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between a roux and a bechamel

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Please stop. It's only getting more embarrassing.

Today I received a an email from Thomas Jefferson. Actually, it's the third email from Thomas Jefferson I've received in as many weeks. Yes, that's right. That Thomas Jefferson. Third president of the U.S., author of the Declaration of Independence, and founder of the University of Virginia — who died in 1826. Each email has asked me to consider giving more (more money, that is) to UVA. All have included the phrase "This Interweb Thing" in the subject line.
You may be wondering what I have been up to the past couple of centuries. Besides autographing copies of the Declaration of Independence with my feather pen, I have been hanging around Grounds trying to make a little difference. Given the growth of the school, my new mission is to build young alumni giving. To this end, I’ll be in touch between now and my birthday — otherwise known as Founder’s Day — on April 13th.
That's the intro on the first email. I understand the motivation — I'm sure the University is in pretty dire straits right now, as far as donations go. And I know that a good marketing campaign is a step in the right direction to reaching out and opening up a few more wallets. But this is not a good marketing campaign. It is really, really bad. I know how hard it is to come up with fresh ideas to promote the same message — it's sort of my job. So I don't want to be too hateful. But holy crap, this is just a sad attempt at being cute. And especially sad to try to milk this joke three+ times. The worst part is that this bizarre ploy is being used to try and make me feel guilty . Here are a few more samples of what TJ has had to say:
In fact I'm told that this interweb — which is a series of tubes — has simplified things even more. All you do is click on this link with your "mouse", and you're one step away from giving to the University.


And be sure to join my Cause Page on Facebook (a technology I believe will someday be an inalienable right).


I must admit I'm feeling a little lonely these days. Perhaps it is the sense of aging that accompanies my 266th birthday. Or perhaps it is the fact that I chose to stay behind and work in Charlottesville while my buddies Madison and Monroe headed out for spring break. What's really getting to me, though, is the sense that I'm alone in my efforts to support the University.


Spring has arrived here, and the Lawn grows greener with each passing day. It is satisfying to see my architectural vision come to life this time each year—though I find myself wholly unfamiliar with this new tradition of "streaking the lawn." At least the deadly duels have stopped.


While you're at it, why not sign up for one of the University's electronic newsletters? See what's available. I am told signing up is easy. What will they think of next? Motorized carriages? Video feeds from the University?
Please note, marketing team: the "feelings" of our university's long-dead founder do not inspire me to make a donation. In fact, far from inspired, I'm a little bit offended. I'm probably less inclined now to give some of my not-so-readily-available money to an organization that's employing such a ridiculous campaign. I love UVA, and I do intend to make supporting the University a part of my charitable donations whenever I can. But this is a really, really bad tactic, and not one that's going to put my alma mater at the top of my current list of priorities.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas Jefferson has just been dealing with some baby momma drama in the past couple of centuries.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

So, so glad that I never joined the alumni association.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous ike said...

Thomas Jefferson as a blogwhore... faaaantastic

Follow me on twitter!
Click the link on the right to buy me a little somethin' ;-) LOLz!!!

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would anyone donate money to a university as a form of charity when you can help people not starve to death?

1:47 PM  

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