ATLANTA Western Kentucky University will have more fans at its football games this year than in previous years thanks to an ad campaign by The Liberty Group, the university said.
"It's been nothing short of phenomenal," said Wood Selig, WKU's athletic director. "I can't walk around Bowling Green [Ky.] without dozens of people coming up and raving about the radio and TV spots and about how the whole campaign is eye- and ear-catching."
Selig said the sale of season tickets to the games is up 15 percent over last year.
The ads feature football players talking about the sport while scenes from previous games are shown. The ads carry the tag, "This is Western Kentucky football," and are airing on local cable channels and the ABC affiliate.
The campaign includes print ads in newspapers within a 50-mile radius of the Bowling Green campus and 21 billboards in the area.
The Liberty Group, an independent shop in Bowling Green, contracted with Zeh Arndt Creative in St. Petersburg, Fla., to produce the television spot. High-Fiber Design of Tampa, Fla., created the print work. WKU performs media buying internally.
"It has been a joint effort," said Tim Earnhart, president of Liberty.
Liberty got the account this year after working with the university's women's basketball program for the past two years. The shop produced material that the head coach uses when visiting potential recruits.
WKU gave the shop a $50,000 budget for the football work, but Earnhard said he solicited donations from two area businesses to push the amount to $80,000. He expects the budget to increase next year.
"We certainly got our money's worth," Selig said. "I think we've shocked some people with the campaign's professionalism. Many people didn't think we could accomplish this level of quality with the budget we had."
Liberty will produce a similar campaign for the men's and women's basketball programs later this year, Earnhart said.