Where is the “Why?”

For this blog post, I decided to do an analysis on three Targum ads relating to getting involved on campus, with emphasis on the “why” of each organization.

Photo example one: RUPA- my own organization and where we need to grow

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This ad provides an opportunity to get involved on campus through attending or participating in the annual Bed Races. It’s an event that includes the opportunity to get involved with other organizations on campus and is quite literally a melting-pot of different organizations. Someone who is not currently involved could attend and introduce themselves to the various organizations who will be participating- maybe even help decorate a bed. Someone could become very involved by attending. If you read the ad, however, none of that is said. That’s because it’s not the only purpose of the event. RUPA has a dual purpose of involving and growing students and providing entertainment and community enrichment on campus, and the latter often drowns out the former. This is not anyone’s fault, nor is it unexpected. The events have to occur before anything else can occur, because our “why” is to provide events to involve students on campus because we believe that out-of-classroom enrichment is half of the experience of college and is vital to the lifeforce of Rutgers. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the basic principal. This is communicated through our hope to get attendees at the event other than just the participants so that maybe further involvement can occur, but it’s not necessarily broadcast because of the need for event success above all else. We could certainly do a better job with broadcasting our why, but the ad space in the Targum is not where we think to do it. I’ll be starting a Vlog soon for RUPA that will hopefully encompass this better.

Photo example two: Eagleton Institute

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I love Eagleton. I’m an Eagleton Undergraduate Associate, so I have to love them- I spend a lot of time with them. They don’t, however, do a very good job of broadcasting their “why.” I even have a bit of trouble finding what the “why” is- especially with this ad. This ad describes a Popcorn and Politics event with a debate watch party, tells you the details, and tells you to be careful about directions. This ad not only ignores the “Why” of Eagleton, but of the event as well. They give you no reason to come to the even other than the fact that there will be free food and they will be watching the debate. This doesn’t entice a reader, and doesn’t give them any insight into the organization. The organization is great- the do a lot for Rutgers, New Jersey, and the general population. Polling, class options, and internship placement are all hugely important things that they do with a “why” of a charter stating that they will help facilitate political activity in the state, encouraging University students to be involved. This doesn’t get communicated in that ad and would honestly really improve the ad. There is lots of white space in this ad, and I believe that showcasing their mission statement and adding another aspect to the event, such as offering the opportunity to chat with alumni involved in politics would get more people excited about the event. The fact is, that additional aspect is actually part of the event, and isn’t even showcased in the ad. I don’t think that the ad really reflects Eagleton, nor the event, and I hope that further ads do a better job.

Photo example three- The Catholic Student Association

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This ad is for the Catholic Student Association’s Fall Retreat, which is happening right now. The ad showcases several picture, only the dates of the event, and the registration address. It’s a very interesting ad. My reaction to each of the images and the few words lead me to believe that the retreat is based on getting away from campus, meeting new people, and having courage in your faith. That’s actually very much in line with the “why” or mission statement of the group, which is: to build a social community at Rutgers University to promote a healthy lifestyle related to Catholicism; promote an increased knowledge of and greater interest in the Catholic faith; provide a support system for any member of the community that seeks guidance. This retreat definitely increases knowledge and provides for greater interest in the Catholic faith, and the ad increases the amount of people they reach. The retreat promotes a healthy lifestyle as I’m sure no drugs or alcohol are allowed at retreat and by leaving campus, it removes that temptation for the weekend. And it certainly provides a support system and guidance, promising friendship and kinship following the weekend. The pictures definitely encapsulate this through the sheer amount of people in attendance. The pensive but never alone people in the top left picture shows that you’ll be supported in what you’ll be doing. Overall, I think that this ad does an excellent job of capturing the “why” of the organization, as well as the purpose of the event. I think it’s the best ad out of the group in terms of showcasing the “why.”

Overall, an organization’s “why” is a difficult thing to capture in a quarter-page ad, but it can be done. I know that I’ll be taking this to my Exec Board over the weekend because we’re looking for ways to increase our “why” broadcasting. I think a difficult part of this is that many organizations are not focusing on their “why.” I know RUPA is trying, but we’re not yet where we can be, it just takes time. I think if more students were exposed to the concept of starting with why, we would see more why-centric organizations, and that seeing a “why” in a Targum ad will be a much easier task.

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