I’ve been seeing more advertisements for education companies using the word “Ivy” in their name and got to thinking about the wisdom of overusing a marquee word. There are at least four, as of this writing. Talk about stiff competition! (I believe that IvyPrep was the very first Ivy in Vietnam, which means the others listed below are the followers.) Maybe too much of a good thing? Maybe a dilution, or cheapening, of the magical power of this word? Or does “Ivy” sell, regardless of how many companies use the name?
The word Ivy, of course, is a reference to “a collegiate athletic conference comprising sports teams from eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States.” Those eight (8) institutions also happen to be ranked among the top 16 in the US News and World Report 2015 university rankings. They include: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University.
As the Ivy League Wikipedia entry points out, The term Ivy League has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism. The overall acceptance rates for the Ivy League class of 2019 range from 6.1% at Columbia University (2,228 from a pool of 36,250) to 14.9% at Cornell University (6,234 from a pool of 41,907). That means that not many Vietnamese kids, nor kids of any other nationality, for that matter, gain admission. It’s the lure, the possibility, the dream of being offered admission to an Ivy League institution that’s good for business. Most have the same chances of winning the lottery.
The test prep and overseas study advising market is competitive enough already. Why not create a new name, a new identity, that enables you to distinguish yourself in a very crowded marketplace?
P.S.: Are there any other “Ivy” companies that I’ve overlooked? What about “Vina-Ivy”?
P.P.S.: Ivy on My Mind sung to Georgia on My Mind.