Discover the right message

The University should target the public with ads, not future students.

Editorial board

As students here at the University of Minnesota, we have an intimate understanding of what it means to be âÄúDriven to Discover.âÄù ThatâÄôs why we are here. The UniversityâÄôs advertising campaign, however, has a questionable target audience. We should focus on convincing the public and legislature the University is a great school, not just future students.

The University currently faces a heavy reliance on private donors, and that means making the case of a strong, essential research institute would benefit us. However, the 2011 ad campaign for the University says this yearâÄôs focus will be on the âÄúvalue and distinctiveness of the student experience.âÄù Scoreboard displays at TCF Bank Stadium, stories on the University websiteâÄôs home page and social media activities have an influence on prospective students âÄî not on the general public or state legislature, which is who we should be targeting.

With the ad campaignâÄôs budget already cut by more than half this year, the University and its advertising agency should reevaluate how to go about creating public goodwill and support. The University is flooded with applications each year; it has no problem attracting students. We should try to improve public opinion of the University and its role in the Twin Cities and the rest of the state. Improved public and legislative support has a much higher likelihood of bringing in funding for the University.

âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù needs to build support in the public and private spheres, not waste its time attracting more high school students. We donâÄôt need videos about the UniversityâÄôs greatness for prospective students; instead we should spread the message that the University will help the state with its research achievements and other benefits.