Sonic Survey Results

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2011 at 10:58 AM

After about a week we had just over 3000 responses, 2983 of them male and 120 female. We are all dudes.


  • high school or younger: 16
  • undergraduate: 287
  • 22-34: 1874
  • 34-49: 760
  • over 49: 166


  • Student: 283
  • All or almost all games: 659
  • A few games a year: 1173
  • Every once in a while: 920
  • Never: 68

If anyone wants the full dataset it is available as a csv here.

Graphs? Graphs. I had to shorten some of the Qs so they'd fit on the axis.

Piped In Music: If And When




Things To Play Or Not Play


Volume And Band Stuff


Jumbotron Matters




October 5th, 2011 at 11:12 AM ^

We now have empirical evidence:

When Brandon and his dozens of marketing employees continue to approve the playing of Journey, Neil Diamond, and Pop Evil, they are actively choosing something that the majority of Michigan fans disapprove of.

That is all.  


October 5th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

"They are actively choosing something that the majority of Michigan fans disapprove of."


Well, we have empirical evidence that Brandon and his marketing employees are choosing something the respondents to this survey disapprove of.  I'm not sure we speak for the entirety of the Michigan fanbase (although it would be nice to think that we do).  The sample, however, is not really random.


October 5th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

I completely agree with this.  

I really don't think the survey proves all that much with regards to the Michigan fanbase as a whole. Especially in regards to ITBH, the readers of this blog have a pretty biased opinion because of the constant whining about it. 

Another point--people seem to love the idea of having music unique to Michigan Stadium.  Thats exactly what ITBH is!!! 


October 5th, 2011 at 3:08 PM ^

And want to find the NEXT SNA type song that everyone will copy after you, and be the first to make it "your own".

The problem is, of course, that with music any suggestion or song adopted will be pissed on by half the people listening to it. (Unless, apparently, you're a European soccer crowd, then you're so drunk you'll sing along to anything).

Champ Kind

October 5th, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

ITBH may be an example of music unique to Michigan Stadium, but the song is awful.  I like home cooked meals, but I don't eat dry meatloaf.  I don't know what the food equivalent is of ITBH, but it's worse than dry meatloaf.  So, I don't see the ITBH/unique musci conundrum as a logic fail.  It's just an awful, awful song.  

When people say they want music unique to Michigan Stadium, they aren't thinking of a more generic version of Nickleback.   Probably something more along the lines of our own "Jump Around."  I know that's played outside of Camp Randal, but Wisconsin owns it.  There are a billion songs better than ITBH that aren't commonplace in college stadiums.  We just need to pick a couple and make them our own.  If we're going to have piped-in music, we should develop our own musical traditions.  There are many available genres, but I would prefer if they stayed away from country or generic sounding rock.  


October 5th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

Not to Dave Brandon it's not. Unless a majority of those 3000+ are wealthy boosters. For Brandon it's always going to be a business first and foremost. And honestly, it's hard to blame the guy. You hire a guy for specific reasons and the administration clearly hired him to help rebrand Michigan athletics. If that wasn't the goal of the administration he wouldn't be here.

Everyone Murders

October 5th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

You hire a guy for specific reasons and the administration clearly hired him to help rebrand Michigan athletics.


That's a pretty broad statement.  Let me ask what you base this on. 

I recognize that Brandon has - post hiring - prattled on occasionally about "the brand" etc., and seems a bit fixated on marketing issues.  And it's troubling to a lot of us. 

That stated, it's a bit of a leap to say that the administration hired him to "rebrand Michigan athletics."  It seems to me that his overall CEO experience, Michigan ties, and Michigan pedigree are what got him hired.  And it seems to me he got hired to fix a broken football program and otherwise manage Michigan athletics since Bill Martin was stepping down. 

You may have information I lack, so I'm asking the question sincerely.  Just curious as to the basis for your assertion.


October 5th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

the most important question not asked is whether the athletes on the field like what we are piping in..

