Sunday, October 25, 2009

I don't get this either

Here is another entry in the Annals of Marketing That Can't Possibly Be Effective.

I assume that the idea is that you'll see this ad and think, "Wow, that girl is cute and hip and singing right to me. And this song isn't at all an irritating earworm!" What I find surprising is that she says, in the song, that internet college is not real college. Well, she says they're not all the same and you have to find "the right one." But University of Phoenix and ITT Tech commercials spend hours every day telling you how real they are and how much the people who "attended" them love them. It seems like admitting that internet colleges might be less than legitimate undermines that whole idea.

I also find it curious how much this ad diverges from the University of Phoenix/ITT Tech model. Where are the successful professionals, the single moms, the guys who no longer live in their mother's basements? No one in this ad is wearing khakis or a sports jacket; no one is giving a testimonial about how much they love working at an IT help desk in some nameless corporate dungeon. A friend of mine tells a story about how someone she works with has paid upwards of $20,000 for a University of Phoenix MBA and couldn't understand why they never got past the interview stage for any new job. Finally, they asked one of the interviewers, "What could I do to make my interview stronger?" and was told that the problem wasn't with their interview skills, it was with their degree. The interviewer said that while s/he was sure one learned something in online college, it just wasn't the same as a real degree. My friend's coworker was completely blindsided by this information. It is my experience that most people who decide to get an online degree really believe in the process - I mean, you'd have to with the price you pay. I am surprised that someone out there believes internet college has great untapped market in wannabe hipsters watching The Mighty Boosh on Adult Swim late on a Sunday night.

There's another one with a girl in her pajamas saying something about "I'm not going to bed; I'm going to college. No, really!" Like no 19-year old girl has ever gone to college in her pajamas. Really - have the people who make these ads never been to an actual college campus? Going to class in your nightwear is not an experience exclusive to classroomless courses. Also: why is that a selling point? Shouldn't the selling point be "you don't have to find parking" or "you can do this late at night, between your two full time jobs, after you put the kids to bed but before you have to drive them to school"? Anyway, these commercials bug me and I don't know why I care. Maybe because the song in the first is such an earworm. Or maybe I wish that I had gone to internet college. It wouldn't have saved me any money and I wouldn't feel comfortable telling anyone where I went, but it would have been a shorter walk.

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