WITH EDUCATION tuition soaring, student loans being cut to the bone and the 1960s baby boom coming to an end, many colleges are desperately looking for warm bodies to fill their freshman classes.
For the first time schools are advertising for students in newspapers, magazines and on television.
An advertising agency recently made a presentation to the board of Desperate Tech University, which had decided to spend a million dollars trying to attract students.
Honeybee, the accound executive, said, "Gentlemen, our surveys indicate that today's students are interested in sleeping late, partying and not being bugged about their studies. We have to go after this market and persuade them to come to Desperate Tech."
"How do you propose to do it?" a board member asked.
"First, we need a catchy slogan. How does this grab you? We show a TV commercial with John Belushi throwing food at his fraternity brothers, while they're teaching the science lab. A voice-over says, 'If you liked the movie "Animal House," you'll love the real thing at Desperate Tech.'"
"Won't that put Desperate Tech in a bad light?" one of the board members asked.
"Gentlemen, we have to resort to a hard sell. Our competitors are offering free cars to the kids, two-week paid vacations in Fort Lauderdale and remedial rock music classes. If you expect to get a share of the freshman market, you're going to have to top them. Now here is a magazine layout I believe has tremendous student appeal. As you can see, it shows a co-ed in a wedding gown in front of the student chapel. The text reads, 'I went to Desperate Tech to get an education, but I wound up with something much better -- a husband. He is going into his father's oil business, and we will start married life on a 10,000-acre ranch just outside Dallas. If I hadn't gone to Desperate Tech, I might have wound up working in a massage parlor. There are many men like Ted and you won't have any trouble finding 'Mr. Right,' if you just fill out the coupon on the bottom of the page!'"
Honeybee continued his presentation. "Now I think we should also go into newspapers in a big way -- on the comic pages. Here you see a puzzle. It is a series of numbered dots and the copy reads, 'If you can connect all these dots to each other, and make a football player out of them, then you've passed your entrance exam to Desperate Tech. If you fail to do it, we'll permit you to take a make-up exam in next week's comic pages.'"
"What else do you have?" someone asked.
"Well, this is another TV commercial. We show the president of the University standing in front of the administration building, like Lee Iacocca does for Chrysler. He says, 'Desperate Tech is now offering the largest closeout sale in university history. We have to get rid of 100,000 college degrees by April 15. That's why we're offering $700 rebates to every college freshman who applies this month. Whether you're looking for a BA or a BS, or just want to waste four years of your life, stop into one of our showrooms today and see why so many students are turning to Desperate Tech as an alternative to book-guzzling schools like Harvard.'"