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Marketing Guru Guido D’Elia to Return to Penn State as College of Comm Instructor

by Ali Fogarty and Kevin Horne

The father of “The Greatest Show in College Football” will return to Penn State for the Fall 2014 semester as an adjunct instructor in the College of Communications. Guido D’Elia, the director of branding and communications for Penn State football from 2004 to 2012, will teach COMM 497a, called Promotional Video Agency.

“We’re excited about this course — which will be an application-based, small-enrollment course that will involve marketing, communication, and video production,” College of Communications associate dean Marie Hardin wrote in an email. “Guido D’Elia has the experience and expertise to teach it. This will be a great opportunity for our students.”

According to the register, D’Elia’s class will provide “experience in a team environment producing strategic communication videos for campus clients, including those in athletics and academic units. Students will fill a variety of roles related to strategic marketing, including needs analysis, developing solutions, managing client relations and creating effective video.” The course will meet once a week on Monday nights and requires an application and interview process to register.

In simpler times, D’Elia was perhaps the single greatest subject for debate in the athletic department. Some accused D’Elia and his company Mind Over Media for synthesizing the game day atmosphere at Beaver Stadium with marketing gimmicks like “Classic Day” (fans were instructed to wear tie die shirts) and “Favorite Jersey Day”. He also received some heat for incorporating more piped in music during games and silencing the Blue Band a little too often (who could forget the great #7to1 debate?).

Others praised D’Elia for his marketing vision and promoting the annual White Out games and reinventing “The Penn State Football Story” television show. Zombie Nation became a mainstay under D’Elia’s tenure, among other favorites like Football Eve.

D’Elia was also responsible for organizing Joe Paterno’s public funeral arrangements, and served as a close confidant to the coach all the way up until his death.

“He was a member of the family,” said one Paterno family member, who asked not to be identified, to the Patriot News in 2012. “There was a lot of love between those two. And Guido was involved in planning the funeral procession [through State College], he was the guy who turned the Beaver Stadium lights on [after Paterno died] at night and he planned the memorial service [at Bryce Jordan Center].”

The university cut ties with D’Elia in February 2012 presumably as part of a post-scandal rebranding effort, although no reason was ever stated publicly.

D’Elia did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story.

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