Hoping to attract new users with the football season back in full force, the memory sharing app 15 Seconds of Fame ran a week-long publicity campaign ahead of Saturday’s football game against Indiana involving participation from University of Michigan student-athletes, ambassadors and Business students.
Founded in 2015, 15 Seconds of Fame is an app that allows users to access their big screen appearances at live events. For the past 5 years, 15SOF’s technology has allowed Michigan fans to download video of their appearances on the big screen in the Big House and the Crisler Center for free.
With the Big House not allowing any advertising, Michael Mackey, 15SOF chief business officer and University alum, said awareness has been one of the biggest challenges for 15SOF. Mackey said the campaign launching this week aims at promoting the app and encouraging Michigan fans to download it to increase the number of users and shared memories.
“I think in a perfect world for us, a consumer or fan should know that anytime they go to a live event, if they happen to be on TV or the jumbotron, that should be delivered to them,” Mackey said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about whipping out their phone, and they should just enjoy the moment.”
In an effort to increase awareness and usage in the Big House, Mackey said the company hopes to eventually incorporate 15SOF into the Michigan Athletics app. By forging the two into one app as opposed to keeping them separate, Mackey said he thought it would be easier to promote 15SOF.
“If you want just Michigan fans to get their Michigan moments in the Michigan athletics app, which all students now have to have because it’s where their tickets sit, eventually moving into the app is easier for a school to try and push their own app rather than trying to push a third-party app,” Mackey said.
In an email statement to The Michigan Daily, Kristen Ablauf, the associate athletic director of licensing, trademarks and partnerships at the University, said the University is looking into adding 15SOF to the Michigan Athletics app moving forward.
“We’ve been offering the 15SOF service for a few years now at football, basketball, and hockey events,” Ablauf wrote. “We have been in discussions with them on ways we can both promote the service to students and fans, including potentially incorporating it into the athletics mobile app.”
This week, many campus community members have been getting involved in the awareness campaign. Many student-athletes and ambassadors posted to their Instagram stories in a maize and blue 15SOF sweatshirt, explaining the purpose of the app and how to download it.
In an email statement to The Daily, Mackey shared the plans for the campaign week. Before Saturday’s upcoming football game between Michigan and Indiana, 15SOF will run a vendor booth at the Michigan Sports Business Conference on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“What we’re doing this week is testing all different channels and seeing how we can use all these other outlets to potentially see what we get the best yield from for awareness,” Mackey said.
Mackey said 11 student-athletes, including Natalie Wojcik, Eli Brooks, Jace Howard and Ronnie Bell and Halle O’Neill, participated in the campaign this week along with seven professional alumni, including Chris Webber, Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers, who were posting promotional stories to their Instagrams. Additionally, advertisements have been placed at major apartment buildings such as Six11 and Vic Village as well as campus buildings and Ann Arbor bars and restaurants.
Mackey also discussed the impact of the Name Image and Likeness laws the Supreme Court passed last summer, allowing college student-athletes to profit off of their name and identity through endorsements. According to the laws, college athletes may let third parties utilize their name and image for product endorsement or other advertising.
Because of these laws, Mackey said he would be equally paying the 11 student-athletes involved with the 15SOF campaign. Each of these paid athletes will have their own custom links to track how many downloads they attract.
Following the NIL changes, LSA sophomore Sophie Housey, a member of the women’s swim and dive team, said she became a student-athlete ambassador with the help of Jared Wangler, a mutual friend of her trainer and the director of Valiant management group.
“He has been working with me on a few NIL deals and he came to me with the 15 Seconds of Fame campaign a month or so ago and asked if I want to take the opportunity to shoot some mini videos and repost some of their stuff on my platform,” Housey said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me to be able to share my stuff with swimming while also being able to make a profit and market myself through companies like this, as well as the organization themselves and what they do.”
As a Business school alum, Mackey has spent the past five semesters working with Business students to immerse them into the business world through the Living Business Leadership Experience course. He said each semester, he works with students by connecting them with different companies. This semester, the students in the course worked on the 15 Seconds of Fame awareness campaign by helping to forge potential partnerships with student ambassadors, local businesses and apartment buildings.
Business professor Mike Barger has been teaching the Living Business Leadership Experience course at the Ross School of Business since its inception four years ago. He said the opportunity to learn about operating a business has given his students a valuable experience.
“As with most business initiatives, the team has experienced a healthy share of highs and lows, validations of assumptions and uncomfortable surprises,” Barger said. “It’s not often that a student team gets to work on a real business project that actually gets implemented. The project and results will be real — which is why we created LBLE, to offer a safe but challenging space for students to better understand how business actually works.”
By the end of this week’s campaign, Mackey said he will look to track app downloads so that he can better understand how best to promote the app moving forward.
“The goal here is to learn which channels work and not all of these are going to work,” Mackey said. “We will be carefully monitoring every channel to see what is creating the most awareness so that we can learn for the future.”
Daily Staff Reporter Kaitlyn Luckoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.