No, I didn't just write a typo in the headline. And, you didn't misread the sentence. "Use Your You" is the slogan of Wheeling Jesuit University, as recently seen in a newspaper insert, titled, "College Bound", an insert no doubt created especially to draw college advertising dollars, and presumably targeted to teens and their parents.
If that weren't bad enough, the university seems to have created a whole campaign around this vapid message. (See their website http://www.useyouryou.com/)
The word "lame" was created for this slogan. If ever there were an inane message, this takes the (dis)honors.
What could "Use Your You" possibly mean? Use your (emphasis) you, not someone else's?. And, what message of benefit does it give an 18 year old looking for a college to attend? How exactly does one use his/her you? Or, is the message meant to take the "against position", as in against the colleges that won't let you use your you? Perhaps it competes with the colleges that tell you to use your not-you. I don't know; it's baffling to me.
But, I've seen this kind of thing before, especially from America's colleges and universities. This ridiculous message comes from some creative type in the recruitment office or some academic who convinced the recruitment office that he was creative. I can just picture the person philosophizing and then rhapsodizing over his/her message. Ironically, the message couldn't have been written by a Jesuit. Jesuits are known for their practicality. This message smells distinctly of academia.
Why doesn't the message work? For many reasons. It offers no tangible benefit. It has an assonance that makes it nearly impossible to say. It makes little to no sense, especially to readers whose minds are already cluttered beyond control with straightforward messages from the world's most sophisticated messengers. You know, people like Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's.
And what are 18 year old boys, WJU's target audience, interested in? I'll give you a hint, it's a three-letter word. Eighteen year old boys already spent their early teens discovering their "yous". I know; I was one. They long ago knew how to use their you. I'll admit, though, that 18 year old girls, being a more mature group than the boys, might be thinking about how to use their yous as they enter college. But still....
Let's face it: the message sucks. It will not attract attention, lead to interest or action. No one knows how to act on it, anyway. So, I suggest that WJU (that's Wheeling Jesuit University) immediately fire its ad agency/marketing firm as they obviously are run by a bunch of creative types who spend all day wondering how to win Ad Week awards. Or, if the campaign was created internally, move the writers back to the classroom where they will do less damage and hire a good writer/marketing person. Hire someone who knows that clever seldom works in media environments as saturated as ours.
If nothing else, put these writers in a room and tell them they can't come out until they use their yous.