The Auburn men’s basketball team is flying high, and the excitement for the program is boiling over for the fans.
The athletics department has decided to embrace the madness.
Auburn released new shirts last week leaning into the zany corners of the fanbase online — and fans have flocked to the shirts in turn.
“Within hours, we could tell that the visitors to the website and also the amount of people that are buying the shirt well exceeded our expectations,” said Dan Heck, Auburn’s assistant athletics director for marketing and fan engagement.
The new shirts read ‘You just lost to Auburn basketball and our social media mob’ — a nod to how, after games, fans have taken to flooding the replies when opposing teams post the final score of the game, completely taking over the posts and flaunting their win with memes.
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The jokes are largely nonsensical, but large in number: The official account for the Alabama men’s basketball team posted the final score after Auburn beat Alabama 81-77 on Jan. 11, and the post was swamped with 5,000 comments, almost all of them from Auburn fans, after their defeat. Days later, Ole Miss posted the final score of Auburn’s 80-71 win over the Rebels, and the replies have topped 2,600.
“We knew our fans were excited about Twitter,” Heck said, saying he was glad to produce the shirt for fans.
Despite there being some confused, out-of-the-loop fans, there was an overwhelmingly positive response to the shirt.
Due to the popularity of the shirt, there are talks of new designs following the phrase ‘social media mob’ and other meme-inspired shirts.
“We’re always looking at items that we think our fans would be excited about,” said Heck. “This definitely proved there’s a marketplace for the movement.”
The memes most commonly feature Bruce Pearl, the players and, most recently, peacocks.
The peacock came into play before the victory against Alabama with a post on the online blog College and Magnolia. Ryan Sterritt, the writer of the article, said Auburn fans shouldn’t fear what could go wrong as Auburn’s team flies to great heights — but embrace the climb and strut instead.
Sterritt argued that worrying about future opponents and what could go wrong is for the team to do, and that the fans should just be confident, supportive and even obnoxious, with no sense of fear.
The post clearly resonated with fans, as many of those fans on Twitter started putting the peacock emoji in their posts and putting peacocks in those memes.
Again, the athletics department embraced the madness: Auburn posted the peacock after the team’s win at Ole Miss and added it to the team’s display name on Twitter.
The ride’s been wild and Auburn is embracing the twists and turns.
The new shirt is being sold on shop.auburntigers.com. Fittingly for an idea born on the Internet, the shirt is being sold exclusively online.