St. John’s University Celebrates Johnnies Day

MSG drawing with city in background and silhouette of fans cheering
February 1, 2023

Johnnies Day is coming.

On February 11, the entire St. John’s University community is invited to take part in an interactive celebration of school spirit both in person and on social media, culminating in the Men’s Basketball game between St. John’s and Providence at noon at Madison Square Garden.

Last summer, St. John’s University launched a unique “Education That Elevatesbrand campaign that drew a great deal of positive attention. Elena Damiani, Director, Media Planning & Partnerships, Office of Marketing and Communications, wanted to create a one-day experience that spotlighted the campaign’s many innovative design elements while engaging with as many St. John’s constituencies as possible.

“I wanted to have a component that focused on more than just buying ad space and placing an ad somewhere,” she stressed. “I sought something interactive that would allow people to experience part of our brand campaign,” she recently said.

Currently, the Penn Station Rotunda is awash in eye-catching St. John’s branding. Everyone attending the game is encouraged to post a selfie with those elements as a backdrop using the hashtags #SJUElevates and #JohnniesDay and tag @stjohnsu. Anyone doing so will be entered to win a $1,000 Visa® gift card through the Johnnies Day social sharing contest.

Ms. Damiani also saw the day as an opportunity to integrate a micro-influencer campaign featuring prominent alumni who will share their St. John’s stories and promote the event. “Traditionally, micro-influencer campaigns have been successful for small businesses, but I hadn’t found the right way to incorporate one.”

Ms. Damiani explained that businesses often send their products to micro-influencers who will then promote the product to their followers. “We don’t have a physical product that we can send to people, but what better ambassador is there for St. John’s than a successful graduate who has a large following on social media?” She consulted the University’s social media team, as well as other departments, to identify potential influencers.

Ms. Damiani sent a branded St. John’s care package to the influencers as a way to thank them for sharing their St. John’s pride on social media. The response was immediately positive. In attendance at the game will be Z-100’s Danielle Monaro ’95SVC and Diamond Cooper ’16CPS, and Power 105.1’s Gabe Pabon ’18CPS and Nyla Symone ’17CPS.

“The concept just fit nicely into the idea of school spirit on display, especially on a big game day,” Ms. Damiani offered. “That’s when everything connected. If it was going to fall on a big game day, then it made sense for it to happen in February when we have our Penn Station takeover, which creates the perfect backdrop for people to take selfies.”

Larry Dunn, aka Larry the Duck, recorded a video in support of Johnnies Day that appears on his Instagram page. He will also promote the event on his SiriusXM radio show (1st Wave, Channel 33 on SiriusXM).

Two days before the game, Johnny Thunderbird will attend the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show to personally invite the radio show crew to attend the game. Members of the St. John’s Dance Team and Cheerleading Team will perform in the rotunda as well. The basketball teams will wear branded Johnnies Day warm-up jerseys during practice and on the sideline. During halftime, Nyla Simone plans to spin music and engage with the crowd.

“It started off as a much simpler idea, but as I shared the concept with more people and brainstormed, it became more of an event,” Ms. Damiani recalled. “There are also in-person and social media aspects. Plus, there’s a Women’s Basketball game that day at St. John’s at 4 p.m. in Carnesecca Arena so it all fits together nicely.”

On Feb. 11, St. John’s T-shirts, rally towels, and treats will be available throughout the rotunda. St. John's fans can also enjoy a pregame meet up beginning at 10:30 a.m at Stout NYC during the 1870 Court Tailgate.

Razan Khalife ’10C, who owns the bakery Cakes by Nerwan, is preparing small cakes with Johnnies Day branding. “We’re reaching our fans, students, alumni, perspective students, potential employers, and of course, anyone traveling through Penn Station,” she said. “There are so many members of the St. John’s family.”