Word Up

We’re in the wrong business. Statmats, a company that specializes in marketing and advertising for higher education got paid $260,000 to pen this slogan for UAlbany: The World Within Reach. A UAlbany student wrote to the newspaper complaining that this prices out at $65,000 a word. He must be a math major.

I’ve come up with a slogan or two in my time. In fact, if you live near Albany you might recognize them. I was not paid $65,000 per word, but using that as a benchmark, my most lucrative single job (eight words) would have netted me $520,000. One of the words in that one was “there’s.” Believe me, if I were being paid by the word, I would never have used a contraction in that slogan. It would have been “there is” and I would have pocketed an extra sixty-five large. Ha.

It may sound like I’m being absurd to make a point, but I’m not. Some of the things I wrote were worth $65,000 per word if not many times more. Seriously. Think about it: how much do you think “Just Do It” was worth per word? Or “Mmm…Mmm…Good?” Mmm isn’t even a word, but its value to Campbell Soup is easily in the nine figure range.

If this UAlbany thing ends up another hollow phrase that means nothing, as many slogans do, then they’ve thrown the money away. If they embrace it and makes it part of their being -if they live it and breathe it and believe it- then they’ve made a great investment.

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