Oh my heart

Mike Martin’s talent and love for UGA helped him create a hit television ad for his alma mater

Oh my heart

Photo by: Peter Frey

When UGA put out a bid for a new public service announcement, Mike Martin pitched an idea that now airs for all the Bulldog Nation.

Martin (ABJ ’95) and three other UGA graduates came together to collaborate on the task, dubbing themselves the Bulldog Collective. Their idea is now the iconic, distinctive Chapel bell commercial that made its first appearance last football season.

“Any university can show happy students in classrooms and pretty trees and green grass,” Martin says. “We really tried to find things that made Athens unique, and the experience of being a student here unique.”

He decided to center the spot on UGA’s famous Chapel bell, remembering the distinctive noise and celebratory nature of the bell. Then, the group contacted Athens’ own R.E.M. and gained permission to use their song “Oh My Heart” as the musical accompaniment.

“They had never before allowed any of their songs to be licensed for commercial use,” Martin says. After securing the song he sent out requests for volunteers.

The day of the shoot, nearly 200 UGA alumni, students, employees and community residents of all ages lined up to ring the bell. When the spot aired last football season, Martin says the positive response was overwhelming.

Martin’s success goes beyond the PSA. He has worked for various advertising agencies across the country, with clients like McDonald’s, Harley-Davidson and Dunkin’ Donuts.

“One of the most fun things I’ve worked on was during my time in Minneapolis. I pitched and won the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky account.” Martin’s pitch would become Jack Link’s “Feed your wild side” slogan.

After tiring of Minnesota’s cold winters, Martin returned to Atlanta to start a company, Skylab-B Communications. He works one-on-one with businesses to develop marketing strategies, giving each company specialized attention.

“Some companies need an army, and some need the Green Berets,” he says. “We’re the Green Berets.”

Skylab-B’s clients range from an Atlanta mattress store to the Department of Homeland Security. Martin works with Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, which strives to raise public awareness of human trafficking.

“Having my own business is one of the most humbling things I’ve ever done,” he says. “I can really see the things I am good at, and the tasks that require outside help.”

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