by Tom Luicci
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 4, 2014) – Rutgers has already called for its first blitz on the Big Ten.
Twenty-two billboards throughout the state, placed strategically to appeal to local residents, are currently trumpeting the school’s upcoming membership in the Big Ten. Another 15 will sprout up on July 1 – the day Rutgers officially joins the Big Ten.
Jeremy Davis, Rutgers’ Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, says the statewide billboard campaign is the “most ambitious” attempt the school has made to raise its athletic profile this way.
“The goal is to unify the state, to get everyone behind Rutgers,” said Davis, who developed the billboard concepts along with athletic department graphic designer Andrew Kulihin. “When you travel through Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, places like that, they’re all into their college sports. Even though we’re in a pro market we can get that here.
“We’re trying to build the brand, build the pride, build the loyalty to Rutgers.”
More than half of the current billboards are full-sized and almost all of the 22 feature players from the county the signage is in. The billboards read “Jersey B1G” or “RUTGERS IS B1G.”
In addition, the school has a billboard presence in minor league and independent baseball stadiums throughout New Jersey, as well as in New York and Pennsylvania.
“We’ve tried to use our dollars strategically instead of just using the biggest impression (i.e. just the New Jersey Turnpike),” Davis said.
On July 1, an additional 15 full-sized billboards will proclaim “RUTGERS IS B1G.” Seven of those will be located from Exit 13A to Exit 18W on the Turnpike.
The Department of University Communications and Marketing is doing its part as well with an extensive advertising campaign that includes ads on 246 NJ Transit buses, 64 train station screens, 34 digital screens at Newark Liberty International Airport, 13 billboards across New Jersey, and a billboard on 42nd Street in New York City.
Davis and his department are encouraging Rutgers fans to post pictures of the Block R wherever they see it, either to the Rutgers Athletics Facebook page, on Instagram or on Twitter.
“Even if you’re on vacation, wherever you may be, and you see the Block R, send us a picture,” he said.