bronze from their summer tans — it’s hard to miss the signs and banners that are part of Temple’s newest marketing campaign, which made its debut at the beginning of move-in week.
They’re all around Main Campus: in front of the Bell Tower, in the TECH Center and in the Student Center. They are spotted inside the Temple shuttle bus stop and across the wall that leads students to Anderson Hall.
They’re the giant Temple Made banners of Temple students, with each face painted in the school’s colors. These blown-up, bodiless faces are seen with different expressions like a growl, a shout or a hoot. Alternating streaks of cherry and white are layered across one girl’s face as she bares her teeth. Another student roars, while donning two “Temple T’s” on either side of his cheek — big, bad and screaming.
Temple football has made its re-entry into the Big East Conference, and the university wants the country to know. Temple aired its first Temple Made commercial on ESPN3 during Temple’s season opener against Villanova on Aug. 31.
Nicole Naumoff, assistant vice president of advancement communications, said this first wave of the campaign, “Temple Made Game Face,” is “in specific support for athletics and our entry into the Big East…which is a really important step for the university.”
In between Polett and Liacouras walks, on the side of Barton Hall, is the face of Julian Hamer, vice president of services of Temple Student Government. With Hamer’s face hidden by a crimson owl masquerade, the banner urges students to pick up their tickets online.
“It’s an exciting change to Temple,” Hamer said.
Even though Hamer was chosen to participate in this project she was still surprised to see her face on Barton.
“Someone called me at 8 a.m. and they told me to walk on [Polett] Walk. And I had no idea what they were saying. I don’t have class until [11 a.m.] so I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ But going there and seeing my face, I literally had to stop and say, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I really didn’t expect it,” Hamer said.
But the marketing platform of Temple Made goes beyond just athletics.
“The campaign is a much broader campaign than that,” Naumoff said. “[It’s] primarily to…garner participation and excitement and pride in the university.”
Walking down Polett Walk, another banner reads: “Self Made. Philly Made. Temple Made.” The university’s Twitter account shared that slogan late last month.
“It got the best response [of any Temple tweet] other than an athletics tweet,” Naumoff said. “[The ‘Self Made. Philly Made. Temple Made.’ slogan] seems to be the one that people are retweeting the most, talking about the most. If I look online at the Instagrams, if I go through the photos, I see a lot of [that banner], I see a lot of the T-shirts [with that slogan].”
The concept behind the slogan is that Temple Made students and graduates possess street credibility, toughness and experience associated with a large urban city like Philadelphia. That idea is coupled with the self-made work ethic of American individualism that someone’s own hard work will lead to success.
The intertwining ideas seem to be an appealing dynamic. This fusion of self-starter and street-savvy that Temple is trying to tie to its brand is resonating with students.
“It makes me really proud to be a student here at Temple,” Scott Anderson, a sophomore criminal justice major, said. “I mean, I’ve already bought pretty much every T-shirt in the bookstore, just ‘cause I wanna be able to wear Temple and show my pride every day of the week.”
But for others who don’t live on campus, there can be a stark difference in school pride.
“I haven’t heard that much about it to tell you the truth,” Comfort Queh, a junior psychology major, said. “I don’t live on campus so I don’t know that much, I just come to school, and then just leave.”
The excitement hasn’t taken off in all segments of the student body, but Temple is hoping to generate more buzz and bridge the enthusiasm gap with its new bottom-up marketing strategy.
The university wants to break away from the traditional top-down ways in which schools market themselves.
Instead, with Temple Made, they’re looking to crowdsource its marketing ideas, which means getting information and input from students and the Temple community, then decide on a marketing strategy.
“You make a call out to folks to participate and rather than [push] out what you’re doing, you kind of pull in and you develop from what you can pull in,” Naumoff said.
Talking about the future of the campaign, Naumoff said with a hint of excitement in her voice – though she couldn’t “get into too many details” – that they are working on a Temple Made launch event to be held at the end of the month on Main Campus.
“If you’re in and around town…if you happen to go on the subway, if you happen to go to City Hall, there will be ‘game faces’ everywhere throughout September,” Naumoff said. “I mean everywhere.”
Michael Chau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.