Lakehead Campaign Is Bush League

By:  Rachel Marsden

The President of the United States is a loser. Thankfully, we aren't responsible for unleashing him on the world.

This appears to be the take-home message of a recent advertising campaign by Thunder Bay's Lakehead University, which includes a website and posters featuring the U.S. president's face, along with the phrase "Yale, Shmale" -- a reference to Yale University, Bush's alma mater.

As someone who makes her living coming up with marketing and communications solutions for corporate and political clients, I'd like to offer some free tips to Lakehead U.

* The twice-elected leader of the free world isn't exactly the guy sleeping across the subway grates on Yonge Street. He may not have ever made Tim Horton's "Employee of the Month" like some Canadian university graduates, but in each of his presidential campaign ads, he at least remembered to prominently feature his name. Lakehead might want to try that in their next campaign.

* Lakehead President Fred Gilbert says "The 'Yale Shmale' campaign speaks to the unique personality of Lakehead University." Not so much. Imagine a prospective student seeing the ads and saying, "I want to go to Lakehead, because it's anti-Bush." (The correct response: "Most universities are, kid.")

* The "Yale Shmale" website opens with the line: "Graduating from an Ivy League university doesn't necessarily mean you're smart." Unless, one presumes, you're both an Ivy League graduate and a flaming liberal, like John Kerry, Al Gore, or Bill and Hillary Clinton. Then you're a freaking genius.

* If your university is way out in the bush like Lakehead is, you may want to refrain from using lines like "let's not beat around the bush" on your website. Even when the phrase appears right beside a picture of George W. Bush, that's not the kind of "bush" people think of. I'm laughing, but probably not for the reason you intended.

* If you really wanted to highlight Yale's idiocy, you should have plastered your "Yale Shmale" slogan over a picture of Osama Bin Laden. Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, the former deputy foreign secretary of the Taliban, is currently a student there. He's likely the first person with a Grade 4 education to ever be actively courted by Yale in the name of "diversity."

The only things this guy should be studying are Cuban weather patterns from a Guantanamo Bay jail cell. Yale won't let him pursue a degree-granting program yet. I suppose if he graduates and then chooses a career of blowing up civilian targets, it would leave a bit of a skidmark on the alumni list.

* The Lakehead ads may be getting some media play, but those that generate buzz aren't always effective. Burger King's "Where's Herb?" campaign comes to mind. If a customer found "Herb" inside a Burger King restaurant, they'd win a big cash prize. But no one knew who the heck Herb was, or what he looked like.

No male could sit and enjoy his Whopper without other customers coming up to him and asking if he was Herb. People quickly bailed to McDonald's, where they would be spared the complimentary serving of harassment with their burger.

Likewise, anyone with brains would opt for an education, straight up, without the heaping side of anti-Americanism. Now that would be unique and provocative for a university.