Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Cake Mystery Resolved

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Cake Mystery Resolved

Article excerpt

Our Head of Marketing, Graham Flair, has explained the logic behind the news that many universities (including Poppleton) have increased their marketing spend by as much as 22 per cent and plan still further increases.

Mr Flair said that some "hidebound academics" had questioned the point of dramatically increasing the amount of money spent on advertising the quality of the student experience at Poppleton when such expenditure necessarily reduced that very quality. But what this failed to take into account was that the increased marketing spend at other universities meant that the quality of student experience at those institutions would also decline. So, from a strictly comparative perspective, there would be no change whatsoever.

But there was "an even more fundamental error of logic" committed by those who questioned the point of marketing at all when the cap on student numbers meant that any gain could only involve the successful university taking a bigger slice of the same-sized cake.

This argument, Mr Flair said, totally ignored the "exciting fact" that such apparently pointless expenditure eventually produced a brand new cake: a big fat cherry-topped cream-filled gateau that could readily be enjoyed by university marketing departments and their ever-eager commercial partners. It was a development which Mr Flair characterised as "yummy".

Wishing and hoping and planning

A leading Poppleton don, Professor F.R. Beavis, has criticised the "gerundive obsession" of our Department of Corporate Branding.

Professor Beavis explained that he had no problem with the "gerundive tendency" displayed by such universities as Bradford, which happily embraces the triple gerunds of "Confronting Inequality", "Celebrating Diversity" and "Making Knowledge Work". But he had been alarmed on looking through the current Poppleton prospectus to encounter 26 "gerundive formulations", including "Managing Change", "Raising Hopes", "Delivering Excellence", "Widening Participation" and "Fulfilling Dreams". …

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