Viral videos depict fallout between Flash, Zippy


Kent State senior forward Jimmy Hall makes a move to the rim against Akron senior center Isaiah Johnson at the James A. Rhodes Arena on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Kent State beat Akron, 70-67.

Quaylyn Hairston

The long-time rivalry between Kent State and The University of Akron mounted in a viral marketing campaign launched in February. A collaboration between both universities, these videos depicted the origins of the two mascots’ feud: a break-up.

“I grew up in Kent,” said Meghan Meeker, social media specialist at Akron and the creator of the romance-rivalry videos of Flash and Zippy. “The rivalry had always been on my mind.”

Weeks before the start of basketball season, Meeker pitched the idea of a break-up between the mascots to Nicole Losi, director of social media at Kent State. Once Meeker brought her idea to Losi over the phone, she had no trouble selling it.

“I knew the idea was something we wanted to collaborate with,” Losi said. “(It was like) refreshing the rivalry in a fun way.”

It took one day to film both videos on both campuses. Each university posted the videos that depicted its mascot’s side of the story to social media. On Facebook, Kent State’s has received 74,000 views so far, and Akron has had 73,000.

“The rivalry video on Instagram and Twitter was our highest performing video since September 2016,” Losi said. “The responses from the videos have been positive as well.”

Students from both universities find the playful competitiveness engaging.

“I first heard about the rivalry honestly when I first toured,” said Alex Dexter, a junior applied engineering major at Kent State. “The guide was cracking jokes about Akron.”

Like Kent State, Akron displays many signs around its campus letting students know when sporting events take place. Theirs just look different than Kent’s on game day.

“It’s #BeatKent signs everywhere,” said Victor Pyles, a senior history major at Akron.

Pyles feels the rivalry is good for both institutions because it gives not only the athletes something to look forward to, “but the students get hyped up, too.”

Dexter and Pyles both watched the marketing videos.

“They were kind of intense,” Dexter said.

“I think the videos of Flash and Zippy were pretty cool,” said Pyles. “I wasn’t aware of the relationship between Zippy and Flash before the rivalry.”

Both Meeker and Losi explained how fun it was to collaborate with each other’s creative teams and that they all will be working together again in the future.

“I look forward to continuing the relationship,” Losi said. “We worked really well together.”

Meeker said she thinks the rivalry between both colleges is healthy for one another.

“(It’s good to) collaborate academically while having something fun to poke at,” Meeker said.

Friday’s game will be the second the season between Kent State and Akron in the MAC Conference, this time at home in the M.A.C. Center.

“The atmosphere in the arena will be electric as always,” Pyles said. “Expect a good game.”

Quaylyn Hairston is an entertainment reporter for the Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected]