By Erin Vogel
December 5, 2012
Northwestern University is on its way to the 2013 Gator Bowl – and the Wildcats are showing their excitement for the big game by joining in on the meme craze, accepting Wildcat-themed submissions through Facebook and Twitter.
The university announced Sunday it has accepted an invitation to play Mississippi State in this year’s Gator Bowl, which will be held on New Year’s Day in Jacksonville, Fla.
Matt Paolelli, Web content producer for Northwestern University relations, came up with the meme after noticing several tweets congratulating the university on the Gator Bowl invite were using the letters “NW” to abbreviate Northwestern instead of the correct “NU.”
He was planning on creating a handy guide to Northwestern abbreviations until he saw a Northwestern-themed meme on Twitter and decided to run with that idea instead. The abbreviation confusion was the inspiration for a meme featuring The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials, with the text: “I don’t always abbreviate Northwestern University – but when I do, I know to use NU.” Another meme urging the Wildcats to “slay all the taxes” is a reference to the Gator Bowl’s sponsor, TaxSlayer.com.
According to Paolelli, the mistake is fairly common – ESPN also shortens Northwestern to “NW.” He said that the officials from the school’s athletics department have tried to reach out to the sports network to correct them, but no luck yet.
Paolelli has been using Photoshop to make his memes, but he said so far most of the submissions have been created using the website Meme Generator. He said the university doesn’t have any specific requirements for the submissions, only that the chosen meme is used properly and that the creator expresses some Northwestern pride – preferably, the positive kind.
“We’re trying to keep the memes positive to build excitement for the Gator Bowl, so we’re not posting any that take shots at Mississippi State,” Paolelli said. “We’re looking for a great combination of humor and school spirit.”
The university will probably continue to accept meme submissions until game day on Jan. 1.
Memes can be submitted through Twitter using the hashtag #B1GCatsMemes or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I think NU has a very creative community, and I think it will be fun to see how they show their purple pride through these memes,” Paolelli said. “Some people have been surprised to hear that Northwestern would be doing something like this… but we’re just trying to have some fun.”¿
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