Monday, October 22, 2012

University Taglines

To be or not to be? A college on the East Coast uses "The Place to Be!" as its tagline. And why not? Everyone has to be somewhere. But unless the school wishes to target modern-day Hamlets who haven't decided whether to be or not, it has zero impact.

Another popular tagline is "Start Here, Go Anywhere." It's too popular, in fact. Dozens of schools use that same slogan or a close derivation. When an institution's tagline is so generic as to be interchangeable among schools, it's a sure sign that coherent strategy has "gone elsewhere."

Why do so many colleges use contrived and inept taglines? More importantly, what is the proper function of a tagline, and what do schools risk in deploying meaningless or absurd slogans? defines a tagline as "a slogan or phrase that conveys the most important … [feature] or benefit that the advertiser wishes to convey." However, emphasizing features in taglines is the hallmark of an amateur. Experts stress benefits instead.

An example of a feature-oriented tagline: "A Tradition of Leadership." A benefit-oriented tagline: "Where You're a Name, Not a Number." Features are inward-looking and self-oriented. Benefits are outward-looking and focused on the target audience's interests.

Sweet Briar College (Va.), a school for women, uses the tagline, "Think Is for Girls." They even render the word "Think" in pink to emphasize the pun. As taglines, puns are usually problematic. But Sweet Briar's slogan is brilliant. Sweet Briar's tagline is obviously a twist on the old clichè that "pink is for girls." This combination of the familiar with the unexpected makes it memorable. Unmemorable taglines are a waste of potential. The best taglines capture the imagination and can go viral ("Got milk?").

Marketing is strategic. Its purpose is to create a preference in the mind of the prospect and to motivate action based on that preference. Both coherent strategy and artful tactics are necessary. For tagline purposes, this means that a phrase or slogan should not be chosen because it "sounds good" to the administration. It should be selected based on its potential to engage and motivate the target audience. And it should be deployed how and where it will do the most good.

Some sample University taglines:

Knowledge is good – Faber College
Seize the moment, feel the momentum – SUNY Cortland
Only one Alma – Alma College
Invent the future – Virginia Tech
Women of influence – Russell Sage College
Do something great – THE Ohio State University
Do it with your head – University of Richmond
Get a life – University of Houston (City Campus)
The opportunity place – Bob Jones University
Uncommon journeys – Lewis & Clark College
Greed is good – University of Phoenix

Now if Colleges & Universities can only promise what they preach.

THE BEGINNING: 'Newsweek plans to end its print publication after 80 years and will shift to an all-digital format starting in early 2013. Job cuts are expected. Newsweek's last U.S. print edition will be its Dec. 31 issue. ... Barry Diller, the head of the company that owns Newsweek, announced in July that the publication was examining its future as a weekly print magazine. Diller said then that the brand was good around the world, but that producing a weekly news magazine in print form wasn't easy. The announcement of the change was made by Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co., on The Daily Beast website. ... Brown said that the online publication will be called Newsweek Global and will be a single, worldwide edition that requires a paid subscription. It will be available for tablets and online reading, with certain content available on The Daily Beast website.'

THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION : "There are 80 million Americans in the Millennial generation ... just as many Millennials as Boomers and twice as many of these 16-32 year-olds as there are Gen Xers. And although they were born after Reagan took office, 90% of Millennials will be old enough to vote on Election Day and over 60% say that they are extremely or somewhat likely to vote. That's almost 50 million votes up for grabs. Leading up to the 2012 election. Millennials ... are very aware of what's going on in politics. And they are involved and influential. ... When it comes to political comedies, they don't watch to get informed; they watch because they are informed. ... What a candidate thinks is funny tells Millennials who they really are. ... Politicians must leverage humor to connect with Millennials: this generation needs humor, and they're saying it will shape their votes."

--Comedy Central's "5 Rules to Win the Millennial Vote through Humor ": "Avoid political hack. Save the joke writers for AARP night. You can't force funny with young voters. Millennials want a candidate with a genuine sense of humor. ... Don't make light of serious issues, as fun as that is. As much as Millennials love a good laugh, they are fiercely compassionate. They want candidates with solutions, not wisecracks. ... It's ok for a candidate to make fun of himself. Humor humanizes, and a well-timed joke at one's own expense shows personality and self-awareness. Just don't make fun of your opponent, that's the job of professional comedians. ... Stay up late. Do an interview with a respected late night comedian. They're a great way to connect with the electorate. Not only will you have a professional host to keep things from stalling, but you'll be allowed to lighten up."

