The Yang of GCU:
Musical Style Shapes Brand Message
n.b. This post refers to a commercial spot for Grand Canyon University that I cannot find online. I have seen it several times in the San Diego market over the course of Dec. 2015 through Jan. 2016. The music is the same basic composition as GCU’s “Find Your Purpose” spot, but in an arrangement for marching band instruments. An image of a marching band is also prominently featured during the first few seconds of the commercial. If anyone has a link to this video, please pass it along.
It’s that time of year again when high school seniors across the nation are looking at schools and sending out applications to their favored institutions of higher learning. While elite-level universities like Harvard, Yale, or Princeton generally don’t have to advertise (I did once spy some Harvard extension ads on a Boston bus) many other schools do. Almost all use print brochures and, recently, some have even begun to advertise on television.
A good college professor will tell you that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but I think I’ve stumbled upon one:
Why would a college use marching band music in their commercial?
Because marching bands are college. College is marching bands. Marching bands signify academics because high school and college are just about the only places you find them. This on-the-nose association between higher education and a style of music—the complete obviousness of it—is why Grand Canyon University’s recent commercial is so effective. (more…)