How the Frog Became Feared

TCU’s Gary Patterson is known for his superstitious approach to coaching. Before TCU’s undefeated season in 2010, Gary took his wife, Kelsey, on a safari and wildlife photography trip to southern Africa.  Because of the success the expedition sparked, they took it again before the 2014 season where the Frogs went 11-1 and steamrolled Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.  The head coach is also known for other superstitious actions, such as discarding uniform combinations that are “unlucky” and his outfit change at halftime in the 2016 Alamo Bowl before leading the Frogs to a heroic 31-point comeback against the Oregon Ducks.

One thing that Gary hasn’t scrapped like his black turtleneck at the Alamo Bowl is TCU Football’s ad agency. PAVLOV Advertising first teamed up with TCU in 2008 to put a “national polish on the TCU football brand.” While the superstitious Patterson has a say in the process, he grants PAVLOV plenty of room for creative freedom. This pays off — here are a few TCU football campaigns through the years:

Legends (2008)

TCU’s first campaign with PAVLOV highlighted the 70th anniversary of TCU’s national championship team in 1938.


Reasons (2009)

With star players such as Jerry Hughes and Andy Dalton, there were now more reasons to watch TCU football. Patterson selected the players to be spotlighted.


A New Era (2011)

With a renovated stadium comes a new era. One of the campaign materials was a pamphlet whose cover read, “a new era is unfolding,” that unfolded into a pennant flag.

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BIG (2012)

Having just joined the Big 12, TCU knew they needed to send a BIG message to the Big 12 Conference.  PAVLOV delivered with a BIG ad campaign.

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Fear the Frog (2013)

The horned frog (actual species, not TCU fan) literally squirts blood from its eyes as a defense mechanism. PAVLOV put a spotlight on this unique characteristic.

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Amp It Up (2014)

Gary didn’t want to be apologetic for the previous 4-8 season. He wanted fans to turn up the volume and stay rowdy. The Frogs defied odds this season with an impressive 12-1 record and made a statement with a 42-3 win in the Peach Bowl.


Unite for the Fight (2015)

The previous year’s “Amp It Upcampaign recruited an active fan base for the Frogs, now they needed a campaign to rally behind. TCU Athletics Football Campaign Print F

Horned & Dangerous (2016)

After the storybook comeback in the 2016 Alamo Bowl, TCU had officially arrived in the college football world. PAVLOV created a polished campaign to match this matured program. Fun fact: The 2016 TCU football schedule poster was named #1 on Bleacher Report’s annual ranking of college football posters due to its clean design and crisp photography.


Consider Yourself Horned (2017)

TCU doesn’t have to remind others to “Fear the Frog” as they did in 2013. PAVLOV’s “Consider Yourself Horned” campaign sends out a light warning equipped with an intimidating tone.17-TCUAM-0039_FB_ExtensionOOH_48x19.6_SLUG

Check out the full write-up on “How to Market a Horned Frog,” from Fort Worth, Texas Magazine, here.