To cure food allergies. For lasting peace. To explore the moon. To protect the innocent. For better cancer detection. For our veterans.
These are the things we fought for at Notre Dame this football season – the ‘What Would You Fight For?’ campaign’s 10th.
You’ve probably seen the spots. Every home football game at halftime Dan Hicks (and a few times this year, Mike Tirico) cues up two minutes highlighting a component of the academic mission of the University. And while this is aired to the millions of people watching at home, we’re not naive enough to think that everyone is glued to their television sets when there are bathroom breaks to take, halftime snacks to eat and an entire internet to peruse before the second half kicks off.
Enter: Social Media.
3721% out of the water.
That’s the percentage increase in views in the 2016 campaign over the 2014 campaign across social media (we saw a 190% increase over the 2015 campaign). We also saw a 1247% increase in organic reach on Facebook over the same time period.
While a lot of this can be attributed to the outstanding team of Notre Dame and NBC professionals who work tirelessly for most of the year to concept and produce the spots (and they have some great stories which they chronicled in Notre Dame Magazine a few years back), we’ve also spent four years – especially the last two with the advent of Strategic Content (the official name of those of us behind ND Stories) – building our social media brand as a robust outlet that rewards those who click on our content with visually compelling, well-written pieces.
The ‘Fighting For’ spots are compelling in themselves. They tell a story and always feature a resolution to a problem, but oftentimes you can’t tell the whole story in two-minutes. That’s where we upped our game this year. Each spot was accompanied by a long form written piece which went in-depth into what problems our professors, graduate students and alumni are attempting to solve in the world.
Because we had this extra piece of content this year, we approach social media with a two-pronged attack – on Friday, we published the video component on FightingFor.nd.edu, Facebook and Youtube and launched the piece on Twitter. This allowed people the chance to watch the video at their leisure even if they were heading to campus for the game on Saturday. Then, we published posts linking directly to the long form piece on fightingfor.nd.edu without mentioning that the piece was a Fighting For or had a video component on Monday. Some readers commented “I saw this on Saturday during the game” on the Monday post, but quite often those who commented on Monday came to the piece cold and learned about our research completely removed from a football or Fighting For context.
After 10 years, the question of whether or not a campaign has reached the end of its self-life is inevitably asked. I think this response to our 10-year Anniversary spot, which aired during the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech match up on November 19 show us that we should be Fighting For things for years to come: