Tuesday, January 10, 2012


What If Colleges Ran Attack Ads?

The rise of Super PACs and the glorious display of democracy that is the Republican primary season got me thinking about attack ads in other contexts.  What if colleges ran attack ads?

Western State says it has a “tradition of excellence,” but is this excellent?  (shot of cafeteria food)  Or this?  (shot of long line at advising center)  Call Western State, and tell it what a craphole it is.

Taylor believed St. Somebody would help her get a good job.  How did that work out, Taylor?  (shot of Taylor with “are you kidding me?” expression -- camera pulls back to show her working the register at fast food place)  Would you like fries with that, or do you want a real degree?

With regional variations, it could get ugly.  A red-state version:

Dave and Jill entrusted their daughter’s education to Dead Guy College.  (picture of well-scrubbed nuclear family)  But some tenured radical there introduced her to women’s studies (dramatic music, reverse-polarity image of daughter)  Dead Guy College: Is it worth the risk?

Invariably, some smarty-pants types would launch viral attacks on youtube:

“I’m Mike.  This is Rob.  Say hi, Rob!  (Rob waves)  We’re gonna search for a parking space at Flagship U.  Here goes! (several minutes of fast-motion gonzo footage ensue, in which our heroes are repeatedly frustrated in their quest to park)  Wow!  Sure is a good thing I don’t have to get to class!  That’s because I take online classes at Nowhere U.”

I’d expect the elites to hit back with passive-aggressive snob appeal:

“(wasp-y baritone narrator) You could get an English degree from Midtier State.  You could.  You could make do with used cars, studio apartments, and your very own blog.  Sure you could.  Or, (stirring music swells) you could get serious. (handsome man smiles, climbs into Ferrari)”

Maybe we should stick with the optimistic autumnal stuff instead.

I'd still much rather see any of those than see this.

(Warning: once you've heard that Appalachian is hot-hot-hot, you can never unhear it.)
Or a CC could run the equivalent of those "don't wake up in a ditch" or "daughter marry a weirdo" ads, where the freshman goes off and gets drunk and parties all day while not learning anything in a math class taught in a foreign language, ending up occupying Wall Street for the rest of his life ... while the CC student lives happily ever after.
Because democratic primaries are so sweet and innocent...uh huh.

The ASU link creeped me out.

I can see the smaller lib arts schools saying the following "oh, you want to take intro to lit with 400 other people. How now. I'm going to take it with 15. You have fun with that."

It's what we said from our SLAC to our friends at Flagship U.
If you get tired of Deaning, you have a great future in advertising.
I've seen most of those, just without mentioning the other school by name. That may be because they aren't really competing against one other school, their competing against another type of school.
I love it. The ASU one is scary.

Who the heck did Appalachian hire to put together the HotHotHot thing? The president's admin assistant, right?
Bad ads are everywhere.
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