The University of Moncton appears to be taking its marketing cues from MTV, creating a 30-second ad for itself that looks more like a commercial for a cliché campus romcom than a recruiting tool for degree-minded students.
In the short commercial, the post-secondary institution has decided to sell itself as a Crazy Sexy School in which academics blend seamlessly with partying, playing hockey and making out. In one memorable scene, two students are seen kissing in the library stacks.
In sum, the video gives life to a sophomoric fantasy of life after high school—and not a very creative one at that.
The video didn’t go over well with one librarian.
In an interview with the CBC, Marie-Noëlle Ryan, the president of the university’s professors’ and librarians’ association, deemed the video “pathetic” and said it was about as subtle as a beer commercial.
“And it’s not that way that you will recruit serious students and people who really want to learn and have good diplomas,” she added.
I don’t know about that. People who really want to learn also really want to make out, though serious students may not be so willing to endorse those fantasies publicly.
It’s not the obvious nonsense that bothers me about the ad, i.e., the fact that it bears no similarity to how a real-life academic experience plays out—if it did there would be more shots of people sleeping in the library stacks and eating Mr. Noodles in dimly lit residences—or the fact that it downplays the real appeal of university as a forum for critical thinking.
What’s really bothersome about the ad is its not-so-subtle use of young women as bait.
Throughout the brief video young women are “recruited” to play the role of seductress, gazing longingly at the camera as if daring the audience to come out and play.
The last shot of the commercial sees one young woman glancing backward at the camera and leading the viewer onto a darkened beach where a party appears to be starting.
The implied end note of the video—“Come party with this hottie, tiger!”—is cheesy and predictable. Moreover, I can’t help but think that young high-school girls considering post-secondary options deserve a better fantasy. As it is, this one feels about as fresh as a cafeteria muffin.