Advertising Elon

Shannon Tennant
October 28, 2013

Think back to when you first heard about Elon University and first considered coming here.  What influenced your decision?  At some point in the process, you saw an ad that extolled the virtues of the school.  In magazines, on billboards, in brochures, on the internet – Elon’s advertisements are everywhere.

Universities have come to realize that they are businesses, and they need to reach prospective customers.  Elon has to market its image to attract top quality students in this competitive environment.  But what that image is, and how to best present it, has changed over the years.

Image from North Carolina Digital Heritage Center

Image from North Carolina Digital Heritage Center

Here is an ad from the Asheville newspaper in 1917.  Some of the attractions Elon lists seem amusing now.  Well water is not so important when we all drink bottled water.  What about no outbreaks of “dangerous sickness?”  They obviously don’t mean the cold that you caught from your suitemate.  But a healthy environment was very important in the days before antibiotics and modern medical testing.  Only a few short months after this advertisement ran, the world suffered a global influenza pandemic.  Over 50 million people died worldwide and an estimated 13,000 people died in North Carolina.  Check out this post about Elon’s experience with the disease. Continue reading