Even though ITBH, Lose Yourself, Seven Nation Army, etc seem to be cliche, the players MUST get pretty amped up when 110K+ sing along.  In today's world, we will never see a unique piped in song for more than a week, unless it is as specific as ITBH.  So the metric should really be whether the music is uplifting (ie 7 Nation, etc), or ridiculous (Neil, Journey).

Frankly, the only reason Don't Stop Believin' is piped is for 2 words


October 5th, 2011 at 12:30 PM ^

Where did we get the wacky idea that what the athletes like is the most important thing? I want the players to be happy, but players don't pay for their tickets. Fans do. So if fans don't like something, that's bad, even if the players like it.

And anyway, the players probably like a raucous environment more than anything. The best way to create that is by keeping the fans happy.


October 5th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

ND doesn't do any of this stuff and pulled Top 10 recruiting classes under Weis.  Also their players seem pumped to play most of the time.  At least up until they commit back breaking mistakes.

Honestly if you have to use "We pump in some regional band whose mascara budget exceeds that of the local whorehouse" as a recruiting tool, it's a bad sign.  Coaching, NFL development, academics, those should sell.  Not "We play RAWK!".


Pibby Scott

October 5th, 2011 at 2:52 PM ^

or I would.

I've said it elsewhere. The day I hear of a recruit coming to Michigan because he likes "In the Big House" or some such, I will go drown myself in the nearest tube of True Blue Raw Hair Dye (available at Hot Topic) 

Because really, that line is the silliest way of selling "RAWK" to the Michigan Fan Base. A few yahoos actually think it helps with the players or something and so they put up with it.

Seriously. The song and the Band are a disgrace. It's on par with that absolutely godawful "April in the D" song from a few years back by the GR act "Good Luck Joes". There's no way in hell it attracts a single viable player...ever. 




October 5th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

Besides hy headline sounding creepy, check out this diary:

Lots of interesting discussions from marketing professionals. One interesting idea is you have to do things to "Recruit Talent" if your players are employees. Many companies offer great pay/benefits, etc. Michigan offers Coaching, Development, etc. but some 18 year olds want to go to oregon because the uniforms are sweet. Some go to OSU for free tattoos. I think DB wants us to be on the same level as other schools, where we say "we have fun unis too! we have night games too! we have XYZ too!"


October 5th, 2011 at 11:27 AM ^

While you guys are right that this is not a scientific survey in any way, the responses to other questions seem to make it clear that this is not a band of Great Tradition zealots who just hate everything. They seem to hate one specific thing.

Maybe that's the influence of the blog but if that was as effective as I want it to be a lot of these answers would be different.


October 5th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

I completely agree this is not a scientific survey so too big of conclusions should not be drawn.  However, it is likely that the group who would like Pop Evil is the group that took this survey: males, 18-40.  Thus, it is quite likely the anti-ITBH drum can be beat with authority.

I mean, do we think the over 50 year old crowd sitting in the suites/club seats were saying to Brandon, "You know Dave, I could really go over for some warmed over Nickelback.  Any way you can put that over the speakers?  Particularly when the team is getting ready to come onto the field?  Thanks."

The only group not in the survey that potentially would like ITBH are young women, and again, that's very likely not Pop Evil's core constituency (though, to be fair w/ their type of music, I'm sure they have some women in their fan base - it's not like they are Rush or Slayer*)

* Trust me on the Rush and Slayer.  I like those bands and I've been to their concerts and they are generally dude-fests.


October 6th, 2011 at 12:16 AM ^

One thing to be aware of, the conclusion you draw is also a direct result of the nature of the survey.  i.e. the way the questions were asked, and the specific nature of the options, dictate a specific style of outcome.  Not really going to harp on it, because it's your blog. 

Also, creating a good survey takes a lot of work and experience.   I work with very talented marketers and I still have to work very hard to help them understand how to create truly non-directional unbiased research. 

Deep Under Cover

October 5th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

because I know people will be waiting with bated breath for them.

