Ensconced amid the endless Coors ads and Thrifty rental car spots where the guy in the Raiders' GWAR gear walks through a metal detector, you may find a unpleasant reminder that what you're watching on Saturdays may actually have a tangential connection to education: the neglected and often subpar University promotional spot.
Twice a game, the audio-visual club of the university--commonly known as the broadcast media department or "communications,"--makes their own clumsy stab at summarizing the daily operations of a university in thirty breakneck seconds. And how does the average university video tackle the problem of compressing such a busy, diverse community into thirty seconds? To quote one of the finest lyricists of our time:
Sure a lot of things happing at once,
With mind, everyone whats going on (whats going on?)
And when every shot you show a little improvement
Just Show it or it will take to long
thats called a montage (montage)
Oh we want montage (montage)
When you don't have a lot of time, you need a montage.
Montage! Show everything a student could possibly want to have in a university all at once and make sure you're quick about it, sparky. The most common elements include:
1. Someone looking into a microscope (usually a minority female.)
2. Someone playing sports--at least two shots, one female, one male.
3. A shot of the campus' most recognizable landmark.
4. Someone doing something artsy, even if it's a tech school, because geeks like pottery, too, dammit!
5. A shot of someone graduating.
6. A shot of the hottest guy and the hottest girl on campus they could find on twenty minutes' notice.
7. A finishing shot ending with the university logo and a video effect stolen from the archives of the NBC "The More You Know" public service ads of the 1980s.
Now those are just the bare bones, but most of the worst ones all use the same ones.
And sure, you can substitute chem lab shots or students tossing mice into a particle accelerator for the hell of it. Whatever cool gadgets your school has, flaunt 'em. And be sure to show the hot people and student fun, since most people in the United States go to college for one reason: to leave home, screw strangers, and drink themselves into changing their major from pre-med to forestry in two years max. Leave the hard truths of venereal disease and mounting consumer debt for another day--we're strictly selling the sizzle on a five dollar budget here.
And two technical notes: be sure to shoot the thing on video for that cheap, Ron Jeremy porn feel, and include some "ACTION!" music behind it, a sequencer-driven anthem that screams "Office Space Motivational Tactic," or "Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Promotional Video, 1984: America's Next Great City."
Do all University ads suck? No--we're going to profile the best of them, too. We're gleeful that the University of Florida, after years of making ads of exactly the type described above, finally shelled out some dough, subcontracted, and produced an ad that not only is shot on film, but is actually kinda marketing savvy. Texas has a new campaign with Walter Cronkite doing the voiceover, which is the audio equivalent of playing flag football with Reggie Bush on your squad.
But first we need to introduce the worst of the batch we've found, an ancient video that we would have assumed was a joke had we not authenticated it. Enter the world of The University of North Dakota, which manages to make itself look like the finishing school for the Napoleon Dynamite class. Ever wondered what it's like to go to a rave in North Dakota? Long to spend your university days trapped in fluorescent dungeonesque classrooms, rooting your team on in potentially lethal temperatures, or playing pool in dark, illicit looking pool halls?
Come to UND because we have cool dances and stuff.
Look no further than the University of North Dakota. (Be sure to click on the buttons of the remote--ad one is particularly bad.)