A-10 Launches National Branding Campaign: Who Wants Next

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. —The Atlantic 10 Conference has partnered with 160over90, an award-winning branding agency, to launch a national branding and advertising campaign that tips off today at WhoWantsNext.com.

Motivated by the Atlantic 10’s strategic plan, the Who Wants Next campaign uses all A-10 media partners and social media platforms to leverage the conference's basketball-centric identity and communicate its members’ core values of winning, success, leadership, community service and academic excellence.  The league has historically been known for its grittiness and uncompromising work ethic that has led to sustained excellence in athletics and academics.

“This year-long branding effort has been both challenging and exciting,” commented Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade.  "Our partners at 160over90 have 'hit the mark' on this campaign.  To capture the essence of a league's collective commitment to stay nationally successful on the court and in the classroom takes a keen sense for branding to diverse constituents.  Our members appreciate the consistent success attained by the A-10 and have committed resources to have our brand and message packaged in a creative, enjoyable way and communicated broadly, which we have never done before."

Since the 2007–08 season, Atlantic 10 members have earned 46 postseason invitations, including 21 NCAA Tournaments.  And last year, the A-10 had a record nine teams in the postseason, including five bids into the NCAA Championship bracket.  Combining this athletic success with nationally recognized top five rankings in the NCAA’s academic metrics (Graduate Success Rate and Academic Progress Rate), a picture of excellence emerges.

The creative brand development and delivery is being managed by 160over90.  The agency has developed brand campaigns for Nike, Ferrari, Under Armour, UCLA and the Philadelphia Eagles. 

"Working with a D-I conference is a unique opportunity.  Traditionally, 'rebrands' mean trotting out a new logo.  With the Atlantic 10, we are flipping that notion on its head by launching a comprehensive campaign that showcases the conference's historic staying power as a successful basketball league that graduates its student-athletes at exceptionally high percentages,” said Darryl Cilli, 160over90 chief creative officer.  “The A-10 encompasses a significant footprint, and reaching current and future fans and students throughout the country is a smart business move for the conference; non-profits and businesses do this regularly.”

Campaign Launch

The soft rollout was aired in a 30-second PSA that hit televisions in mid-January: “Winning doesn't mean losing what we stand for.”  The piece creatively communicated that success on the court and in the classroom is not exclusive of integrity, sportsmanship, and community service.  The full launch for the ‘Who Wants Next’ campaign comes to life this week.  An edgy two-minute video will air on A-10 games that are broadcast nationally and regionally.  In unapologetic fashion, the video is designed to artistically communicate the strength, excitement and pride displayed by the members of the Atlantic 10, its basketball programs, fans, alumni, and even mascots and cheerleaders.  Most importantly, the video pays homage to the rich and consistent history of the A-10, regardless of the member institution.

Acclaimed performer, slam poet and verbal stylist Saul Williams was recruited for the voiceover, and the music was scored by rjd2, whose 10-year recording credits include AMC's ‘Mad Men’ theme.  Both artists epitomize the grittiness of the campaign, and effortlessly capture the rhythm of the game. 

In addition to the two-minute video, a 60-second version will be released for a broader television reach.  

There is a strong print component of the 'Who Wants Next' campaign, as well as the ever-present social media launch.  Together, all 13 A-10 member institutions have committed to participate in this first-ever conference branding initiative by highlighting the WhoWantsNext.com microsite on both their university and athletic web pages, as well as Facebook, Twitter and other online avenues, pushing the video spot to 800,000+ eyes to open the campaign.  The microsite houses the 2:00 commercial, alongside a Twitter feed and a section featuring A-10 highlight wins.

The creative will also run in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home to the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball championship, as well as in the 13 member institution arenas.

To experience the Atlantic 10 branding action, go to WhoWantsNext.com.  For more on the conference, visit Atlantic10.com.  Anyone who thinks this is make believe, we make believe.


The Atlantic 10 Conference was formed in 1976 and consists of 13 diverse members across seven states and Washington, D.C.  The membership consists of University of Dayton, Duquesne University, Fordham University, George Mason University, The George Washington University, La Salle University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Rhode Island, University of Richmond St. Bonaventure University, Saint Joseph’s University, Saint Louis University and Virginia Commonwealth University.  The mission and goal of the Atlantic 10 is to provide an enhanced student-athlete experience through 21 nationally competitive championship sports.  The conference is committed to integrity, educational excellence and providing championship experiences for more than 6,000 student-athletes, coaches, and support staff.  http://www.atlantic10.com


A branding and creative services agency with offices in Philadelphia, Newport Beach, CA and Gainesville, FL, 160over90 has vast experience generating results for nationally recognized brand leaders.  160over90’s client roster spans consumer brands, among them Nike, Godiva, Under Armour, American Eagle Outfitters and Ferrari North America; professional sporting teams including the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Angels; and an esteemed roster of higher education institutions including UCLA, Duke, Notre Dame and the University of Florida.  Services range from the development of single creative pieces [print collateral, packaging and websites] to institution-wide image and rebranding campaigns.  And the globe-trotting team boasts talents as wide-ranging as their interests: art, music, dance, competitive sports, community activism, Hollywood screenwriting and more.  In 2013, AgencyPost.com named 160over90 to its “Agency 100” list of fastest-growing agencies in America.  http://www.160over90.com

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