CLIENT: University of Tampa's Party in the Park Concert Series
Problem: Campus awareness of the annual “big concert” event series was reaching an all-time low, and a low turnout could mean less funding for next years show
Solution: Fashion a slick new identity that resonates with the campus populace, and execute a campaign utilizing the platforms they interact with most; social media, promotional emails, and on-campus printed advertising.
Three Years, Three Concerts, One SH*TTY Logo
For 3 years I served on the planning committee for Party in the Park, and there was not a year that passed that something didn't go wrong. B.o.B in 2010 damaged the historic Plant Park to a point that we were almost disbarred from using it entirely. Lupe Fiasco in 2011 didn't show up until 30 minutes after he was supposed to be on stage, and as soon as he came on, the power got cut. It was rough. But no year was more difficult than 2013.
Fun, an indie group we originally had lined up to play the show, won a Grammy months before the concert date and demanded a pay increase we couldn't afford, and so we had to scramble to find a replacement. We landed on headliners 3OH!3, a rap/electronic duo from Boulder Colorado, much to the disappointment of the student body. People weren't happy, but it was the best we could do; we managed. But the day before our OUTDOOR set was slated to set up, it started to rain, and all of a sudden "Party in the Park" became "Party in the Gym". It was a shitshow. Flyers were rushed to the printer, every piece of the stage was quickly transferred to the gym. It was crazy, and also a considerable flop; only 650 people packed the gym that night, in contrast to the thousands that had attended previous shows.
Our 2014 budget was already locked in. We knew we had one shot to get the next show right. To do so, my marketing team and I undertook the task of rebranding the event and breathing new life into our social media presence. And boy, was it a rollercoaster.
The old logotype was so bad. SO bad. it was designed by the school's newspaper editor in 2007, and it was blocky and weird and not even worthy of taking up space for a comparison shot here. The new mark had to be better, and also should reflect the school's aesthetic / the awesomeness of having a literal party in a literal park.
I centered the new design (left) around a defining feature of the park, the visually stimulating "Sticks of Fire". It was paramount for this design element to be instantly recognizable for this endeavor to be fruitful. To complement the logo, I established a rule mandating that a distinctive hand-drawn logotype accompany the mark. While re-establishing the overall brand was a primary goal, an added focus on the big name artist would be quintessential to getting the groundswell we needed.
Previous years had plans. They were alright plans. But 2014's plans were do-or-die. Social media, print media, school communications, paid media, guerilla marketing (my team donning red body paint, running around campus yelling relevant details). All these details were planned out and refined to a T by my team months in advance of the show. The concert committee was working hard to make sure the show went off without a hitch, and so we took it upon ourselves to turn the marketing up to 11.
The Final Product
This concert was so fun. If you've ever seen a concert, then you know the joys it brings. But nothing beats planning and executing one; 4500 students (all who had to follow complex instructions to receive tickets) packed into the tiny park to experience the show we had planned. The drummer from Matt & Kim twerked while crowd-surfing. We threw out 3 giant beach balls. There was confetti and laughter and dancing abound, and it was perfect. Prior to the show I was able to secure a press pass from the talent agency, and got some really cool shots of the whole thing (below).
Images Copyright © 2017. Joshua Jacobs. All rights reserved.
By all counts, the concert was a huge success. The brand was a huge success. There have been 3 concerts since then, and they continue to raise the bar as to what a concert for a small, private university can be.
And I'm really proud to have been a part of it.