Inspired by the explosive popularity of Pokémon Go, a new mobile app where users catch Pokémon that has taken the world by storm, UVic announced today that it will be scrapping its UVic Edge branding campaign in favour of a new initiative called UVic Go.
The revamped brand is meant to capitalize on the app’s popularity with students, many of whom fall into the coveted millennial demographic. UVic administration hopes that the shift in focus will re-energize the university in the eyes of current and potential students, especially those that are more focused on claiming the gym outside McPherson Library than studying inside of it.
“We’re so excited for this new campaign,” said President Jamie Cassels. “We see this as a fantastic opportunity that will encourage students to be the very best there ever was when studying at UVic.”
“UVic Edge was built on three key ideas: dynamic learning, vital impact, and an extraordinary environment, which sounds pretty good on paper, right?” said Cassels. “Similarly, Pokémon Go includes three visually if not substantially distinct teams — Valor, Mystic, and Instinct — that represent the best traits of UVic students. We knew we had a chance to capture that synergy.”
When asked if putting so many resources into a campaign that panders to a demographic known for its short attention span might be unsustainable, especially when the university is supposed to be working on a comprehensive sexual assault policy this summer, the university responded with confidence.
“I don’t think that’s a concern for us, no,” said Carmen Charette, UVic vice president external relations. “This is a well-informed, properly considered initiative that was assembled through extensive consultation with our stakeholders.”
“In many ways, starting your degree is a lot like starting your Pokémon adventure,” Charette said. “Setting out all by yourself at a very young age into a whole new world filled with excitement, danger, and no real support system to speak of is the core of the Pokémon experience, and I think the UVic experience as well. This initiative reflects that.”
However, a marketing intern speaking on condition of anonymity said the extensive consultation was anything but.
“It was really just, like, the day the app was released in Canada, and a bunch of higher-ups, including Jim Dunsdon [associate vice-president student affairs] started banging on my door yelling about how we needed to ‘get on top of this’ and ‘come up with something fast,’” said the intern. “I spent about three hours or so that afternoon just throwing some banners together. Not my best work, really. But when I went to present it, they approved it on the spot. I don’t think I’ve seen Dunsdon so quick to act on anything, to be honest.
“I think they saw that the UVic Edge colours and the gym colours were the same, and thought that was good enough,” he continued. “So I just rolled with it.”
UVic staff were allegedly spotted throwing UVic Edge promotional materials into a dumpster behind the University Centre shortly after the announcement. One staffer was reported to have thrown her phone in with them after yelling about an app update that “made the Pokémon tracker useless,” and that the UVic Go campaign will fall off “just like those students fell off the UVic Edge last spring.”
The Martlet could not confirm these reports as a high-level Squirtle appeared right outside the office at press time.