Spring Break is one of the most anticipated times of the year for some college goers, where weeks prior to vacation students fantasize of their care free getaways, or basically anything far away from libraries and classrooms. Students spend thousands of dollars planning cruises, flights to foreign countries, or even traveling to famous college spots such as Panama City, Florida or Las Vegas, Nevada. However, we wonder how students figure out the most cost friendly and safe way to travel, especially when excessive booze is (more than likely) involved. Some students decide to take the independent route and rally with friends to make their ideal itinerary, whereas others might look towards travel services for guidance. While watching a rerun of The Real World: Cancun (It’s a guilty pleasure, promise) I had my IMC skills to notice a marketing strategy that integrated a service placement with the popular reality program. The Real World, which focuses on diverse strangers living in a house together over a few months, is a popular television segment amongst the 18-25 year old male/female demographic. This seems an appropriate age range for more spring breakers, so it wasn’t a bad idea for the show’s producers to throw in an advertisement for a spring break organization, conveniently located in one of the most sought after spring break destinations for United States travelers. “StudentCity”, an organization that focuses on high school and college students, is a service that provides all access guidance to flights, hotels, parties, booze, the works. Their website even capitalizes on how spring break is a “rite of passage” and that their all access package is all you need for spring break!
The phrase “All publicity is good publicity” is a well-known, arguable phrase that can be regarded as true in awareness, however demeaning in quality or credibility. Throughout the season’s run of The Real World: Cancun, the cast were summoned to work at “StudentCity” each day, where job duties included: helping incoming travelers find their hotels, escorting students to parties or other locations, and organizing special events that (more than likely) off-camera revolved around The Real World: Cancun itself. Problems aroused when some cast mates got too intoxicated, cast mates neglected to show up for work, or disputes broke up in front of spring breakers. These conflicts were broadcast on the show regardless, and the organization clearly didn’t fight to bring down the negative actions of cast mates who worked for their company.
This would be a problem for most paying companies, where they want their service to be shined in a positive light on a popular program. However, since the target audience for this organization seems to be 18-25 (and some room on the outside for untraditional spring break goers), did “StudentCity” appreciate the intoxication, fighting, and drama of the show that surrounded its company? In most situations, this Lindsay Lohan behavior would clearly be “bad publicity;” it leaves us wondering if this was the organization’s intention overall.