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Alternative ad aired in place of ‘Candle’ commercial during football game

Karen Langley | Monday, September 26, 2005

Viewers who turned on the television for Saturday’s football game expecting to see the University institutional spot “Candle” were in for a surprise.

Instead, the University aired one of two “Champion” ads from last year, University spokesman Matt Storin said. While the notes of “Here Come the Irish” played in the background, the ad featured photographs of prominent Notre Dame graduates, including Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, followed by a montage of campus scenes, including images of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and Golden Dome. The ad concluded with a student’s smiling face.

In “Candle,” a female high school student is depicted lighting candles and praying in a church. The commercial concludes with her receiving an acceptance envelope from the University.

Storin said any speculation that negative feedback from “Candle” prompted the switch was false.

“This is nothing unusual,” Storin said. “We’re just rotating once in a while. The ‘Candle’ ad will run this coming week.”

Storin said while the two “Champion” ads ran last year, the year before last had “four, maybe five” ads run during games.

“In my time [at the University], we’ve never run the same spot every week,” Storin said.

Vice president for public affairs and communication Hilary Crnkovich said her decision to run a different ad Saturday was not due to controversy generated by “Candle.”

“We ran ‘Candle’ for the first few games and were pleased with it, but we always like to have a little versatility,” Crnkovich said.

Unlike the “Candle” ad, which focuses on “the concept of Catholicity,” Crnkovich said “Champion” takes a more multi-faceted approach.

“I think it shows a lot of different elements of Notre Dame,” she said. “It really captures nicely a lot of great aspects of the University.”

Crnkovich said response to the “Candle” ad was mixed, saying, “There was very positive feedback and some individuals who have not been as positive.

“What it has done, which I think is wonderful, is elicit emotion in people. That essentially is what advertising is supposed to do.”

Sophomore Sean Cullen agreed, suggesting that some people took the “Candle” ad too seriously.

“I think with advertising there should be a certain degree of poetic license,” he said. “Maybe this commercial used a little too much poetic license, but to say this it is a false representation of Notre Dame is ridiculous because only one person was shown the entire commercial.”

Though the “Champion” ad ran during last year’s season, freshman Briana Miller felt that it showed a different perspective than typical Notre Dame ads. “I was surprised there were black people in it and it was diverse,” she said, referring to the student in the ad’s closing shot.

The inclusion of a minority student in the ad represents both the student body and its diversity, said sophomore Molly Dawes, who added that the “Champions” ad was a more complete representation of the University as a whole.

“Yes, religion is a big part of Notre Dame, but it is only one aspect of our school identity,” she said. “I think it is better to have a commercial that shows all the aspects that make us Notre Dame.”

While the “Candle” commercial did not deserve all of its negative hype, said senior Kevin Clock, it did not show as much of Notre Dame as Saturday’s “Champions” ad.

“I’d like to see a brand new commercial,” he said. “I think one of the main selling points is the campus as a whole.”

While the “Champions” ad was a good commercial, said sophomore Randy Rainosek, it was typical of University advertisements. The “Candle” ad showed something unique about Notre Dame.

Rainosek saw the “Candle” ad for the first time while watching the football game against Pittsburgh on North Quad. “It gave me goose bumps to see that innovative of a commercial,” he said. “Seeing it in the crowd with everyone cheering made it feel as if there was something different at Notre Dame.”