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notre dame’s latest television spot

During Saturday’s game, this spot was aired for the University of Notre Dame (like I mentioned in the OSU/UT Katrina relief post, universities are given airtime during televised sporting events).
The online stream gave me some problems but in short, the 60-second spot watches as a young lady- we’re unsure at this point if she’s at ND or otherwise- enters into a large, traditional church. She kneels before a votive candle rack and lights a candle. The spot follows her as she repeats this over a stretch of time, with her changing clothes to indicate days and seasons have past. Finally, she checks her snail-mailbox at home to find a letter from ND’s Office of Admissions. The camera pans up and overlays “University of Notre Dame: A Higher Education”.
This spot does an injustice to the university and they should not have paid whoever thought of the idea.
First, this is a prospective student only. Perhaps she has never been on the ND campus. It promotes the religious formation that her parents and her parish gave her growing up, if you want to look it as promoting something.
As a Catholic, I would be more impressed to see a spot include something like a student praying between classes, a group praying aloud in the dining hall before eating, students having fun in a dorm and then running downstairs to their dorm’s Mass- something that would tell me that my (or my son or daughter’s) spiritual life would be in good hands while at ND.
ND has critics who will make jokes of the Catholicity of the campus. Some say that the students are Catholic but faculity tries to change that. Some will joke “since when have they teach theology at ND?” While whether or not any of that is true is a different discussion, this spot does nothing to fight that image. Sure, the incoming student was a devout Catholic before going to Notre Dame but what about after?
Is it that students who are devout and prayful want to go to Notre Dame or is it that students pray that they get into Notre Dame and God made it happen? It isn’t a huge difference but it is one.
I hope this spot is a part of a series designed to be shown together during the same event because it completely lacks any mention of the academics or research taking place at ND. Is this a university for the brightest minds or the most desiring souls or both? The spot leaves me to wonder.
I’m not saying anything about Notre Dame itself but only what their PR department is saying to me, someone not attending the school watching the spot during the ND football game.
The “Notre Dame: A Higher Education” is a great tagline but work on a better spot please.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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