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During the McDonald’s Magic City Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, SHEEN visited the Ford Tailgate zone to sit down with Timeless Brands USA, CEO and Founder, Ryan Hill and partner Imari Havard.

Timeless Brands is an Atlanta-based events architecture firm specializing in creating unique experimental marketing strategies and entertainment concepts. Here’s how they’re making an impact for HBCU’s everywhere.

S: So how did you start Timeless Brands?

RH: We started with the concept of Play Date. Imari is the founder and creator of Play Date which is a national game night alternative to the typical bar and club scene. From there we were asked by Ford Motor Co. to represent them on the Tom Joyner cruise. That was eight years ago. We have been the longest consistent running African-American owned agency to represent them on that cruise in the past ten years. We’re really fortunate and blessed to continue to have these large opportunities and we’re super excited about being (right here) at Magic City Classic helping them celebrate 75 years. I mean 75 years of an HBCU classic and for Ford to agree to come back and make it an even bigger situation, that’s really (means) fortune 500 companies (are) paying attention to African Americans and saying we understand your opinions, we believe in your values and we’re willing to invest our time, our riches, our plans into our community. That’s a huge, huge statement. We want to personally thank the Central Alabama Ford dealerships for putting on this event. These guys in the state of Alabama are saying that African-Americans are important and their putting their money behind it by being at an event like this.

IH: Ford has shown a commitment to the African-American community for years. Timeless has had the privilege to partner with Ford because of our ability to touch the community to grasp through an interactive format has allowed us to communicate the brand message, the products that they offer, the service that they offer through an entirely entertainment and fun based platform that gives people a good feeling about the brand. So, they learn about the brand, but they have a great time.

S: SHEEN Magazine is on an HBCU Tour right now with Chapman Foundation. Tell us, what is the importance of attending an HBCU in 2016?

RH: Let me tell you something, Imari has a daughter that graduated from an HBCU and I’ve got two kids that are on their way to college. I do not think the world can deny  the value of an HBCU education anymore.When you take a look at the Hamptons, the Howards,  the FAM(U)s, the Albany States, the Voorhees College, the Bethune-Cookmans, the Xaviers…

IH: A&M, Morehouse, Spelman…

RH: Morehouse, Spelman, Clark… The list just continues to go on. And if you don’t think HBCU education is valuable, begin looking one level below the C-suite and major companies around the world and you will see the African Americans that went to HBCUs making huge impacts, not just in African-American spending but on a global stage HBCU education is represented.

S: Where do you see HBCU classics and homecomings going in the future?

RH: We’re looking at plans like ESPN and looking at the formatting of how we’re bringing in some of the bowls series and Timeless is launching right now a brand new website. It’s called the sportsmarketingauthortiy.com in launches December 1st. What you will see on that website is what we’re defining as a brand new way that’s going to change the HBCU game-day experience. We have a three-step process across 3 classic tier one events that will literally set a new stage for the HBCU game-day experience.

Photos by Charles Beason