Our View: ‘First Choice’ campaign falls flat

DKS Editors

In 2010, the university launched a successful advertising campaign, which featured alumni recognizable by students — Josh Cribbs, most notably — with its first commercial appearing during the Kent State vs. Penn State football game.

Last fall, viewers of the GoDaddy.com Bowl got a glimpse of some of Kent State’s diverse and accomplished programs in an all-new commercial that aired during the game. The commercials came at an excellent time — when potential incoming students and their parents were already rooting for KSU during a high-energy sporting event.

Kent State’s recent billboard advertisements, however, have left some passersby scratching their heads and questioning their bold claims. In simple text, these large signs bare short phrases like “#1 in college graduates in Northeast Ohio” and “Great first-choice university. Bigger first-year scholarships.” On its website, the university claims it is northeast Ohio’s “first-choice public university.” But who can prove that? While the university has given out an increased number of scholarships to students this past year, some of the claims merely paraphrase the facts and paint an embellished picture of the university.

Kent State’s 2010 commercials boast programs the university — and its students — should be proud of. The Fashion School and Liquid Crystals Institute have become renowned well beyond the state of Ohio, and the accomplishments of university’s alumni reflect that.

While the majority of the ads contained truths, doing a few simple fact checks exposed the university’s exaggerations and embellishments. Strategic marketing is one thing, but Kent State would be wise to remain truthful in its advertisements and not mislead potential students.

Instead of boldly promoting the idea that more students chose Kent State as their first-choice university — a claim that may seem a little far-fetched — Kent State should stick to advertising the worldwide impact its programs have had rather than making general statements about its status in the small hub of northeast Ohio.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.