It starts with “Why”

Following Simon Sinek’s TED talk about focusing on why we do things instead of just stating what we do, I am going to analyze three advertisements in the Targum that promote student involvement on campus.

Advertisement #1: Catholic Student Association’s Fall Retreat

This advertisement immediately caught my eye as I flipped through the Targum around 8:30 AM. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it’s a good thing since the pictures caught my attention, but it’s also a bad thing because I went looking for more information and couldn’t really find what I was looking for. After inspecting the advertisement for a “blurb” or something describing what they would be doing and why. The only “blurbs” I found were “Need some time away?”, “Want to meet new friends?”, “Want to have some fun?”, and “Then come to the Catholic Student Association’s Fall Retreat October 19-21.” While this is very short, sweet and to the point, a lot of questions remain unanswered…

First off, why are they holding a retreat? Is this a teambuilding or spiritual retreat? These two questions are definitely questions that other students will have when they see the advertisement. Sure, there is a website listed that probably does state this information, but advertisements need to convince the student to go on the website, which this advertisement doesn’t achieve.

Next, what will students be doing on this retreat? We can see in the advertisement’s pictures that students are having fun on previous retreats, but it doesn’t say anything about what students will be doing over the course of three days. In fact, there’s a picture of a cartoon character climbing a mountain with a very strange “NO FEAR” written next to it, in what could easily be a font worse than Comic Sans. Does this mean students will be climbing mountains on the retreat? We’re making a lot of assumptions here, and if climbing mountains is something they do on the retreat, why would CSA have students climbing mountains?

Lastly, where is the retreat even being held? Once again, the advertisement has very little to say about the actual retreat, what will be done, or even where it will be. Students tend to be concerned about things like this, and the advertisement doesn’t provide us with any details. This advertisement would benefit a great deal from a small blurb about the retreat, what students will be doing, and why the organization holds retreats such as this one. Most students won’t just go online to the website to read about the event, they have to be driven to the website by means of the advertisement.

Advertisement #2: Beginning of the End Party

This advertisement is an example of a great advertisement. I don’t think it’s the nicest or prettiest event flyer to look at, but it definitely is the most effective and really hits home with why Rutgers Alumni is holding such an event. The small “blurb” provides us with all the details we could ask for and even goes on to explain that graduation is only 200 days away! Additionally, they drive students to their website by offering a coupon for a complimentary mug if you pre-register. This way, they will have more students go to the website, where there will be more information provided about the event.

The only thing that isn’t described in this advertisement is Rutgers Alumni’s “why” statement. However, I believe that the “why” statement for the organization should be provided elsewhere and not necessarily on every, single advertisement. But, the event should make sense to the point where students can understand why certain organizations are doing certain events. Overall, this advertisement serves its purpose very well, even though it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing advertisement.

Advertisement #3: RUPA’s Homecoming Bed Races

Homecoming week is a huge part of student life at Rutgers. Nothing “hits the spot” the way the annual Homecoming Charity Bed Races do.

Branching off of that, I think that the advertisement for the event really answers most questions that students would have. In the title of the event, we see the word “charity” but aren’t too sure what organization / group of people are being helped by the event. As the reader continues to look at the advertisement, they can see that everything is described in the “blurb” at the bottom. The small paragraph is worded such that a rundown of the event is explained in just a couple, effective sentences.

The “Rutgers Homecoming 2012” banner on the top of the advertisement really helps because students will immediately know that the event is part of the Homecoming festivities and can understand why RUPA has such a unique event at this time of the academic year.

RUPA successfully advertises the event to students, while also effectively telling students why they are doing it through a short “blurb.” Like Alumni, RUPA doesn’t blatantly state their organization’s “why” statement, but that is not needed on advertisements such as this one.

The “blurb” on advertisements provide just enough information to engage students and gain their interest for the event, which can then drive them to a website, or an organization’s social media outlets. RUPA and Alumni’s advertisements do that perfectly.

Just by looking at three simple advertisements in the Targum, we can see that two are very well done, while the other isn’t done very well at all. The “why” effectiveness of Bed Races and “The End” Party is achieved through the use of a brief description about the event, whereas the Fall Retreat leaves students in the dark due to a lack of description and poorly drawn up images.

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