Citron Branching Out For Stanford

Tree Mascot Spoofs Academia To Lure Football Fans Out To Games
SAN FRANCISCO–The wacky side of college sports is reflected in a new campaign from Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ for Stanford University’s football team.
The Stanford Tree, the irreverent mascot of the school’s marching band, stars in the seven 30-second TV spots. The mascot–a redwood with droopy eyes and a silly grin–is a beloved fixture among Cardinal football fans, according to Tom Bedecarrƒ, agency chairman and a Stanford graduate.
“We thought the tree represents the fun of going to football games [at Stanford],” he said.
All of the spots begin with the name of a college course and then cut to the same patch of forest, where the Stanford Tree’s antics illustrate an idiom related to the subject. In one ad, “Drama 101,” a voiceover says that the “first rule of acting is never to overact.” A lumberjack is then shown chopping at the feet of the Stanford Tree, who goes into an elaborate dying sequence.
In another spot, “Physics 101,” the tree humorously proves Newton’s Third Law, that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” by colliding painfully with a real tree and falling to the ground. The narrator then touts the “hard-hitting fun of Stanford football.”
The spots also show still pictures of Stanford players and advertise the next home game on the schedule.
Working with a small budget, Citron copywriter Joel Barnard and art director Kevin Raich came up with the idea of spoofing academic courses. The production is intentionally amateurish to add to the humor.
The ads began airing in the Bay Area just before the team’s opening game on Labor Day weekend. The Palo Alto, Calif., university’s aggressive drive this year to bring more fans to the games also includes a wider range of ticket prices and a money-back guarantee for new season ticket holders, said Bob Carruesco, Stanford’s assistant athletic director.