I could be deported from Nebraska for admitting this, but I don’t follow football and I only have a vague idea who Bo Pelini is. I saw the photo on the right a couple of years ago. It’s one of those Face-in-hole images of the Cornhusker football coach, Bo Pelini. It’s funny. He looks a little slack-jawed. The cat looks annoyed. It’s all harmless fun.
Recently I became aware of a guy on Twitter, who calls himself @fauxpelini. I loved the play on words. I sat in on a conference call with him, and found him to be very bright and witty. He likes football and created a character around the persona of the coach. It is safe to say he has become a rousing success. He has nearly a hundred-thousand followers on Twitter and has the attention of the coach himself. A fan sent Faux the picture of Bo with the cat. When Faux adopted it as his Twitter photo it crossed the line from joke to brand. That’s why the Spring Game’s tunnel walk got so much attention.
I don’t know if it was Bo or a member of his staff who pushed for this, but it was a perfect bit of marketing. This short walk onto the field, cat in hand, showed a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. In that moment, he went from being the guy who’s “no Tom Osourne,” to the guy you’d invite over for beer and brats. Sometimes the gold goes to the guy who can take a joke.