Agency Scores Touchdown For Notre Dame, Champion

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Long Haymes Carr, Winston-Salem, NC, just finished producing eight direct response television commercials promoting a 50-year relationship between Champion Apparel and Notre Dame's football team.

The campaign's slogan, "Cover Yourself in Tradition," focuses on the relationship between the two while drawing attention to a shared historical legacy and its likely nostalgic value to consumers. The short-form television spots began airing this month during NBC's broadcasts of Notre Dame's football games.

"Conceptually, it didn't take too long to come up with a strategy, but the budgets were really tight so we had to stay idea driven," said Ryan Mulqueen, Long Haymes Carr's copywriter for the ads. "We knew we wanted to leverage the fact that Champion has been providing uniforms to Notre Dame football players since 1949. That's an important relationship that goes back 50 years."

Mulqueen also said it was essential to focus on what Notre Dame fans would find value in.

"During a national broadcast, you're already talking to those who are [likely to want] to buy, because Notre Dame fans are all over the country," he said. "But buying a Notre Dame-Champion product is a little harder if you live in California."

That's where bringing together the direct response mechanism with a strong idea was most important, Mulqueen said, noting that Champion wanted to find a way to bring a combination of eight types of clothing to sell within the overall campaign. The creative team kept its focus on developing simple executions that accentuated the long-term value of both brands. In each of the of the eight spots, consumers are invited to "cover themselves in tradition" by wearing what "the Irish have worn for over 50 years."

Larry French, director of marketing at Champion, said tradition and authenticity were at the core of the two brands and how they fit together in the eyes of the consumer.

Long Haymes Carr was founded in 1949. The agency employs 220 people, and its clients include Hanes, Jimmy Dean, Nabisco and R.J. Reynolds.

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