UCLA Ads Boast New Coach

LOS ANGELES A Tennessee missed field goal in overtime, leading to UCLA’s season-opening win Monday, puts some backing behind the school’s swagger in a recent pro bono campaign by independent RPA.

The print ads, running in the The Los Angeles Times, show new coach Rick Neuheisel strutting on the sidelines, finger pointed commandingly, with the headline “The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over.”

The ad references the recent dominance of cross-town rival University of Southern California in the schools’ annual football contest and the resurgence of interest surrounding the UCLA team since Neuheisel joined.

“The main reason for the ad was to get fans excited about the upcoming football season, Coach Neuheisel, and the persona he brings back to UCLA,” said Bill Bayne, acd and copywriter. Bayne said the team took its cue from Neuheisel’s first press conference, where he’d referenced making the USC game “a rivalry again.”

Bayne said the appearance of the ads in the run up to UCLA’s debut Monday inspired a couple of media articles, including a piece on ESPN.com, and even parody ads by USC fans (the meaning of Neuheisel’s gesture apparently meaning, “The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over there.”)

But that sort of bulletin-board material is also part of the campaign’s suppositions, said Nathan Crow, acd, art. “The fact is that it is accomplishing what is was supposed to: Bringing UCLA into the dialog.”

Bayne and Crow worked under creative directors Pat Mendelson and Joe Baratelli and ecd David Smith.