Appearance may not be everything. But it’s a lot.
Flags displaying Temple’s celebration of its 125th anniversary fly not only around campus, but also around TUCC and City Hall. Additionally, ads containing random Temple trivia dominate numerous SEPTA subway cars.
As of now, the estimated cost of this campaign is approximately $115,000, a mere 3.1 percent of the university’s $3.7 million advertising budget.
As The Temple News reports this week, this advertising campaign is meant to be an extension – the “next logical step” – of the “‘T’ Means More” campaign that began last year.
In difficult economic times, however, it is important and worthwhile to look closely at budgetary spending. And the campaign’s total cost, which equates to the tuition of about 10 in-state students, is a bit excessive for what seems to be an aimless advertising campaign.
The ads in the subways each display one of what will eventually be 125 random facts about Temple. They tease their audience to visit the anniversary Web site for more information.
All in all, the ads and flags look nice, but they beg one question:
Temple officials say the advertising campaign is to publicize and brand Temple – as if the ubiquitous Temple ‘T’ isn’t enough.
It’s difficult to see who these ads are targeting. The “‘T’ Means More” campaign was mostly geared toward alumni and asked for donations. This campaign simply informs people about Temple.
Soon, Suburban Station will be inundated with more aspects of the frivolous ad campaign. Temple will spend $65,000 to immerse the station in random Temple facts.
Temple officials say the goal of the current campaign is to “shift the perception of Temple from what it used to be.”
The next question:
Does Temple need a campaign like this right now? The number of prospective students visiting Temple is at a record high, and enrollment has been satisfyingly steady. And, certainly, alumni have attended Temple and already have their perceptions based on their experiences.
Even after hearing Temple and advertising officials explain the campaign, it’s difficult to understand its purpose. It’s not asking alumni for money, and it’s not seeking to recruit students – perhaps the two most obvious and important reasons for colleges to advertise.
In the bigger picture, $115,000 is a minute percentage of the university’s total operating budget. But the way we see it – the money could have been better spent, perhaps updating classrooms in Ritter Annex or being added to some financial aid packages.
The ads are meant to make people think about Temple in a positive light. Unfortunately, they instead make students think about where their tuition dollars are going.