Sometimes a story leads you in directions you never suspected. Our post on the Acadia Video plug was hopeful; yes, Acadia is struggling, but we have some good people working on it. Instead we find that the university may have been the victim of a cruel scam.
The video piece which we initially thought was a network feature is nothing but an infomercial for which the university probably paid about US$20,000, a “scheduling fee”, with the expectation that the spot would be aired on network TV in targeted regions of the US market.
We’ll let you dig out the sorry details for yourself. You could start with this link from the NY Post dated April 19, 2009
Or Google Greg Gumbel, and The Economic Report with the word scam.
Once the story broke Greg Gumbel and his agent promptly said they were taken in, unaware his video intro was being used in this fashion; he is suing EncoreTV. The networks are pulling the spots and claiming ignorance too.
Acadia is not alone. Many other small universities [note the identical “bright spot in education” line] took the same bait. They aren’t even getting their money’s worth in terms of a marketing video since the company used regurgitated shots.
Did this company approach Acadia? Did Acadia pay? How much? Did the town contribute and/or investigate before the mayor went on camera? Are the spots aired anywhere else but on YouTube ? Does Acadia know it was duped? [The clip does not appear on the Acadia website that we could find but it was put up on YouTube by the Acadia webmaster just a week ago.]
What we found out should have been part of our original piece but also should have been sniffed out by Acadia’s marketing Dept. before they shelled out scarce dollars. After all they actually pay educated people real money to do due diligence.
The shame of it is – Acadia is good value for US students but this was the wrong promotional vehicle. It can only be embarrassing.