Arts Society & Culture

R.E.M. song, Chapel Bell headline UGA PSA produced by alumni

Athens, Ga. – A song by the legendary Athens-based band R.E.M. and the iconic Chapel Bell will carry the message of the University of Georgia to national television audiences this fall in a new television spot produced by a group of UGA alumni. The 30-second public service announcement will air during all televised Georgia games, with its debut during ESPN’s broadcast of the Georgia vs. Boise State Chick-fil-A Kick-Off Classic to be played at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 3.

In response to a call for bids to produce this year’s spot, a group of alumni who work in Atlanta advertising agencies and film production submitted a proposal to create the new PSA pro bono, proposing only that the university cover actual out-of-pocket costs. Calling themselves “The Bulldog Collective,” the team comprised of Mike Martin (ABJ ’95), Ron Huey (ABJ’ 83), Jason Hatfield (ABJ ’95), and Glen Owen (ABJ ’90) was awarded the project.

Concept development in concert with the university’s public affairs office began in February, and in May the winning idea emerged to build the spot around the Chapel Bell, which holds a special place in Bulldog lore with its traditional ringing following football victories and other momentous occasions. Additionally the soundtrack for the spot is fittingly an R.E.M. song entitled, “Oh My Heart,” from their latest album, Collapse Into Now.

“The enthusiasm of the filmmakers, the resonance of the song in the spot, and the band’s love and respect for Athens-those were the factors in our decision,” said long-time R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs of his and the band members’ approval of the concept and the song’s use. “As alumni ourselves, we’re proud of the PSA and feel the song really complements the film’s emotion and imagery.”

In June, long lines of UGA alumni, students, faculty, staff and fans queued to ring the Chapel Bell while cameras rolled. Volunteering their time to do so, many will find their images appear in the final spot, intercut with scenic settings around campus and town, as R.E.M.’s song plays with its opening words, “This place is the beat of my heart….”

The PSA will be supported by an accompanying Facebook page, (https://www.facebook.com/UGAChapelBell), where UGA supporters can share the reasons the university holds a special place in their lives. As an added bonus, if fans “like” the page, they will unlock a sneak preview of the new PSA.

Martin is owner and creative director of Skylab-B, Huey is executive creative director of CSE, Hatfield is executive vice president for account service at KBS+P Atlanta, and Owen is director and owner of State Line Films. Others who donated their time and resources to post production include Eddie Kesler, Molly Baroco (BFA ’94), Dave Pickett and Andrew Pope (ABJ ’93) of Jam Edit, and Buddy Hall and Chris Basta of RIOT Atlanta.

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