Did you happen to see the University of Akron's new 2-minute TV ad Sunday? It sort of sneaks up on you with feel-good slow-motion scenes and young people in the smiley face mood you'd expect from somebody at Heaven's Gate. A narrator tells you that the place is the home of "dreamers, makers and action takers," which doesn't seem to describe the inactive board of trustees as one or another of Team Scarborough's New Age plans were sent back to the drawing board to be retooled.
The three-month TV enterprise, which cleans out the school's $900,000 advertising budget, is more come-hither recruiter style than substance to smoothe over the bumpy layout of a school that seems to be in much worse shape today than when Scott Scarborough arrived with the self-assured authority of the cavalry to at least wound UA's $60 milion debt.
To justify the turmoil, he issued a statement endorsing his idea that UA's heritage has always reflected a "polytechnic university" to reassure the skeptics that what was not acceptable to the faculty at the University of Toledo was worth another try in Akron.
Well, at least the new ads toned down the Super Bowl pitch by former President Luis Proenza,who exclaimed that we should "catch the energy" of the school. Those ads cost $283,000, less than a third of the cost of the new campaign that asks '"Are you out there?" It's the same question that star-gazers ask about the existence of humans on distant planets. It also is an admission that with UA's falling enrollment, the
Super Bowl outreach didn't catch much of the untapped energy.
The next ads are said to feature the faculty and alumni. From reports we've been getting of the campus tension and younger faculty thinking about other places to plant their careers, Team Scarborough had better hurry.