Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons from Eight Years of Football Programs

Over the course of eight years, I worked in various capacities on high school football programs.  For the most part, my role was advertising sales and project management, but in many, many cases, I had to get hands-on in creative direction, layout, production and in the development of copy or individual ads for businesses and families.  I didn’t do this in my role at O’Brien Communications, but rather as a parent volunteer.

Without getting into great detail, the process usually started in the early Spring and culminated with a print run prior to the first game at the end of August.  With so many people involved in the effort, and almost all of it volunteer or in-kind, a football program is much different from producing an annual report or CSR report. 

With this in mind, here are some of the lessons from producing high school football programs:

  • Most peoples’ favorite pictures of their kids are grainy, hard to see and sometimes coffee-stained.
  • Underclassmen families will always complain there is too much emphasis on the seniors. 
  • Senior families will forget their underclassmen complaints from the previous year and always demand there be more emphasis on the seniors.
  • Never ask high school football players for creative input.  There's a reason their coaches always look on edge and yell a lot.
  • You can’t double-check name spellings enough.
  • Most small retail businesses still don’t use email.
  • High school activities would not exist without the support of orthodontists and pizza shops.
  • People love pictures, usually of people, always of themselves.
  • Deadlines are meaningless to most people.
  • No matter how much professional experience you have in supervising photo shoots, it’s always best to get out of the way and let a cheerleader mom run the group photo shoot. 
  • The most important thing you can do when overseeing a photo shoot of teenagers is to watch the group and make sure no one is using nonverbal communication that could eventually make the photo unusable.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update on O'Brien Communications' Web Site

The off-site servers that host O’Brien Communications’ Web site, along with many others, had apparently been hacked.  For this reason, we took down the full Web site and have re-posted a summary site.  Meanwhile, I will continue to use this blog space for current information on and from O’Brien Communications.  Thanks.