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30 seconds of fame

by chunshek at 11:46 AM on March 01, 2002

The school I go to, the place where I will call my alma mater in about 2 years time, is starting a huge marketing campaign. The goal? It apparently believes that it is just as good as MIT and Harvard, and heck, even Olin College, and therefore should attract a more diverse range of students, instead of the current make-up:

80% white
82% male
75% has CS as initial major (although many change to MIS or EE soon after they realize CS is not about playing computer games)

Somehow, the school decides that the best way to attract minority, girls and students who won't marry their computers, is to put together a TV commercial. So in everyone's mailbox you find a lime green flyer saying: "We can't promise you your 15 minutes of fame, only 30 seconds."

On the day of the casting call, hundreds of people filled in applications, hoping to be the cool-looking chemistry student wearing funky goggles pouring some green liquid from one test tube into another, or the token female mechanical engineering student working on a new car showing how tough she is, for everyone in New England to see.

Exactly how the ad will attract minority students or females into the "third-oldest engineering university in the country"? I'm not sure. I wonder how these "30 seconds of fame" will reflect on the school and appeal to prospective students and parents thereof. Call me biased, but somehow I am under the impression that community colleges put up TV ads, but not national universities.

comments (1)

who is their target audience? if it's the same as the community colleges, then, maybe, but they're not going to lure people away from ivy league schools this way.

it would seem to me that a better way to go would be to spend the marketing money funding some public-minded research program for the students, that would give the school more of an appeal, academically.

by kd at March 1, 2002 3:35 PM

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