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Interim President Jeff Ettinger inside Morrill Hall on Sept. 20, 2023. Ettinger gets deep with the Daily: “It’s bittersweet.”
Ettinger reflects on his presidency
Published April 22, 2024

Dinky the Elephant is about to fall flat on his trunk

With the introduction of the new Dinkytown mascot — an elephant aptly named “Dinky” — I think it is pertinent to discuss why the Dinkytown Business Alliance (DBA) thinks this will be the hot new advertising scheme to bring patrons to the area.

The goal of this campaign is to attract alumni and Twin Cities folk into Dinkytown, creating a more diverse base of customers. But why does the DBA think that a mascot, especially an elephant, will draw in more business?

Giving Dinkytown its own mascot and trying to differentiate it from the University isn’t an effective strategy. Dinkytown and University of Minnesota are attached at the hip, and students are the main source of business for many these restaurants. It would be wonderful to see some new faces, but who would want to stroll into what is basically considered a part of the campus if they aren’t students themselves?

Opting for a mascot who can’t hold a candle to Goldy the Gopher certainly isn’t going to help things, especially if the goal is to cater toward alumni. If the DBA wants graduates to come back to Dinkytown, they will want to be reminded of the University’s rodent pal, not confronted by a clumsy, unknown elephant.

This ad campaign seems like something that would appeal more to students than any other demographic, especially since part of the promotional video consists of the mascot pedaling a ride-share bike with its back two legs dragging behind it. With that in mind, I think it would be in Dinkytown’s best interest to focus on students — and the business that they bring — rather than outside sources. With more University attendees living in the area, it would be a shame to shift focus elsewhere and lose sight of the customers that are right in front of them.

Kaylee welcomes comments at [email protected]

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