Let’s pretend you are an institution of higher learning. Let’s say the name of your institution starts with the letter D. Now you want something special for your marketing, something that talks about the special magic that occurs when a student comes to your university. So what do you call it? Anything BUT “D+.” Well, unless you’re Drake University. Much to the school’s surprise, some have taken the now-dead recruitment campaign amiss. Go figure. Maybe they needed a better slogan. How about, “Drake, the ultimate safety school.” I sure hope the faculty are smarter than the admissions office.
The only thing dumber than the campaign is the school’s effort to explain it away.
In hindsight, introducing the concept and the testing that was conducted with the target audience may have minimized some of the concerns that have been expressed, and we are very sorry that many of you were caught by surprise as a result.
How to say “Mistakes were made,” in 42 words.
[A] visual representation of the theme is a stylized D + graphic, which was designed to catch the attention of high school students who are bombarded with college and university materials to the point that they are often in information overload and unable to differentiate among the many institutions that have contacted them.
Certainly no one else was saying that their school was one step above outright failure.
When presented with a brochure cover design that featured the stylized D+ graphic, more than three-quarters of the respondents indicated the cover grabbed their attention either a little or a lot. In addition, nearly 90 percent of the respondents felt the concept was unique from other college and university materials they have seen.
Numbers are nice but sometimes you have to use your brain.
The D+ was not designed to stand alone or represent a grade. Instead, it was designed to be paired with prose and draw attention to the distinctive advantages of the Drake experience.
Just because it was designed to do one thing doesn’t mean it doesn’t do something else as well. But the best is yet to come
Our experience in the survey and in the field suggests that the kind of students whom we want to attract to Drake easily understand and appreciate the irony of the D+.
Ahhh, irony the last excuse of the incompetent. Or, as Calvin Trillin once said, “I never did very well in math – I could never seem to persuade the teacher that I hadn’t meant my answers literally.”
Wonder what the folks who teach marketing at Drake think about this.