College Ads Are All The Same


During the televised Alabama v. Notre Dame football game on Monday, there was a college ad shown during a commercial break – not unusual. But it was created by Disney | Pixar for a new university, and it’s generating a lot of buzz.

The advertisement highlighted these messages for the university:

“Dedicated to the highest ideals of leadership and excellence.”

“Known for its diversity, academic disciplines and excellence.”

“One of the most diverse academic environments in the world.”

Hmm…What’s going on with Pixar? These sound like all of the other college websites and viewbooks we’ve seen.

Where’s the creativity?

Turns out the advertisement was a promotion for a new movie and a fun one at that. It seems that Pixar’s fictional “client” is, Monsters University, a prequel to the blockbuster Monsters Inc.

Our conclusion: Pixar intentionally created uninspiring, too-often-used messages to conform to the pack and therefore quickly legitimize the new “school.” Job well-done! Monsters University fits right in.


In addition to the video ad, they even created a fully functional website.

Whoever was in charge of marketing for this film definitely did their homework. The placement of the ad, where real colleges typically advertise, as well as having an actual working university website is brilliantly creative.

What’s the Lesson?

If your school wants to stand out, don’t use the same old, tired messages like Pixar did to fit in.

Posted on January 11, 2013 in Creative Execution, Higher Education, Ideas and insights, Recruiting, Video

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