HSU athletics wins marketing award

Henderson State University’s Athletic Department was awarded a gold medal at the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) Best of Awards Ceremony. The program honors outstanding achievement in marketing and promotions. 

Henderson took the top award in the Group 3 Student Promotion Category for its T-shirt amnesty effort and competition to name the student fan club. Awards are presented in 13 categories and nearly 1,000 entries were received for the 2014-15 year.

Frank Keenan, assistant athletic director for external relations, said the athletic department sought to rebrand Henderson’s student fan club. “With no funds and little to no identity, we had to find a creative way to fund the group,” he said.

A plan was established to have Henderson students switch their old fan club T-shirts and shirts from other universities for a Henderson fan club shirt. The company chosen to print the shirts agreed to become the sponsor of the fan club and provided prizes and additional free T-shirts throughout the year.

But the club needed a name. A competition was held and the name “Red Zone” was adopted.

T-shirts were handed out prior to the first 2015 football game, which was nationally televised. Students who wore the shirts were eligible to win a semester of free housing donated by Henderson’s Residence Life.

“Students embraced the idea, swapping their old shirts for the new Red Zone shirts,” Keenan said. “The Red Zone was in full force on national TV, and we were able to phase out the old T-shirts and donate 1,500 shirts to charity.”