OU launches new slogan, billboards to change

Come mid-September, Oakland University will have a new marketing slogan on its local billboards.

The “You can afford this” campaign will be replaced with the transitional slogan, “A smart investment,” which is already displayed on the OU homepage.

“We decided at the beginning of the ‘You can afford this’ campaign that it was never meant to be the main message for OU,” said Michelle Moser, director of integrated marketing for the university. “It was more of a response to the economy.”

Moser said the affordability campaign served its purpose, which was to draw attention to the increased financial aid opportunities and the relatively low tuition rates. Even with the tuition increase, OU is still in the middle of the pack of state universities.

“We still have comparable tuition for the education you get,” Moser said.

The new slogan isn’t necessarily a marketing campaign, because it is meant to reintroduce the quality aspect of the university into public view before settling on a universal message or tagline for OU. The tagline that preceded the affordability campaign was “See what all the excitement is about” and appeared on billboards and all admissions materials.

“It’s pretty much the same with every college if they offer what you’re looking for,” said senior Mike Wilson. “It is worth it.”

Many students have expressed discontent on social networking sites with the slogan in light of the tuition increase. For example, there is a Facebook group with 99 members called “You can afford this = worst slogan ever.”

“It’s an ironic slogan. Because in these times, a lot of people are struggling and saying you can afford this when you’re not attending classes, I’m paying for a class I can’t go to,” said sophomore Aliana Scott. “It’s a frustrating investment.”

Ted Montgomery, director of media relations for OU, said the negative comments made about the campaign were not necessarily a consensus. But Moser said she takes criticism into consideration.

“We moderate social media and blogs. The plan all along was never to stick with it but of course we want to make as many people happy as we can without diluting our recruitment message.”

Moser also said that her office focuses on reaching prospective students and their parents through marketing campaigns, and their main goal is to attract them to want to learn more.

“The problem with the billboard is you have about five words you can put on there,” Moser said. “You have to pick something that’s going to lead people in and hopefully drive people to the web.”

The transitional slogan will probably last throughout the academic year and Moser said a tagline may be developed next summer.

— Brad Slazinski contributed to this report