BOWLING GREEN, Ky., July 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 100 years ago, Russell Athletic was born on the playing fields of America. Now, in an era of decreasing team sports participation and increasing ego, hype and selfishness, the brand is back to defend team sports in the U.S. and take real actions to help teams overcome the challenges they face. A national study conducted by Russell Athletic found that teams are not made in the game. According to coaches, teams are forged either in practice (50%) or off-the-field (47%). So this year, Russell Athletic will highlight the untold stories of how teams are formed and foundations for success are established.
Today, Russell Athletic kicked off its "Team On" national integrated marketing campaign with a content series entitled #SettleYourScore. Instead of celebrating the champions, this series focuses on the 101 teams that lost the state championship by a touchdown or less. Russell Athletic is partnering with six of these high school football teams from across the country to turn the one thing that haunts them from their state championship loss into their ultimate motivation.
"'What haunts you?' is a tough question to ask high school coaches," says Matt Murphy, Vice President, Marketing, Russell Athletic. "The 8 seconds, one play or 99 yards that led to the loss hurts, but it could also become the perfect fuel for a new season. Their untold stories will resonate with any team that has a score to settle this season."
Players, coaches, and towns will literally stare down what haunts them in the form of outdoor billboards near each high school with reminders like "8 Seconds." They will wear sweat-activated practice gear that reveals inspiration when they sweat through their shirt. And, right before the season starts, they will tear down the "haunt" billboards to reveal the team's new team mantra for the season. Finally, each of the selected schools' unique stories will be documented on TeamOn.RussellAthletic.com and on Russell Athletic social media channels for fans, family, friends and media to follow.
One team will be documented by renowned photographer, Robert Clark, the photographer who captured the iconic images featured in the original Friday Night Lights bestseller book and inspired a franchise with his indelible photos. Twenty-five years ago, Clark brought to life the harsh truths of an elite high school football program. "Now, I'm returning to the world of high school football to tell the other side of the story," says Clark. "I am covering the New Palestine Dragons, a team with an inspirational story of redemption and family ties. The program makes excellent football players as well as successful young men."
The digital, social, and out-of-home #SettleYourScore series may focus on the preseason hunger of these schools, but the story goes deeper. It explores coach-player relationships, the universal lessons found in football, and the lifelong benefits of playing team sports in America today. In addition to Clark, Heisman Trophy winner and NFL legend Eddie George, who epitomizes the Team On approach to sports and life, will serve as a brand ambassador for the campaign.
"Our goal was simple: tell the story of the birthplace of team in America," says Murphy. "We found it in small towns like New Palestine, Indiana, and Brunswick, Georgia, and on a Native American reservation in Northwest Washington. Anyone who loves football and believes in the idea of team will relate to these stories and find inspiration from them. Unlike a lot of what is out there today in sports, this inspiration is drawn from the untold stories of real teams."
"To us, Team is not staged or scripted," continues Murphy. "So we wanted the voice of this campaign to come from the teams, towns, and coaches themselves."
The national campaign is set to launch during the heart of the preseason football timeframe, and will include digital, social, out-of-home, a national study on the evolution of high school two-a-days, and a national two-a-days sale at RussellAthletic.com with a buy-one, get-one-free offer on all performance wear, perfect for every athlete's preseason.
To follow the #SettleYourScore series and the Russell Athletic effort to defend team sports in America, visit TeamOn.RussellAthletic.com, follow @RussellAthletic on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and search #TeamOn and #SettleYourScore.
About RUSSELL BRANDS, LLC For more than 100 years, Russell Brands, LLC, has supplied America's athletes and teams with the latest innovations to help them perform at their best and is a leading supplier of apparel and team uniforms at the high school, college and professional levels. Russell's collegiate licensed products and athletic wear are broadly distributed and marketed through department stores, sports specialty stores, retail chains and college bookstores. Russell Athletic is the expert and defender of team sports in America. We take actions to build stronger teams. We stand for the fundamentals. Team On.