Brands are penetrating college campuses across the country more than ever and becoming increasingly present in every day college life, according a report by the New York Times. They’re everywhere, following students around as they eat, sleep and study.There are people called “brand ambassadors” or “campus evangelists” in the euphemistic industry jargon, but they’re really just college kids getting paid to don branded gear and be walking, talking billboards. There are also branded on-campus events and even private shopping excursions.
Here’s how one such trip at UNC — arranged by Target — went down. From the Times’ article:
When the first bus arrives, the students rush forward as if it were Black Friday. 20 minutes later, the first bus arrives at the SuperTarget. Mr. Crisp, the U.N.C. vice chancellor, greets the students and alerts those following on Twitter.
“First bus load at Target!!! Let the fun begin!!” Twitter.”>Mr. Crisp posts @vicecrispy. A little later, he posts: “Target is rocking!!! Come on out!”
By midnight, the store is crowded with freshmen pushing shopping carts full of lamps, pillows, cases of soda and free junk food. “Mac and cheese, everyone!” an upperclassmen yells, tossing packages at passing students. One student wins a refrigerator and a year’s supply of Coca-Cola.
There’s not much left un-commercialized in the college experience — even the colleges themselves are now giant brands. NCAA sports is a multi-billion dollar business, but has come under increasing scrutiny for crossing the hypothetical line.
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