- On the volume of the piped music: It tends to fluctuate, drastically at times.  About half the time it is about right, half the time WAY TOO LOUD.  The most annoying part is that you can hear them changing the volume up and down.  This is understandable with the band since you cannot always determine how the mics will pick up the sound (and the band music can never be too loud), but unacceptable with the piped in music.

- ITBH: I don't think this song would be so bad if it was just some promo song, but when you associate a makeup wearing band you've never heard of with it, it really makes it cheesy.  If this was a nameless, faceless band, I don't think I would mind it as much.  Still inifnitely worse than the Victors tho.

- Corporate events: I am not surprised at how that is skewed! Given the anti-Brandon-Corporations-Acting-Corporation-y sentiment that is often voiced around here, it really makes sense.  I don't mind it, but its no shocker a lot of people here do.


October 5th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

As a lacrosse alum, "phew" to some of those responses.  Thanks for throwing us a bone on the other sport promos.

As a football fan, it seems that I am generally in line with the majority in this very scientifically sound survey.  I want to know who decided that "In the Big House" was a good idea.

Six Zero

October 5th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

That's a whole lot of "STRONGLY DISAGREE" right there.

I wonder how much the new CMO would've paid Gallup or someone to provide this market research.  Nice job.


October 5th, 2011 at 12:17 PM ^

I was one of the 219 that strongly liked ITBH as a song. I'm a Victors Club member, have tickets in the Jack Roth Club and do like the song. I did even (for $1.29) buy the song to have on my iPhone to blast at 6 am when I pull into the Blue Lot to set up my tailgate. 

I do however do not like ITBH when the team takes that field, This should always be The Victors from the band.

In general all of the piped music, including the band, is terriblely loud in the jack roth club. You cannot adjust the volume and it is way too loud. 

Go Blue!


October 5th, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

It's 400 people that enjoy in the big house when the team takes the field.  


400 out of 3000 ENJOY IT.  That's not a good percentage.  And the Likes to the Hates is like 1-4.  The neutrals are just that neutral.  


October 5th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

this is not measuring what they would measure. A more formal survey would include questions like these:

  • About how much money do you spend on Michigan athletics in a given year?
  • How likely are you to increase the amount you spend in the next year?
  • Which of these factors is most important to you when considering how much you would spend?

It would, as suggested below, also include some sort of random sampling ... the nice thing for the athletic department is that online surveys generally skewing toward more affluent people isn't an issue, given that those are the target audience of this marketing in the first place. (That's probably less true with respect to surveys about college activities in general. It would be interesting to find out what percentage of ticketholders have less than a college education and are not working on getting one.)

That being said, there's no guarantee that a) Gallup or a competitor would present the data to the marketing group in a way that would clearly explain what issues need to be addressed (for that matter, the CMO might ask for the data and have in-house people use it) or that b) Brandon would listen to what the results showed. Clients have a funny way of making the numbers say what they want them to say, no matter how you word the reports that present those numbers.


October 5th, 2011 at 11:22 AM ^

Granted, a selected sample, but still good info. Some of it actually surprised me. More "Neutrals" than I was expecting.

Brian - what do you plan to do with this? Can your sources etc. get it to the AD? Is it more just justification for those of us who don't like ITBH?


October 5th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

So taking a quick look my immediate reaction is people like piped in RAWK music but it should be local (ie, the White Stripes and Eminem). Peeps aren't AMPED UP YO about Pop Evil or Journey or Neil Diamond. Maybe due to the age of the people who replied they'd be more inclined to like Kanye (All of the Lights), or Jay-Z (Run this town), or possibly some currently popular RAWK band (none come immediately to mind).


October 5th, 2011 at 11:26 AM ^

I misunderstood the "I like old highlights on the jumbotron" to mean "I like the hightlights better on the old jumbotron" rather than "I like highlights of old games on the new jumbotrons". So you should actually have 51 Strong Disagree, and 838 Strongly Agree for that one.

Probably skews the data horrible.