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Victoria Falls for Carefully Orchestrated Ruse


Victoria University Falls for Carefully Orchestrated Ruse

While Victoria University and their student magazine Salient have been quick to proclaim that their artwork appearing on Craccum’s front cover is a marketing coup, comments from the Craccum team should force them to consider otherwise. “Really this was just a PR stunt –and Victoria bought into it, literally” said Craccum Co-Editor Stian Overdahl.

Craccum had decided to do sell the cover at the beginning of the year, and this was not done as a desperate attempt to make budget, as reported by some news sites. “Our financial outlook is fine and we’re actually way ahead of budget, which is good because we’ve got some big plans for later on this year. This was all just one stunt to raise publicity about student media and the role of advertising”, said Stian Overdahl.

Victoria University were the eventual winners of the sale on TradeMe for Craccum’s front cover, paying $2500 for the honour. A press release from Victoria University called the move, an attempt to recruit students to Wellington, a ‘raid’ as well as saying they had ‘high-jacked’ (sic) the Craccum cover. Yet from Craccum’s perspective, Victoria University purchasing the cover played nicely into their hands.

“The concept for the magazine was to completely ‘sell-out’ said Craccum Co-Editor Stian Overdahl. “Selling the cover was just one facet – Victoria University have paid two and a half grand to be just another corporation trying to market itself to students. Will they be receptive to the message? I don’t think so. Students are sick of their demographic being targeted by marketers, and in a way this issue is a response to the constant marketing bombardment our age-group is exposed to”.

Craccum Co-Editor Alec Hutchinson stated, “I don’t think that they understand that they’ve become part of the joke. For this issue, our focus was on the commoditisation of content, as well as the role of advertising. Instead of just writing about the issue we decided to be dynamic, and selling the cover was part of that. The ultimate goal was to juxtapose Craccum’s traditional freedom with other parts of the magazine industry, and hopefully get students to realise the value of free student media.”

The editors say they are incredibly pleased Salient bought the cover. Co-Editor Alec Hutchinson stated, “If it had been for example Hewlett Packard that would have just been money. But with Victoria University it shows that we’ve completely compromised our values, both monetarily and ideologically, which was the initial point. It’s also I guess funny that Victoria have tried to hype this up into a PR spectacle. At the end of the day it’s up to the students to decide whether it’s an effective ad or just more vacuous marketing.”


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