The Complete U of M / Dell / Everywhere Girl Story
This past Tuesday the 12th of April 2005, the University of Manitoba began a new marketing campaign with the ads in major newspapers across the country encouraging people to visit the University of Manitoba website (www.umanitoba.ca) which add been redesigned and launch early in the morning.
As per normal for my mornings, I went to a computer lab and opened FireFox. The University of Manitoba homepage appeared by default. I saw the new webpage and noticed that the girl on the frontpage was very predominant. I looked and I could not recoginize the building she was standing in front of. Once I figured out that it was not from the main campus of the University of Manitoba, I figured that it was one of our satelite sites and left it at that. I then read the news release from the University and was impressed by the new marketing focus. They were now going to focus on promoting our student success stories. I liked the new site compared to the old site and left the computer lab thinking I have never seen that girl before on campus. Then I said to myself there are 27,000 students at the University of Manitoba, so I cannot know everyone. I had my morning coffee in the University Centre with my friends. We were talking about the new webpage, none of us recoginized the girl or the building in the background. Figuring that with 27,000 students and a half dozen or so satelite sites, we could not know every student and building associated with the University of Manitoba. We left it at that and I went about my day thinking nothing further of it.
Soon thereafter, I returned to the computer lab to work on my latest additions to my personal website. At this point, I received an anonymous tip:
Go to Getty Images and search the term “universities”. When I was done this, I may want to Google for the ‘Dell Girl’.
I served on the Students’ Union Council for three months. Prior to serving on Council, I earned a reputation as someone who was not afraid to speak for what I felt was right. I can only assume my source knew this and choose me because they knew I would work hard to shed light upon this situation. I did not know exactly what I was looking for but I did as I was told. I scrolled page after page and on page 14, and there she was! The new University of Manitoba poster “Student”. Then I googled the term “Dell Girl”. I went to the first link and it was a treasure hunters delight, a report named Adamson Rust has been tracking this image for years and filed many reports including this one.
I was very disappointed in the University Administration. Instead of using one of our many students on the front page, they had paid taxpayer’s money to purchase society’s image of the “perfect” university student. Then they enhanced the image to increase her sex appeal. They were not selling the University, they were selling her sex appeal.
So I did what any good blogger does, I exposed this fraud for the world to see. At 1300 Central Time, I posted the information for the world to see (after creating the burning money image):
I really like the new design on the University of Manitoba website.
I especially liked how there was a student on the front page
Then I got an IM from someone telling me she is not a University of Manitoba student.
Here she is again:
So instead of using an University of Manitoba student, the University went and bought a generic image.
Now how much did this cost?
Here are my Questions:
Why did they not use a University of Manitoba student at no cost to be the poster girl University of Mantitoba student?
and what could have the University have used the $500 dollars on?
I posted the information and waited for the University to change their website. At 2pm CST, the University Administration had viewed my blog (they have checked it a couple times a day since February when I used it to mobilize students to demand better food service on campus) and were aware the “student” on the website had been exposed. Nothing happened that day. Overnight, the story spread. At 0122CDT, it was blogged about on steev’s thoughts. At the same time, the visits to my site were increasing. The information was out and students were disappointed in the University. When I went for coffee, many students were talking to me and could not believe this happened. Still, there was no action by the University. At 1432CDT, one of the College newspapers, The Paulinian, had picked up the story on their blog. There was still no action from the University. By the end of the day, the entire University knew what was happening. Not only that, many students were sending emails to the Director of Public Affairs and some to the University Vice-President (External). By this time, I had many students saying how they would have posed for free and I started to keep a list on my blog . By this time, I had an entire page of pictures with the “Dell Girl” on other websites. Yet, still no action from the University and no students had told me of getting responses to their emails.
I woke up Thursday Morning and opened my Winnipeg Sun to discover a story about the new University advertising campaign. click here to read My favourite quote was the following from the Director of Public Relations:
“This year we are embarking on a new national campaign,” said Danakas. “We need to do something to trumpet the success of the University of Manitoba.”
I said to myself: “Yeah, by using a poster girl who has never been to the University and selling her image!”.
This only proved my belief that our newspapers in Canada have become lazy and do not research stories anymore, just repeat whatever the press releases they get say. It would not have been hard to go to Google and do a search! My site had been updated by Google Tuesday night!
Then I opened my email and in there was an email from*The Inquirer* in the United Kingdom telling me they had added a story on her [ on their web magazine. At least the British know how to research a story!
Only six hours after The Inquirer had posted the story, the University finally acted and hastly changed the banners:
to a new banner:
(note that I blurred the image to protect the privacy of the student in the image)
I had managed to get the University to use a real University Student to promote the University instead of some model.
On Friday, the University changed the site to the ](http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=22529) another banner which looked ten times better than the model banner the Administration had bought in the first place. They have changed it again.
This story goes to show that the Blogosphere is here in Canada and changing the way that information is delivered in Canada!
I have to give credit to my anonymous source first of all and a big hattip to The Inquirer who have been following the Dell Girl (now known as the Everywhere Girl) for the past couple of years.
From the United Kingdom Web Magazine: The Inquirer
Everywhere Dell girl appears in Germany
Everywhere Girl defects from Dell to HP
Everywhere Girl continues world domination
Dell girl makes re-appearance, strikes lucky again
It’s that Dell girl again, again
Dell girl forces Rust job reprieve
Everywhere Girl goes to Canada
Dell, Gateway, UPS, actuary, Calumet, INQ girl uses Visa
Everywhere Girl falls asleep in museum
Girl goes back to school with Gateway and Dell
It’s that Dell girl again, again
She joins the US Government
Everywhere Girl tips up at Minnesota bank
She needs her taxes done.
Elsewhere on the W3:
Everybody loves the Dell girl – don’t you?
She is here too!
What Happens If You Don’t Sleep Enough?
THIS ONE IS GREAT:
She is taking Vivarin now
More will follow on the Dell Girl at a later date. I love tracking online culture and this image is part of it.