Worth it?

Monday’s Post-Gazette came with two sections adorned with these folded ads that stretched the entire length of the paper.

One was an ad for Direct TV, I believe it was.

Here is the other one, which covered the special Super Bowl section.

Guess who spent money to tell the Steelers, “It’s okay. We still love you even though you played like poop.”



Giant Eagle?


Maybe it was free? Maybe all the students chipped in?

I’m just at a loss as to why this ad, which isn’t even touting any academic opportunities, would be considered a good use of advertising dollars at a school whose tuition was raised 4.5% last year in light of what the PSSHE called “challenging fiscal times.”

Only in Pittsburgh.


  1. Spanky
    February 9, 2011 3:08 pm

    I don’t want to speculate too much, but I suspect that not having Jeff Reed as our kicker in the Super Bowl jinxed us. I’m just saying

  2. spoon
    February 9, 2011 3:14 pm

    Think of it this way, if they won the Super Bowl would there be any question? That ad would become part of a collectors edition and saved for years. They’re all over the Consol Energy Center now too. I think having Lokay as a grad is paying off with huge donations.

    PG most likely sold them a Super Bowl ad and then gave a break if they lost or CalU bought in bulk and this was part of the deal.

  3. Craig
    February 9, 2011 3:48 pm

    As an IUP graduate school grad, I’m shocked that the Indians/Crimson Hawks didn’t get there first. I guess that the recent decline of the IUP football program must have someone to do with it.

  4. Dana
    February 9, 2011 3:54 pm

    they also bought an ad during the Superbowl and they purchased space on the boards at the CEC. LaRoche did that when they were REALLY struggling a few years ago… maybe CalU is doing the same?

  5. Paul
    February 9, 2011 4:10 pm

    Well they knew a ton of people would be reading the paper the day after the Super Bowl. Probably not a bad idea to use the advertising dollars this way.

    Of course, high school age kids probably don’t read the paper anymore – they’re probably all online.

    All I know is I’m sure they need to get money somewhere and enrollments are the most likely place to get them since the current state Government is going to be even less friendly to higher education than the previous, if that’s even possible.

  6. Joe K.
    February 9, 2011 4:23 pm

    The kids might not be reading the paper but maybe the parents are. They have to spend money on advertising somewhere, and there’s still a large number of people that read newspapers.

  7. parkingchair
    February 9, 2011 4:24 pm

    people are noticing the ad and talking about it- that’s what it’s supposed to do. and some percentage of those people will look into cal U – score a big win for them. Plus it creates a positive vibe. Cal U isn’t really close to the ‘burgh, but acting like a part of the community makes it feel closer than it really is.

    Of course, on the downside, it’s one more thing distracting people from the great job my Dukes are doing on the hardwood this year!

  8. Summer
    February 9, 2011 4:29 pm

    Listen, we need all the advertising revenue we can get. If you haven’t heard, the newspaper industry is in a downturn.

  9. Stacie
    February 9, 2011 5:06 pm

    they have alot of new dorms down in Cal that need to be filled!!!

  10. Pa-pop
    February 9, 2011 5:13 pm

    There is a pile of legitimate reasons for aggressive marketing by higher ed institutions even though a positioning ad like this one would seem to fly in the face of logic at first blush. What I’m most interested in knowing, though, is this: How many people assumed it was an ad for #1 Cochran (like I did) before getting to the bottom of the page?

  11. Shibori
    February 9, 2011 5:30 pm

    I’m taking a single class at Cal right now that’s a pre-req for a grad program I’m considering, and I have mixed feeling about it. Amoung the four year schools in the southern part of southwestern Pennsylvania, it’s still the best value for your dollar- Penn State Fayette is nearby but significantly more expensive on a per-credit basis. I’ve had three professors for class there (including two summer classes I took in 2008) and all of them were knowledgeable about their subjects and seemed really dedicated to their students. They’ve made some investments in some high-tech equipment for their science programs that help them compete with bigger programs-though that’s only if you can get in the class you need to use them (see below).

    On the other hand, they don’t offer enough of the basic courses- classes like intro bio (a common requirement) are nearly impossible to schedule, often filling up on the first day of registration in a system that favors upperclassmen. Parking used to be inconvenient but free just two years ago- now a single on campus student parking spot is still inconvenient but goes for a minimum of $600/semester, and better ones are significantly more- and it’s not in a big city or anything that would limit parking, they’re just packing the campus with more kids than it can handle. The fees are exhorbitant in comparison to the tuition- I paid nearly 50% of the tuition cost in additional fees and expenses, which reduces some of the value of the tuition. The town is a total shithole and isolated, which perpetuates the party atmosphere because there’s abosultely nothing to do there. On-campus food prices are exhorbitant, preying on the limited alternatives in the area surrounding campus and the fact that most kids pay on their “CalCard” and the bill goes right to mom and dad, so who cares if they’re charging $5 for the equivalent of an egg mcmuffin.

    A lot has changed there lately, but it doesn’t seem like it’s resulted in a lot of positive change for students. As a Pitt alum, I can say they’ve taken a page from Pitt’s playbook in terms of wasteful spending that has little to do with actual education. Though that seems to be the game for higher ed everywhere.

  12. Lisa
    February 9, 2011 5:38 pm

    I think it’s a great ad. Like others have mentioned, it creates a positive image for Cal and they were probably going to spend the advertising dollars anyway!

  13. Stacey
    February 9, 2011 6:00 pm

    Oh, “Harvard on the Mon”, you’re #1 in my heart too! My alumni dollars hard at work!

  14. Tina
    February 9, 2011 7:54 pm

    This establishment is the biggest money-hungry rip offs in PA! Keep stealing my dollars, but don’t offer me a parking permit, you thieves!

  15. PK
    February 9, 2011 8:31 pm

    Ginny, you forgot that in addition to dasherboards at the CEC they also have an entire frakkin’ conference center with the CalU name.

    Just remember … your tax dollars at work.

  16. bucdaddy
    February 9, 2011 9:46 pm

    I like how they call themselves CalU instead of going by the California University of Pennsylvania acronym CUP. I think the women’s basketball media guide there should always have a photo of all the players on the front and the slogan “12 Girls, 1 CUP.”

  17. Shibori
    February 9, 2011 11:00 pm

    I just got an email from Cal’s text alert system with the subject: “Emergency Calls to Pubic Safety”, so they’re obviously not spending the money on spell check. Either that or some underpaid work study student is wonderfully passive agressive.

  18. bucdaddy
    February 10, 2011 12:53 am

    “Get me a condom, STAT!”

  19. USCMike
    February 10, 2011 10:21 am

    That’s OK, they probably went to Moon High before CalU. Went to a bball game there the other night and the sign in the hallway has arrows directing you to the gym, restrooms and conSessions. Nice to see the school checks their spelling…

  20. Jeremy
    February 11, 2011 8:30 am

    friend of mine’s husband works for fox in pgh – he handled all of the transitions from the game to commercials and back – cal u actually purchased 3 ads during the super bowl to be shown during local advertising “slots” – they paid $75,000 per slot…

  21. Leah
    February 11, 2011 9:58 am

    As a graduate of CAL U, I think it’s great!

  22. BeauJacques
    February 11, 2011 10:39 am

    Sounds like the spate of “charities” that spend $0.90 of every
    $1.00 trying to raise “more” $ to keep their management ball rolling!!

    A “reverse” Ponzi scheme!

    Only Cal U is using taxpayer money instead of duped charity donors!