Sunday, September 5, 2010

We all make mistaks

I remember once, as a kid, seeing a very brief news item about a traffic sign, painted on the road, warning drivers they were entering a "school zone."  School, was spelled "sckool."  Funny enough to make the six o'clock news.

But, could such a thing possibly happen on a national level, causing embarrassment, say, to one of the nation's institutions of higher learning?

It did.  The poor folks at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, allowed their PR team to put in motion a campaign around the notion of "D+."  The "plus" is to signify an advantage of some sort.

The campaign was "designed to catch the attention of high school students" who may find it difficult to differentiate among the countless come-ons they receive from prospective colleges.

I bet it's succeeding.

I have to admit, from a high school perspective, it's kind of funny.  In an email defending the campaign, survey results are carefully drawn out to show that target audiences found the campaign interesting.

A few thoughts:

1.  I think the concept would work much better if it was tongue-in-cheek, as in: "Now that we have your attention, here's why Drake is a good school for you."

2.  The problem is in taking it seriously.  Only compounding the challenge is that school officials now need to explain the campaign to faculty and staff.

3.  If the campaign was designed to simply increase awareness and cause people to talk about Drake, they've already succeeded.

If you take a look at the firm that created the campaign, you see right away this doesn't appear to be a fly-by-night or a bunch of idiots who don't know what they're doing.  Part of the execution seems a bit off, but other than that, if Drake is smart, the school can make lots of hay out of this.

And, after all, that's what this is about.

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