Goodbye, custard powder

May 24, 2012

Our Deputy Head of Brand Management, Georgina Edsel, has warmly welcomed an analysis by Patrick Freeland-Small, the chief marketing officer at the University of Melbourne, that argues that universities must prize their brands as valuable assets.

Although she recognised that our university was not in the same branding league as Harvard - which, in Mr Freeland-Small's analysis, emerged as a more valuable brand than both Coca-Cola and Vodafone - her own longitudinal research into awareness of the Poppleton brand clearly indicates that we are moving in the right direction.

In an exclusive interview, Ms Edsel told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that a brand-awareness survey she had carried out in 2008 had produced the initially dispiriting news that Poppleton was rather less well-known as a brand than Carter's Little Liver Pills, Phyllosan for the Over Forties and Radio Malt.

However, a repetition of the survey carried out in the early part of this year revealed that Poppleton had made significant progress. It was now better known as a brand than Senior Service, Bird's Custard Powder and Angel Delight. Indeed, as a brand, Poppleton was now within "touching distance" of such everyday household names as Jeyes Fluid and Vimto.

She described the claim by Mr Ponting that he had never heard of a single one of these products as "unhelpful".

I'll give it Foive

As we move into the assessment period, The Poppletonian offers a brand-new reader service specially designed for all those who are about to engage in the complex task of assigning precise marks to examination scripts, projects and dissertations.

Each week, a group of anonymous but expert academic assessors will deliver their considered views on some of the most commonly employed examination marks. This week our experts describe the debate that surrounds the ever-popular but persistently contentious mark of 59.

"It is customary," writes the panel, "to describe 59 as a marginal mark. But this is the beginning rather than the end of the problem in that serious differences exist between assessors over the nature and degree of this marginality. For some, the marginality of 59 is fundamentally ontological in that they see such marginality as a stable and invariant feature of the mark. In other words, the mark is marginal precisely because it lies at the margin. That is what constitutes its character.

"However, for other assessors, 59 is essentially constituted by its very instability, its inherent capacity for upward mobility, its sense of immanence. It is, to put it at its bluntest, a mark that is already inclining towards better things, a mark that does not merely contain intimations of a better mark but a mark that, chrysalis-like, already contains within itself the prospect of transformation into a bright shining 60."

Next week, our panel of experts will endeavour to capture the distinctive philosophical arguments that rage around the deeply divisive mark of 34.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Next week's seminar on personal health will be titled "My word, don't you all look well and fit and handsome". The speaker will be a Doctor of Complimentary Medicine.

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