Bearkat YouTube Hit Promotes Piney Woods Contest For Students
Sept. 21, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May
|Filming for the Bearkat version of the hit song "Call Me Maybe" took place earlier this month to promote the Battle of the Piney Woods taking place on Oct. 6. The YouTube video was released this week, and the positive response has exceeded all expectations, according to those involved with its production. — Photo by Brian Blalock|
A new YouTube video featuring the best of “Bearkat spirit” has captured the attention — and delight — of a large cross-section of individuals connected to Sam Houston State University.
The video, a takeoff on Carly Rae Jespen’s hit song “Call Me Maybe,” with lip syncing by high-profile SHSU participants, had almost 25,000 views on YouTube and more than 200 shares, likes and comments on the university’s Facebook page three days after it was launched.
The video was created to promote the upcoming Battle of the Piney Woods and the first “Bearkat Fanatic Spirit Contest,” sponsored by the Division of Student Services, in which students submit photos showing their Bearkat Spirit along with a caption.
Fourteen SHSU students selected as winners will be able to view the Battle of the Piney Woods at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Oct. 6 from a luxury box provided by Student Services.
The students will win a package that includes a parking pass, seating in a luxury box, food and non-alcoholic beverages, a Barnes & Noble’s University Bookstore discount coupon for an SHSU logo apparel item, and a 2012 Battle of the Piney Woods T-shirt.
Vice President for Student Services Frank Parker came up with the idea to promote awareness of the traditional football game between Sam Houston State University and long-time rival Stephen F. Austin State University by offering the luxury box as a way to encourage students to go to the game.
“The Battle of the Piney Woods is a long-standing tradition, and the game at Reliant Stadium has been so well received,” Parker said. “I thought it would be great to give some of our students the opportunity to have a special memory of this event by giving them VIP treatment.”
Parker said after coming up with the idea, he turned it over to his staff who had voiced their thoughts that a contest would make the selection more exciting and meaningful.
Parker’s assistant, Debbie Nichols, had seen the “Call Me Maybe” version by the Big Ten mascots (which has also been done by a number of other sports-related groups) and thought it might be a fun thing for Student Services to coordinate for more interest in the contest.
“In order to encourage spirit amongst our students, we had to portray the university’s spirit as well,” she said.
Nichols, along with Associate Director of Student Activities Brandon Cooper, brainstormed ideas and went to work to facilitate the production of the video, which was filmed and put together by Bearkat alumnus Patric Sleightholm.
Nichols used the opportunity to tap into her “inner theatrical director from a previous life,” she said. Before coming to Texas Nichols, a native Canadian, worked for a telephone company in the province of Alberta.
“Each year we went on a 10-day tour around the province where we performed plays for the children of employees,” she said. “I was the stage manager, so for the SHSU production, I knew that it would take constant encouragement behind the scenes, reminding people to smile big, look into the camera, and be expressive.”
She said she also used marketing strategies to promote the video and contest that she learned in the sports management class she took at SHSU this summer, taught by Brent Estes.
The first group to be filmed was the football team. Instead of taking a holiday on Labor Day, Nichols, Cooper and Sleightholm worked with the team to come up with their segment.
“We started with the football team, since the point of the video is to promote their game,” she said. “I told them, ‘Be cheesy, cheeky and fun.’”
Nichols and Cooper worked the following week on coordinating the schedules of the groups who would be filmed, including, among others, the Orange Pride dance team, the Bearkat Marching Band, University Police Department, ROTC, and last but not least, the President’s Cabinet.
“Everyone was great,” Nichols said. “We had no script, and just kind of made it up as we went along.”
Since it was the first time that anything like this had been done on campus, Nichols said they weren’t sure how it would go over.
“Those who were in the video were very brave,” she said. And patient, she added, since it took several takes for the desired results.
But the response has been “phenomenal,” she said.
“We’ve received so many wonderful comments from faculty, staff, students and alumni, and everyone we’ve heard from has really enjoyed seeing this side of Sam Houston State University,” Nichols said.
Information about the Bearkat Fanatic Spirit Contest can be found on the Student Services Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/402524629801785/, and the promotional video can be found on YouTube.
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