Late in a football game, it’s not unusual for teams to load the defensive secondary with defenders, attempting to stop any attempt at scoring. A “Prevent Defense” recognizes that the stakes have changed, and that the most important thing is to keep the offense in check.
As businesses and communities navigate the challenges of the current Delta variant wave of the pandemic, they are also looking for ways to apply a similar prevent defense to keep the virus at bay, while also continuing the services and normality of life that have been so elusive in recent months.
For more than 25 years, Regions has been a proud sponsor of the SEC (Southeastern Conference).
In addition to supporting the universities that make up the SEC, Regions customers and associates also have a connection to these universities that goes back decades, generations. For several years, Regions has also been a participant in the pageantry and fun of game days on these college campuses, providing unique fan experiences often coinciding with broadcasts of Game of The Week on ESPN.
But like so many things, the pandemic changed that.
“Last year, the situation was so different. In some cases, you didn’t have fans, or had limited capacities in stadiums. Schedules were changed in the SEC. There were new pandemic-based regulations and so much more,” said Paul Hodges, head of Regions Geography and Experiential Marketing. “We had to be flexible, while keeping the safety of our customers and associates top of mind.”
And while hopes remain that this season will be a bit closer to a normal experience, the realities of infection rates, vaccination rates in many states home to SEC schools, and changing guidance from health authorities have led to necessary changes to Regions’ SEC game-related activities.
“We rolled out a new advertising campaign earlier this year called ‘Live in the Moment,’ that’s really appropriate for what we’re doing at our SEC games,” added Shelly Johnston, Experiential Marketing Manager. “We’ve adjusted what we do at these games, asking our staff to be masked, as we all deal with these challenges and changes.”
For 2021, those adjustments represent the prevent defense – balancing the fun of game day against the necessities of prevention. In addition to relying on the new Live in the Moment advertisements that will run during SEC games this fall, Regions commissioned a new spot: What the SEC Taught Us – Perseverance.
What else can you expect to see at stops along the Regions SEC tour this year?
- The Big Bike – a staple of Regions’ experiential marketing and something that fans love.
- Tagkast photos – a digital photo experience where you get a Regions/team-branded photo. When fans walk up to the big bike, there will be signage with a QR code that they scan and take a pic. They are then texted that pic with a Regions and team-branded frame.
- Swag – We’re handing out branded masks, hand sanitizers and koozies. “VIP Customers” – fans who show that they are Regions customers – also get a clear stadium bag with portable phone charger and sunglasses.
- Tent – Due to COVID, we will only have tents at a few SEC Nation sites (in year’s past, we had stops at all these events). These will include COVID-related mitigations and some of the activities that fans love – cornhole, games and more.
“This is the moment we find ourselves,” said Johnston. “But the things that have seen us through this already – working together, focusing on our communities and customers, and being mindful of everyone’s safety – is the best defense, and offense, we could have.