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ND airs ad during Pitt game

Kaitlynn Riely | Thursday, September 8, 2005

Numerous times during the Pittsburgh-Notre Dame football game Saturday, students gathered on North Quad erupted into cheers as Notre Dame opened the season with a win. One of those cheers, however, was neither for the strategy of Charlie Weis or the talent of the Notre Dame players.

Students also cheered in reaction to a new television advertisement promoting a Notre Dame education.

In the commercial, a girl is seen entering a church multiple times to light a candle. By the end of the commercial, it appears that her prayers have been answered, and she opens her mailbox to find the much sought after “big envelope” from the admissions office at Notre Dame. Dropping the rest of her mail, she looks to the heavens as the university’s name and the words “A Higher Education” appear.

Many students reported that the spot brought back memories of their own quest for admittance to Notre Dame and the rush of emotions that came with receiving their acceptance letter after a long wait. Freshman Killen Lewis, who watched the game on the North Quad, said “I felt chills,” after seeing the ad.

Notre Dame’s Office of News and Information was involved in creating Notre Dame’s ad, or what they call an “institutional spot.” Matt Storin, the associate vice president for News and Information, has been involved for several years in creating video images for Notre Dame.

“[The videos] show what Notre Dame is, what it strives to be and how it is different from other universities,” Storin said.

Julie Flory, the assistant director at the Office of News and Information, was involved in the production of the video. Her office worked with an agency in Chicago to design a concept, to cast the actress and to edit the footage. The actual filming of the spot took place in New Jersey.

“We were looking for something to resonate with viewers, to create a lasting impression and show that Notre Dame is a serious place for learning and faith,” Flory said.

Past spots have stressed the close-knit nature of the Notre Dame family, the devotion of students to the school, or focused on the fame and success of alumni. Storin says that the typical Division I school will have an ad that shows “famous alums, lab beakers, people in white coats. They sound like Oxford when they do their spot.”

This year, the University wanted to address the uniqueness of Notre Dame and its Catholic character in order to be distinctive from other universities.

The initial feedback to the Office of News and Information about the spot has been limited so far, Storin said.

“Some people with a bad experience with admissions found the video personally disturbing,” Storin said.

Their interpretation is that you must pray in order to get into the University, he said.

Jenny Ehright, a Notre Dame sophomore, says that the commercial was “maybe a little overdone, but a lot of people can relate to waiting for a response from college.”

Storin said he hopes people understand the ad shows the faith-based aspect of Notre Dame.

“We are a university that attracts young people of faith,” Storin said.

Flory remarked on the difficulty of bottling a message about the University in a 30 second ad.

“It’s hard to craft a message so perfect that no one can dislike it,” Flory said.

Storin said he hopes viewers will focus on the words “a higher education,” which appear at the end of the spot.

“The kind of person attracted to Notre Dame is a person who believes in prayer,” said Storin.

This spot will be played throughout the year during televised Notre Dame sports. It can also be viewed in both the normal 30 second version and an extended 60 second version at mms://streaming.nd.edu/candle60.wmv.