As a public relations professional, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the new advertising campaign for Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. A private university trying to compete with larger schools, Drake University actually paid a public relations firm to come up with a marketing campaign that calls Drake University “D+”.
Called the “D+ Advantage”, it’s supposed to be selling the idea that Drake + Student = Success. What potential students will likely see though is a school that seems to be proud of its sub-standard education or one that likes to party at lot. While that might be appealing to some high school students looking for a university, it’s not likely to attract the ambitious students Drake University seems to be going for. What was Drake University thinking?
But, it gets worse. On the recruitment page of their website, one of the last lines about Drake and their new advertising campaign says this, “When it comes to choosing the college that fits you best, there’s simply no higher grade.” ……..Yep, I’ll be forking out $150,000 for that type of education for my kid – a D+.
What’s even sadder than this poorly thought out and executed ad campaign though is the fact that Drake University officials are actually defending it.
According to AdFreak, Drake officials say, “”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.” Did the PR firm not tell them most people don’t read “the prose”, but instead will simply see the logo and think “Why would I want to graduate with a D+ average?” Then move onto researching the next university, leaving Drake just a badly thought about university long left behind.
Unfortunately too, what the Drake University marketing campaign brings to light is a university run by people who aren’t even forward enough thinking to realize the vast majority of people who see that campaign are going to think of it in a poor light. So, while Drake University calls their campaign “edgy”, the rest of us call it “stupid”.
After all, let’s face it, when a university education is now well over $100,000 and the school your child goes to can have an enormous impact on their future career, would you really want your kid to be associated with a school that brags about its “D+ Experience?” I know I wouldn’t.
Add onto that a school headed up by people who are now running around like chickens with their heads cut off in an attempt to defend their idiotic decision and explain why this marketing campaign is a “really good idea” and, either your kid can’t get into another school or he’s expecting to party so much a D+ is something good to aim for.
Either way, I’d be worried.
Drake University ad campaign gets big D+ – AdFreak
Drake University’s disastrous ad campaign – Drake University website