|WILLIAM MITCHELL COLLEGE OF LAW
April 26, 2004
By Mark Dolliver
You can think of a school as a brand. It's a brand of an unusual sort, though, and not just because it serves a loftier purpose than a soft drink or a chewing gum. More than with most consumer brands, its customers largely define its substance. As a student, after all, you spend more time in the company of your fellow scholars than with your professors. And while you may never again lay eyes on your teachers once you've graduated, some of those fellow students will be your lifelong friends (and, perhaps, lifelong enemies). One of the smart things about new ads for this Minnesota law school is that they implicitly suggest you won't be surrounded by humorless drudges if you go there. Rather, you'll be surrounded by people who are attracted by (or, at least, comfortable with) the offbeat humor of the campaign. The "fine print" theme in the ad shown here shrewdly bridges the reader's everyday experience with the recondite skills one masters at law school. After reading all the unintentionally convoluted copy that comes our way at Adweek, it's a treat to read some copy that's deliberately and cleverly convoluted. Such as: "While students of The College will receive broad and practical lessons in all aspects of the law, the aforementioned students may or may not learn the specific and/or general skills necessary to write professional legal disclaimers and/or 'fine print,' as in print which is small, not necessarily (but not excluding) print which is good or well written as in, 'That's some fine print you got there.'" Will some potential applicants be put off by what they see as the frivolity of the ad? Very likely so, which means you needn't fear seeing them at the adjoining desk for years on end if you go to William Mitchell yourself. The ad will also screen out people who think they might like to be lawyers but are daunted by a page of nearly unadorned text. For that service, the school's admissions director should treat the creative team to a nice dinner.
William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minn.
Karl Herber, Earl Kendall Photography