May 3, 2016
Courtesy: NU Athletic Communications
Randy York N-Sider
Official Blog of the Huskers
Nebraska football fans who’d never heard of Adam DeVine until he visited Lincoln last Friday know who he is now, thanks to two popular videos – one shot inside the Ndamukong Suh Strength and Conditioning Complex and a second video featuring DeVine catching punts while wearing full gear on Memorial Stadium’s sacred turf.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience ranks high in Husker video lore. Why? Because DeVine – a writer/actor/comedian who graduated from Millard South High School in Omaha – lived out a dream with his best friend from high school. Both lifted iron and growled like cavemen inside Nebraska’s weight room with second-year strength coach Mark Philipp playing the maestro role.
Credit Matt Tomjack, Nebraska’s director of marketing and fan experience, for paving the way to live streaming videos that were so fresh and memorable, the five-minute strength video has 418,000 views. The three-minute “tryout” video on Tom Osborne Field recorded 110,000 views.
DeVine Promoted His Upcoming Movie and Pretended He Was Johnny the Jet
DeVine, 32, is a co-creator and star in Comedy Central’s Workaholics. He suggested the opportunity and came to Lincoln last weekend with two major goals: 1) promote the movie Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates, which will premiere on July 8, and 2) step on Memorial Stadium’s hallowed turf and pretend like he’s Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers.
Kelly Mosier, assistant athletic director for digital communications, takes no credit for either uniquely created online moment. Tomjack and Jason Rathe, NU’s assistant athletic director for marketing and fan experience, seized the opportunity and made it count in multiple ways.
To Mosier, live action was reminiscent of three similar Husker social media hits that featured: 1) Omaha native Gabrielle Union, who attended the University of Nebraska and played soccer; 2) Pawnee City, Neb., native Dan Whitney, a.k.a. Larry the Cable Guy, who uses his “regular Joe” shtick in sold-out arenas across the country; and 3) Clarence Thomas, the second African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, who married an Omaha native and became one of Nebraska’s most loyal fans, so much so that last week he hosted and entertained Nebraska’s 2015 NCAA Championship volleyball and women’s bowling teams in Washington, D.C.
What started out as a promotion for an upcoming comedy movie became a Nebraska Cornhusker binge of frolic and fun that leveraged interactive conversations and gave Lincoln and Omaha entertainment writers and television reporters a chance to promote the Nebraska brand every bit as much as the movie that brought them together.
Coach Mark Philipp’s Leadership + Adam’s Screaming = Heavily Shared Video
The only “minor” hiccup in the day was 400 elementary school children taking a walking tour of Nebraska’s facilities shortly after DeVine moments were organically developing. “Facebook live streaming was fun,” Tomjack said. “Coach Philipp (above left) was outstanding. There was a lot of screaming and yelling, mostly from Adam (above right), and the last time I checked, 3,300 fans had shared the video with other people around the country.”
Bottom line, DeVine wanted to experience what life would be like if he was a Nebraska student-athlete who happened to play football. “We’re still getting emails from (20th Century) Fox, telling us how much they felt like VIPs on our campus,” Tomjack said. “Later that night, Jason (Rathe) and I were texting each other about how important it was to show what we have.
“The weight room was fantastic. So was everything else,” Tomjack said. “That’s why we give so many open tours. When you have one of the best facilities in the country, you want to showcase it every time it makes sense. Coach (Mike) Riley was more than willing to welcome Adam and the Fox crew to Nebraska. We believe showcasing what we have is part of our brand.”
So are Five National Championship Trophies, a Fitting Backdrop for DeVine
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