Go forth Grinnellian
Topics/tags: Grinnell, advertising, short
This past Sunday, Grinnell placed a full-page advertisement in the Sunday New York Times.
I learned about the full-page ad from an alum. Another alum graciously sent me a photograph which I think had been posted to the Grinnell Alumni Facebook page .
The same day, I received a similar, but different, advertisement in the New York Times app on my cell phone.
I’m not sure how I feel about
Go Forth Grinnellian
as a tagline. At least it’s not
Go Fourth Grinnellian.
And it’s certainly much better than
No Limits . But it
would have been nice if there had been some discussion with
the faculty about taglines, or at least a presentation. The last
I’d heard, it was 3]. I wish Communications would, well, communicate more with us.
What does an advertisement in the Sunday Times cost? With a little effort, I found a pricing kit for Education advertisers in the Times. It looks like the advertisement cost about $135,000. That seems like a lot.
My first reaction was to ask
Couldn’t that money be better spent?
For example, we could have used it on the new Student Activities position
rather than cutting the core Student Activities budget (and, along the
way halving the budget for KDIC ). There likely would have been some
to spare. Or, better yet, we could increase wages for all of the Academic
Support Assistants on campus. Our ASAs are awesome and underpaid and deserve
better wages. But there are other factors too; given recent experiences
hiring in the Dean’s office, you’d think that would be an obvious move.
My second reaction was to wonder whether it would affect donations.
My first inclination as a donor was
If Grinnell can afford pointless ads,
it probably doesn’t need my money. But I tend to donate to specific
causes on campus, and those causes always need money. My next donation
is planned for the student food pantry .
Then I talked to a colleague who is sometimes wiser about such matters, or at least provides a different perspective. They suggested that there’s a value to building our name recognition. It is important to build our name recognition, not just so that we can recruit more students , but also so that people are more likely to consider hiring our students . If the ad contributes substantially to us getting one more full-pay student for each of the next four years, it has paid for itself. Will that happen? I don’t know; I’m not wise in such matters. But the stories look compelling and might get some folks to take a second look . If a thousand people follow the link to read more, and that leads to ten more applications, one of whom decides to enroll this year, it’s a start.
There you have it. You probably anticipated a rant. I admit that, were I in charge, I’d spend the money differently. For once, I’m willing to accept that there are different perspectives.
Go Forth Grinnellian? I’m still not sold. How about
The Grinnell Impact?
Changing the world, one Grinnellian at a time? Or something from
the mission statement, such as
Serving the common good? No; none of those
is very good. It appears I’m not cut out to be a slogan writer.
Postscript: In writing this musing, I ended up browsing a variety of
College pages. I’ve already mentioned that we have new pages about our
marking page. But there are changes everywhere. When did
Inclusion, and Community: Guiding Principles get added to the page
on our Mission statement?
And can we claim that The College
[h]as recycling bins for
paper, metal, cardboard, glass, plastics, and redeemables at every
when we no longer recycle glass? For that matter, why is
one of the three subpages for our Mission and
Values page rather than
Excellence in Education for Students in the Liberal Arts, which is
supposed to be one of our three core values? 
Ah well, those are topics for another musing.
 Even though I am an honorary member of two different classes at Grinnell, I am not permitted on the private Grinnell Alumni facebook page. That’s probably a good thing.
 I would definitely prefer
Know Limits to any of our taglines. But
I’m not in charge.
 Hmmm … it appears we have a new set of pages about our story and
messaging. I’m not sure how to parse
To ensure our creative feels
authentically Grinnellian, we created a series of traits that align with
the brand personality and set the tone for how our communications come to
I’m also not sure why we have our marketing strategy on the public
Web site .
 In spite of my preference for openness, I do think there are some things that should be kept private.
 I’ve always wondered why our radio station is
KDIC. The only explanation
I’d heard had been that it was a stupid student joke . But perhaps the
IC stands for
Iowa College. The
K is because we’re west of the
 Write the station name a few times in a row and you’ll understand.
 Yes, there are Grinnell students who do not get enough to eat. I’m glad that the thoughtful people in the CRSSJ have set up a food pantry on campus.
 Including more full-pay students.
 In CS, we didn’t need advertisements. Once one Grinnellian CS major
gets a job at a company, they naturally pave the way for others. I assume
that others find the same thing. However, since there’s a relatively
limited spectrum of
top companies in CS, the impact may be more obvious.
 Or even a first look.
 I’m glad that we are promoting sustainability.
Version 1.0 released 2018-10-23.
Version 1.0.2 of 2018-10-24.