The campaign ads on television aren’t the only political messages on campus this fall competing for student attention. As the maize and blue donkey logo of the University’s chapter of College Democrats is seen on fliers across campus, the University’s chapter of College Republicans also hopes to create a name and brand for itself.
At the behest of LSA senior Rachel Jankowski, the chair of the College Republicans, the group is seeking to revamp its image on campus with the College Democrats’ strategy in mind. The aim, Jankowski said, is to make the College Republicans more visible on campus, in part by building a brand name and logo.
“A lot of students don’t know that the College Republicans exist (on campus), and that’s really terrible,” Jankowski said. “We’re trying to really build a presence on campus, and build a solid look about us so that you know, when you see an advertisement, that’s the College Republicans and not a different club.”
The task of reshaping the group’s image belongs mostly to its marketing committee, which Jankowski said has attracted nearly 30 to 40 members this semester, an unprecedented number.
Jankowski said the committee has been attempting to establish a brand by creating a “unified look” on the group’s T-shirts, fliers, banners and other paraphernalia — much like the College Democrats.
“I want the College Republicans to have a brand name,” Jankowski added. “Any good company has one, and the College Democrats have a great brand name. When you see their stuff, you know it’s the College Democrats. That is what the College Republicans have been focusing on, and it’s what we’re pushing.”
The College Democrats initially had the same concern that their presence wasn’t well known on campus either. Until this summer, Alexandra Brill, the chair of the University’s chapter of College Democrats, didn’t think the club was doing a good enough job of advertising around campus.
But then, she recalls, her friends told her how frequently they noticed fliers and banners advertising the College Democrats on campus. What they said grabbed their attention was not the flyers’s text, but the group’s logo: a donkey with a light blue top half and a maize Block ‘M’ creating the donkey’s bottom half and legs.
“When I would say I didn’t know how much influence (the logo) could have, they said, ‘Oh no, it would definitely do a lot, because I always see those fliers and I always know what’s going on, even if I don’t attend,’” Brill, an LSA junior, said. “That made me realize that people see our stuff even if they aren’t regular members.”
Among those who have noticed and admired the group’s advertising are the group’s top political rivals — the University’s chapter of the College Republicans.
The College Democrats’ logo and brand name have developed over years as the group makes every effort to keep them ubiquitous, chair Brill said in an interview outside the group’s office, which she said was crowded with T-shirts, clipboards and paint for banners.
Though Jankowski said she knows reforming the College Republicans’ brand will not be an overnight phenomenon, she hopes the beginning of the process will be her legacy as chair.
She added that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s recent surge in the polls has accelerated the group’s efforts by energizing the club and bringing in new members.
“We’re working hard to put together that look about us.”