College makes an exception, permits Target to film commercial on campus

By Leigh Bercaw

Last weekend, the tides turned: instead of Macalester students making mass migrations to Target, Target took a little trip to Macalester. Their purpose, however, was not to find a cheap yet energy-efficient desk lamp, but rather to shoot a commercial in the library and other scholarly-looking spots.This commercial, unlike other Target attention grabbers, does not involve strangely-dressed people passing the trademark target sign back and forth while perched on slowly rotating furniture. In fact, this particular commercial was filmed in association with the United Negro College Foundation (UNCF) and will be shown only on the night that the UNCF Awards Ceremony is televised, sometime in January.

The ad features UNCF scholarship recipients currently pursuing a diverse array of careers, including a doctor of veterinary medicine, an entertainment reporter and a graduate student, all speaking on their interpretations of opportunity, community, and the role UNCF has played in their lives.

A brief interview montage focuses on the continuity of UNCF scholarship-particularly on their roles as catalysts in the careers of the subjects-while emphasizing UNCF’s role in “creating greater opportunities through education,” according to one staff person at the filming.

Macalester was chosen for its beautiful campus and “authentic college atmosphere,” according to Curt Hall, a project manager for Target, but it was unusual that filming was allowed here at all.

Dean of Academic Affairs Laurie Hamre verified that the college gets requests like these from time to time, but usually turns them down to avoid a being accused of perpetuating a Macalester bias in the media.

Before the UNCF-Target commercial shoot, the most recent request for shooting an ad came from the Al Franken for Senate campaign.

This time, Hamre says, Macalester made an exception because it commended Target’s support for the United Negro College Fund. Moreover, the primary focus of the ad is on UNCF, not Target.

When questioned on the purpose of the commercial, Hall responded, “We just want to say, hey, this is a great thing to support, and Target is one of the many supporters of it.