I’ll be honest: I didn’t study marketing at my time at Purdue. Nor did I study business or anything related to it (What up, Liberal Arts!). So I’m definitely not qualified to make important decisions for someplace as nice as Purdue. I will say, however, that sometimes (OK, often) the “powers that be” in West Lafayette do things that just make me say, “WTF?”
The latest example of this is Purdue declining to participate in a parody of the hit song “Call Me Maybe” (yes, I cringed when I wrote that that is a hit song). I’m not personally a fan of the song, though the parody video the Dolphins cheerleaders did went a long way in convincing me to listen to it. Anyway, apparently the MSU Sparty guys called all the Big Ten teams and asked if they wanted to film a short parody of their respective mascot doing the “Call Me Maybe” dance, and then they spliced it together.
Minnesota joined in on the fun, hilariously filming some beach shots with the Gopher. Nebraska let the Big Ten know that apparently a ton of hot females go to their school by surrounding their mascots with them and filming some bits. Penn State joined in, but didn’t wisely didn’t film anything in the shower room. Wisconsin and Iowa joined in on the fun too.
Those that didn’t? IU, Illinois and Michigan, who don’t have mascot characters, and Purdue and Northwestern, who just said, “Thanks but no thanks.”
"We demanded answers so we called Janel Rutzen, the program coordinator for the Sparty Mascot at Michigan State. Rutzen told us the mascots came up with the idea on their own and that everyone was invited. Northwestern and Purdue declined to participate, and, of course, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan don’t have animated mascot characters."
I first saw the video around 3 a.m. eastern time, when it had 75,000+ views. An hour later, when I checked back, it was up to 90,000+ views.
Purdue had a chance to be seen by what’s sure to be 100,000 people by 8 a.m. today in this family-friendly, likely soon-to-be viral video, and it said no. This reminds me of the “Makers, All” embarrassment and all the other Purdue marketing and public relations miscues over the last few years. I just want to know why Purdue said no?
I sat here trying to think of reasons for quite a while, and nothing I came up with seemed like a valid excuse. They didn’t like the song? So what. They couldn’t find a camera? Grab a cell phone. All of the Purdue Petes are gone for the summer? Have a janitor through the costume on.
The way I see it, there’s only one way for Purdue to respond: They have to respond on an epic proportion. Forget flash mobs, get in the parody game, Pete. People will watch. You can even film around campus and show it off a little bit. It’s free publicity (and that’s a good thing, I think).
PS- Seriously, those Nebraska chicks? Wowza.