BIGGEST DONORS -- DEMOCRATS: "No. 1: Jeffrey Katzenberg, 61, Hollywood film producer and chief executive of DreamWorks Animation. Total: $2.566 million ... No. 2: Irwin Jacobs, 78, the founder and former chairman of Qualcomm. Total: $2.122 million ... No. 3 (tie): Fred Eychaner, founder of Chicago-based alternative-newspaper publisher Newsweb Corp. Total: $2.066 million ... No. 3 (tie): Jon Stryker, 54, a Michigan philanthropist.Total: $2.066 million ... No. 5: Steve Mostyn, 41, a Houston-based personal injury attorney. Total: $2.003 million."

BIGGEST DONORS - REPUBLICANS : "No. 1: Sheldon Adelson, 79, owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire. Total: $34.2 million ... No. 2: Harold Simmons, 81, owner of Contran Corp., a Dallas-based conglomerate worth an estimated $9 billion that specializes in metals and chemical production and waste management.Total: $16 million ... No. 3: Bob J. Perry, 80, head of a Houston real estate empire worth an estimated $650 million. Total: $15.3 million ... No. 4: Robert Rowling, 58, head of Dallas-based TRT Holdings. Total: $4.1 million ... No. 5: William Koch, 72, an industrialist whose South Florida-based energy and mining conglomerate is worth an estimated $4 billion. Total: $3 million."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Hillary Rodman Clinton (65), Doug Flutie (50), Annette Funicello (70), Jeff Goldblum (60), Kevin Kline (65), Bobby Knight (72), Brad Paisley (40), Juli Roberts …famous campus director, Julia Roberts (45).

TOP FIVE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN MOVIES – Rink Rats has gone into their movie vaults to select their top five political campaign movies. Try renting these in the next few weeks:

1).  The Candidate (1972)
2).  The War Room (1993)
3).  The Last Hurrah (1956)
4).  Primary Colors ((1998)
5).  Bulworth (1998)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/27, 3:30 PM ET, CBS: #10 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) visit Jacksonville to take on #2 Florida Gators (7-0).  Another weekend, another SEC battle; Florida will be tested but will prevail, too much offense. Florida 38 Georgia 24. Season to date (5-3)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/27, 4:30 PM ET, Nickoledon: #22 Willamette Bearcats (5-1) visit NWC foe #3 Linfield Wildcats (6-0). A HUGE pacific northwest game, this is a special year for Linfield and it will continue. Linfield 24 Willamette 21. Season to date (7-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/28, 4:25 PM ET, Fox: The New York football Giants (5-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3). The Giants can put some distant between them and their NFC East rivals with a win, but we pick an upset: Dallas 28 New York Giants 24. Season to date (6-1)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Florida 38 Georgia 24, Linfield 24 Willamette 21, Dallas 28 Giants 24, ULV over budget for Homecoming weekend, over $35,000. Season to date (21-10)

REMEMBERING GEORGE McGOVERN - The family's announcement: "At approximately 5:15 am Sunday morning, our wonderful father, George McGovern passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends. We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer. George McGovern died at the age of 90. Services will be held in Sioux Falls. Details will be announced shortly. In lieu of flowers, our family is requesting that donations be made to support Feeding South Dakota at

"Though routed by Richard Nixon, McGovern's 1972 campaign influenced the Democratic Party in the decades that followed and greatly changed the party's rules over how future presidential candidates and party leaders were chosen. He devoted much of his last three decades to anti-hunger issues, teaming with former senator Bob Dole, a Republican and one-time adversary in the Senate, to establish school-lunch programs in some of the world's poorest nations.

'In the storied history of American politics, I believe no other presidential candidate ever had such an enduring impact in defeat,' former president Bill Clinton said while was speaking in 2006 at the opening of the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell."

SALUTING FORMER REP. SAM GIBBONS, a Democrat and former Ways and Means chair who served in the House from 1963 to 1997- "The memorial service for Sam Gibbons was held in a church where, in his last days, the statesman sat in a wheelchair by the organ, singing with all the gusto he could find. It was his church, Palma Ceia Presbyterian, named for the neighborhood that Gibbons helped Tampa incorporate into its boundaries. ... Gibbons was a World War II hero who parachuted behind enemy lines on D-day, a state legislator who helped Tampa grow, a congressman who started the nation's preschool Head Start program, and a grandfather whose seven grandchildren called him 'Papa.' ... He died on Oct. 10 at age 92. ...

"Gibbons' conversations with NBC's Tom Brokaw [helped] inspire ... the news anchor to write 'The Greatest Generation.'"

NHL AT THE BRINK - And so it comes down to this: a week, maybe less, to not just save a season but a game's reputation; to save the reputation of its players and owners and to disprove the widely held notion -- one that grows by the day -- that hockey will just never get it right. Less than a week to prove that hockey isn't the crazy, drooling uncle of sport that deserves to be locked in the attic.

Next week; Trick or Treat and The Halloween party and Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
October 22, 2012

#III-26, 131

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