GSU Athletics: Lose The Glasses

Georgia State Athletics has a serious problem.

For all the millions in funds generated in student fees and private donations each year to pay for the university’s growing sports programs, attendance for games has been largely lackluster, at best.

Attendance isn’t necessarily their fault, per se, considering the wealth of factors contributing to poor student support of university-sponsored events, not the least of which is Georgia State’s large commuter base.

However, if only for its own sake and that of the university’s reputation, Athletics should be doing everything it reasonably can to promote attendance and get students pumped up for home games, especially.

Whether that means hosting promotional events or providing cool giveaways is totally up to them, although this week’s promotional lip-dub video featuring football Head Coach Bill Curry offers a cautionary example of precisely what not to do in the future.

For starters, the video’s lip-sync looks like something out of a entry-level freshman video course, appearing rushed, poorly produced and nowhere even close to last year’s successful homecoming lip dub video set to Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”

What’s more, several of those featured in the video – from random students to a pair of university police officers – almost seem forced into participating, singing out of time and seemingly to their own set of lyrics. All of which isn’t even their fault, not really.

While wearing your “Sunglasses at Night” may have been cool 30 years ago, the decision to use that song in this context reflects poor decision making by Georgia State Athletics considering the demographics of its student body.

After all, more than half of the student body falls under the age of 24, according to university statistics. With that in mind, it’s not a stretch to say that many have never even heard of Corey Hart — or many others out of the seemingly endless list of out-of-date 80’s pop stars Athletics could have chosen.

Besides, “Sunglasses” is no 80s sports song and isn’t the sort of thing to get fired up to for the school’s first Saturday night game.

Indeed, the video’s poor production values really just end up leaving its “pumped-up” message falling terribly flat, not to mention coming off as incredibly tacky, especially whenever Coach Curry starts singing.

Now I get that some might find this video somewhat funny despite of its low production quality. In fact, some might argue the video’s cheesy nature makes it more endearing.

However, switch out the coach for any other serious football program in Georgia and see if it’s still that funny. Can you honestly see Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech or Mark Richt of the University of Georgia doing something this silly just for a few promotional laughs?

What’s next? Is Coach Ron Hunter going to have to dance the Macarena?

Of course, all of this wouldn’t be so bad if the video wasn’t blasted out via email to literally every student even considering going to the game. But it was, twice.

And for that, for making such a storied coach, not to mention two-time Super Bowl winner, into a cheesy “viral” promotional item, Athletics should be ashamed.

No, there are better ways to publicize events, and they should know that.
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This is the personal page of Chris Shattuck -- an Atlanta-based media professional with a background in business reporting, nonprofits and agency PR.

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