Ga. Tech TV Spot Showcases Innovation and Tradition

Robotic Arm Unexpected Component of New Tech Spot

When thinking of the Georgia Institute of Technology, two key attributes consistently come to mind - innovation and tradition. A recent challenge for Georgia Tech's communications team was developing a television spot that would demonstrate, in just 30 seconds, the Institute's long tradition of being a technological leader, while also capturing more than 100 years of school spirit.

As with most public universities, resources are limited and tackling such a project in-house creates additional challenges. However, Georgia Tech's communications and marketing team approached the project like most Tech students and faculty - by applying a creative approach with the latest technology.

From the start, the team was determined to avoid typical images found in university promotional spots often featuring idyllic campus scenes, students studying and labs brimming with test tubes. Instead, the team selected imagery that exemplifies one of the Institute's many flagship technologies - robotics. Georgia Tech's Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, for example, is helping to position the university as a global leader within these promising, revolutionary new technologies.

The next challenge was figuring out how to use robotics to capture the spirit and legacy of Georgia Tech. With one of the country's most recognized fight songs, the communications team knew that including, 'The Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech,' would do just that. The idea was to introduce the fight song by showing a robotic arm and hand tapping out ringtones on a phone which eventually transitioned to a traditional recording of the fight song sung by the Georgia Tech Glee Club.

"We designed this spot to capture the viewers by opening with dramatic music and imagery, then hold them with the 'Ramblin' Wreck' song for the message," said James Fetig, associate vice president for Georgia Tech's Institute Communications and Public Affairs.
"While there are several robotic arms in research labs on campus, none have the dexterity to play the song on the phone like we were envisioning," Fetig explained. "To improvise, one of our Web developers created a computer-generated version of a robotic arm. Though the final version of the spot may make the robotic arm seem simplistic, development took more than 90 hours to render."
The spot does not feature people and immediately captures attention with compelling music and close-up imagery of the robotic arm - so close that the viewer might not initially know what the object is. With such a captivating opening, viewers are easily drawn into a futuristic environment. There are no voiceovers, just concise text at the end of the spot displaying the message, 'Legendary Heritage, Limitless Future,' along with the Georgia Institute of Technology logo.

To add a hint of humor, the spot cleverly ends with the robotic arm gesturing the 'No. 1' with its index finger and 'dancing' to the tune of the fight song. "The humorous ending helps illustrate how much fun students can have at Tech," said Fetig.

The spot, which debuted during the Georgia Tech-Notre Dame game, will be used to promote Georgia Tech during the football and basketball seasons.