Algoma University’s Unusual Ads

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2009

I saw these posters for Algoma University yesterday:

algoma posters

There’s always been an implicit promise of freedom in going away to university, but this is the first time I can recall where it’s been used as an actual selling point.

I don’t think that this campaign is a good idea. Algoma’s got some things going for it – as a techie, I’m aware of their $6 million technology wing and game development courses. I think that any good qualities that Algoma may have are tarnished by these ads’ “Live the dream — No curfews! Dress like a skank!” message. In trying to hit 18 or 19 year-olds yearning to break free from their parents where they live, they’re cheapening the school’s image and the value of an Algoma degree.

What do you think?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Winston October 31, 2009 at 2:50 am

Algoma isn’t on the radar of most kids in Toronto. These posters are just trying to make prospective students aware enough of the school’s existence to seek out the information on which they’ll make the real decision.

Mark Jaquith October 31, 2009 at 4:32 am

Where’s the obligatory Seinfeld clip about the “buffer zone” ?

Ross October 31, 2009 at 7:22 am

Agreed. They hit on a selling point of the University to some potential students, but the POOR execution of the campaign results in HUGE collateral damage to their brand. I knew nothing about Algoma college until I started seeing these ads, and thanks to this messaging I know not to take the University seriously or to ever hire their graduates! (that’s maybe a bit dramatic, but consider: they weren’t on my radar to begin with, and now the only thing I know about them is that it’s a school in the middle of nowhere where students go to party)

Milan Davidovic October 31, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Seems to me that a marketing campaign for a higher ed institution has to speak to both students and parents (assuming the latter are providing financial support). Would parents value the “buffer” as much as their kids? If not, these ads may not work so well.

Dave Brodbeck November 1, 2009 at 9:38 am

These ads are aimed at (potential) students in the GTA. The intent of the ads is to drive traffic to which is quite a bit different from the ads if you look at the site. I quite like the ads, and I do not feel it cheapens anything or messes with our brand. Yes I said ‘our’, I am a faculty member here and have a vested interest in it. I find the ads funny actually.

Matt November 4, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I’ve been a bit stunned by these ads as well. I suppose it’s good that they’re raising awareness of Algoma among prospective students, but “it’s far away” shouldn’t be a university’s main selling point, let alone the foundation of its campaign.

Ellen February 14, 2010 at 12:35 am

As a former graduate of Algoma University, I speak for most, if not all of us in saying that these ads are an insult. Most of the students, including myself, worked very hard during our time at Algoma and deserve to be treated with the same respect as the graduates from other universities. I hope no one will reconsider hiring me simply because of the university I attended. Now these ads are one of the many reasons most of us who graduated within a year of the university’s independence chose to have Laurentian as the University on our diplomas. Although I avoided the party scene, which is nothing compared to the scenes at larger universities, I largely did so because of the violence and disrespect people experienced at these events. If you are a woman, gay, lesbian, trans sexual, or a minority I would advise that you stay as far away from this university as possible. I think it is highly irresponsible for the university to promote partying when they do almost nothing to protect their students if they experience violence, especially of a sexual nature, racism or homophobia on campus. Bottom line: If you got there to party don’t expect anyone to care about you if something horrible happens.

Ellen February 14, 2010 at 12:41 am

Actually, I just wanted to clarify something in my last post: It really isn’t fair to say that everyone who works at the university is negligent. Some faculty and staff members care a great deal about the students and will go out of their way to help; however, the people actually responsible for handling complaints of harassment or violence are often negligent, unprofessional, and even cruel. If people do choose to attend Algoma they should be aware of potential issues and be ready to protect themselves instead of relying on anyone else.

strategist June 11, 2010 at 11:10 am

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
~ Bill Cosby

Did anyone take the time to find out if these ads worked?
Comments from grads and present students are irrelevant,
they’re not the target.
Judging by all the response negative and positive, the ads work.
They do want most ads don’t, they get a reaction.
” Any press is good press ” you can’t buy it.

~ Do your home work!

Ellen June 29, 2010 at 5:13 am

I would not say that comments from former or current students are irrelevant. If the ads harm the university’s reputation and insult current or former students, then they are not doing anyone any favors. We shouldn’t risk invalidating the importance of the institution or the value of the education students receive just to generate a buzz.

Somehow I suspect you of being what my esl student described as Algoma U’s version of what my esl student described the 30 cent party in China. You might be trying to influence people on this site to see the ads more favorably, but what’s in it for you?

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