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The Philadelphia Inquirer
August 30, 2013 Friday
CITY-D Edition
PHILADELPHIA; P-com Spt. Temple; Pg. B01
579 words
Temple aims to lift athletic profile with ad campaign.
By Susan Snyder; Inquirer Staff Writer

Driving around Chicago this weekend? Don't be surprised to see a billboard saying, "The Owls have landed." That is the Temple University Owls.

Temple's football team will travel to the Windy City this weekend on its way to taking on Notre Dame, a top-ranked school, on national television.

Under a new advertising campaign, the university is using the occasion to get the word out about the Owls and lift the profile of its athletics program. It's the first year the school is competing in the American Athletic Conference, though the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are not part of that conference.

"It's really a great opportunity for us for a level of visibility that we have not had before," said Karen B. Clarke, vice president for strategic marketing and communications. "To play Notre Dame on national TV is a big deal for us."

The university will get a free 30-second commercial spot during the game to tout the virtues of Temple on national television. The game in South Bend, Ind., will be broadcast at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC.

The university typically spends $100,000 to $150,000 a year on athletics marketing, showcasing, among other things, its nationally ranked basketball team, Clarke said. It will spend a little more this year, she said, but it will spend the money differently, including targeting advertising in areas where the Owls are playing.

Temple kicked off an ad campaign this week in local newspapers, including The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, promoting "football Saturdays in Philly" and the university's first home game against the Houston Cougars on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Athletics, Clarke said, can play a major role in the life of a college student and connect that student to the university for a lifetime. Temple wants to cultivate that connection.

"That's what we're trying to do, and we're trying to be very intentional," she said.

Temple's move comes at a time when some big athletic universities, including Pennsylvania State University, are attempting to deemphasize athletics in the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

In the months after news of the scandal emerged, Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in interviews that he wanted to transform Penn State's image from a football school to a "world-class research institution."

Temple president Neil D. Theobald emphasized that athletics were merely part of the institution, albeit an important one..

"The athletic department is just like the chemistry department, is just like the medical school. It's all part of one. The same principles apply."

Boosting the profile of athletics is key, he said, "as far as getting attention and notice."

Theobald, along with more than 700 Temple alumni, staff, trustees, and students are traveling to Notre Dame for the game.

"The football experience is a really positive one for a lot of our fans and a lot of our students," Clarke said. "So it's something that we do want to highlight and create opportunities for that engagement that we wouldn't otherwise have."

Clarke said the university's "Temple Made" campaign has proven successful and popular among students and alumni - and in fact is featured on the 30-second television spot - but the new effort will seek a broader audience.

The campaign will continue through the fall.

Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq. Read her blog at campusinq.

August 30, 2013

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