Heisman campaigns have run the creative gamut over the years.
Some have been subtle in their genius, as when former Notre Dame sports information director Roger Valdiserri changed the pronounciation of Joe Theismann’s name to rhyme with Heisman, or when Washington State sent out a single leaf to selected media on behalf of Ryan Leaf.
Now USC is putting its mark on the genre with a cutting-edge campaign in support of senior quarterback Matt Barkley. Starting in mid-August, fans and media will be able to download, for free, a mobile application for Android or iPhone called ‘Project Tro7an’.
The app will allow media, betting sites and postseason awards voters to closely follow Barkley and the other Trojan honors candidates by providing easily sortable data, biographic information and highlight videos.
“It’s the 21st century. It’s 2012,” said Barkley. “Everyone has a smart phone or mobile device. Instead of a blog or web site, we wanted to put everything at people’s fingertips.”
A self-described ‘tech nerd’, Barkley contributed input to the formatting of the app, along with teammates T.J. McDonald and Khaled Holmes. It might be the first honors campaign where the candidates helped spearhead the concept.
“(Barkley) was a part of the development since Day One,” said Jordan Moore, USC’s Director of Social Media. “He was very adamant about functionality and design.
“As far as we know, no one in college football has ever done anything like this before.”
While Barkley is the front runner for this year’s Heisman, he knows it’s going to take a lot more than a fancy piece of technology or partybingo.com to take home the trophy. As Pac-12 Media Day wound down, he made that message clear to everyone around him.
“The campaign is on the field,” he said.