Penn State Lives Where?

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By: Rachel Wozniak, GE Week Account Executive

What was the first thought you had when you walked down the library mall and an oversized sign reminds you “Penn State Lives Here.”  Personally, I thought the message seemed unusually obvious, and I was confused as to why I was being told this.

From a public relations standpoint, the new campaign by Penn State is unpopular among the student body.  The explanation for the campaign is to unify all of the different Penn State campuses.  However, many students have been questioning the purpose and meaning of the campaign as well as the giant signs that have popped up all over campus.  In my opinion, the signs take away from the innate pride that the campus and students carry every day.  It’s difficult to even evaluate the positives and negative points because the reasoning behind the new slogan is so vague.  So vague, in fact, that in December the marketing company for Penn State will be making stops in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Washington D.C to explain the new campaign to alumni.  Needing to explain a campaign seems to bypass the entire purpose.

The slogan has potential to be attractive to alumni who move away and want to feel as though they are still part of the community.  However, with such a newly established and unrecognized campaign, it will take time for any alum to jump on this bandwagon and start posting “Penn State Lives Here” signs in their homes or offices.  As for current students, we are already well aware where we live.  The former campaign, “It’s Your Time,” was far more attractive to both prospective and current students because it spoke to us about making the most of our years here.

So the question now is how long will Penn State keep up with this new campaign despite opposition they have received from students since its inception?  I believe continuing with this campaign is a risky move as well as a waste of money on the school’s part.  Communicating to an already captive audience of devoted and proud fans and students with “Penn State Live Here” is not effective to reach the people they need to please. Ultimately, I think they should either alter the message in an attempt to save their campaign or slowly phase it out.