Feb 22, 2017

How Pitt Basketball Lit a New Tradition and Reignited an Old One

In 2015, the University of Pittsburgh implemented a new marketing campaign strategy centered around the phrase “Pitt Is Lit.” Inspired by a Sports Illustrated cover from the 1976 Pitt National Championship with the simple phrase “Pitt Is It,” the slogan has become a rallying cry for the university’s teams. Advent is working with Pittsburgh as the Panthers implement “Pitt Script” branding and introduce a new shared experience within the Peterson Event Center. The #PittIsLit slogan has become a social media meme within the Panthers community, not least of which for coaches and prospects on the recruiting trail.

Advent’s Lauren Duke Patterson led design on the project. Here, she describes how using a halo-lit logo and a definitive, iconic image reinforced Pitt’s strong branding strategy.

“One of the goals within the Peterson Event Center was to highlight Pitt’s display of retired jerseys. Since the wall in The Pete was so large, it needed a focal point. One element we featured was the new Pitt Script logo, which Pitt Athletics was rebranding as its primary mark and resonated with the Panthers’ fans. The height of this focal wall was also perfect for a vertical element to fill the space. In looking at Pitt’s campus and traditions for inspiration, we considered the Cathedral of Learning. It’s an icon for the university. Pitt has an amazing  tradition of ‘lighting the tower’ of the Cathedral for football wins. It signifies victory. When we chose to highlight a graphic of the Cathedral in the arena, that developed into its own idea of bringing the lighting the tower tradition into the basketball arena.”

“Pitt’s fans and students value lighting the Cathedral of Learning tower. It was this value that afforded Pitt the opportunity to engage with their basketball audience by actually being able to light a graphical version of the tower inside The Pete when they win, creating an impactful experience.”

“Pitt and their fans are beyond ecstatic about enhancing the already historical traditions within The Pete. They are in love with it. They are excited about it feeding into their marketing.”

“It adds to the tradition. You have the existing tradition of lighting the tower on campus which lets everyone knows that Pitt was successful, victorious. As a basketball fan, you buy a ticket to go to the game and now, along with that big win, you have a new memory of lighting the tower inside The Pete.”

Advent has also worked with the University of Pittsburgh on their swimming and diving facilities among other projects in the Pitt Script rebrand and has helped create traditions with the USC Trojans and the Tennessee Titans.