Drake brands itself as a D+
Log onto Drake University's admissions site and -- bam -- you are greeted by a giant blue D+.
This week officials at the Des Moines college have had to explain over and over exactly what the D+ means. As you could imagine, lots of people do not appreciate the brilliance of this marketing strategy.
The overall message: D+ DOES NOT MEAN DRAKE IS A NEARLY FAILING COLLEGE.
Okay, so what does it mean?
There's the explanation on the Web site: "When we talk about D+, that's what we mean. Every moment at Drake is one that has the power to educate, to transform, to open minds and to unleash potential -- to introduce who you are, to who you hope to become."
There's the explanation two top Drake officials gave faculty and staff in an e-mail Tuesday morning, according to the Awl: "Our experience ... suggests that the kind of students whom we want to attract to Drake easily understand and appreciate the irony of the D+."
There's also the explanation the vice president for admissions gave the Des Moines Register: "We knew people would have some fun with it. We knew there would be Facebook chatter or Twitter chatter. The idea was to drive more people to our Web site or the view books themselves or the other publications to find more information about Drake."
Despite all of these of these explanations, people are unmercifully making fun of the Bulldogs.
A blog entry about the campaign on Adweek was titled, "Drake University's ad campaign gets big D+."
Drake journalism student Matt Vasilogambros wrote an article about the campaign for the Huffington Post and quoted a few students, including senior Josie Berg-Hammond:
"It just seems that there are so many other ways at promoting the school with funnier slogans that are eye-catching, without something that seems too obviously related to the grade D+, which is kind of like a joke of a grade," Berg-Hammond said.
The meanest critiques came from freelance writer Katjusa Cisar in a column for the Awl:
The marketing team that dreamed up Drake University's latest campaign, "The D+ Advantage," got so carried away by an apparent allusion to positively charged molecules that it thought it could either ignore or, alternately, capitalize on one obvious fact: the logo is the grade for pathetically under-average schoolwork, a D-plus.
What do you think? Do you give this branding campaign a passing grade?
September 2, 2010; 6:40 PM ET
Categories: Admissions | Tags: Drake D+, Drake University
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