Image Committee in The New York Times

April 25, 2006

A few years back, some Cornellians “banded together to form an “image committee,” making it their mission to press the university into marketing and branding itself more aggressively, and to help it climb higher in college rankings.” As Gawker put it, “it would seem to us that the first part of getting yourself perceived as one of the cool kids – as a big front-of-Metro takeout in Saturday’s Times explained a crew of Cornell kids is trying to do – would be to not have big front-of-Metro takeouts on how damn hard you’re trying to become one of the cool kids.” Take that as you will.

On to the relevant stuff. From “Cornell’s Worried Image Makers Wrap Themselves in Ivy” :

… when committee members first approached administrators to talk about their concerns – including what they saw as the university’s passive response to a slight drop in some ranking guides – they met with resistance. That changed three years ago, they said, with the arrival of a new president, Jeffrey S. Lehman, and the subsequent appointment of [Thomas W. Bruce, vice president for university communications], who took their critique seriously, particularly their thoughts about the so-called view book for potential applicants and about the Web site.

Nice to see credit where it’s due.

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Cornell: Brought to You by Pepsi

April 3, 2006

“I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study while enjoying a carbonated beverage of my choosing,” uttered Ezra Cornell, but the quote had to be shortened to save on high telegraph costs of the time.

Cornell’s relationship with Pepsi is surprising when considering the marketing opportunities missed by not teaming up with the red Coke. Big Red and blue? What?

Even more surprising is the length the administration goes to in order to protect this affiliation. From Cornell Blog:

Pepsi has an exclusive contract with Cornell, so when my girlfriend and I brought two cokes into the Helen Newman Bowling alley, after paying for some games, we found them mysteriously gone. The manager claimed that cokes could not be consumed in that area due to a Pepsi contract, and explained that he had moved them to some “exterior location.”

Maybe if Cornell plays the cards right, the football team will get the Diet Pepsi Machine, which according to Wikipedia “cannot be tackled because of its size compared to the human players, therefore leading to many touchdown catches as a wide receiver.”