Harvard’s only big enough for one brand

Harvard_luckycharms_1Even though blogging is considered the province of pajama-clad whiners, every so often it’s important to go out into the field. Thus, we found ourselves this weekend at the Harvard 25th reunion (not because we had the SAT scores to actually go there, you understand), and were able to see firsthand that so far the efforts of the “Harvard Students for the Reimplementation of Brand-Named Cereals” have failed. (AdFreak first reported on the existence of the, um, HRBNC back in March.) Our offspring ate some knockoff of Sugar Pops Saturday morning in a stained-glass former cathedral of a cafeteria at Memorial Hall—a wonderful setting in which to ponder the University’s $22.6 billion endowment and its perverse cost-cutting when it comes to cereal. Even if college officials seem somewhat in the dark about the power of authentic Lucky Charms, they have absolute clarity about the power of their own brand. Over the course of the weekend, we were lavishly grafted, with Harvard-Radcliffe 25th Reunion T-shirts (including one for the seven-year-old!), plus a commemorative L.L. Bean-style tote bag and backpack. As a graduate of a perfectly good, but certainly not great, liberal arts school, we are fantasizing about how these totems will allow us to occasionally pass ourselves off as a Harvard grad.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor