The artists over at Pixar have been busy as usual. The studio has released a new teaser for its upcoming Monsters Inc. prequel, Monsters University. The ad aired during American college football’s Rose Bowl and it spoofs a typical college recruitment ad, suggesting that the school is a run-of-the-milll university before revealing that its students are all… a little bit different. The ad follows the unveiling of the official Monsters U website back in October. The site is modelled on the average college web page and does a very thorough job of imitating a real school’s page—it even has a campus map and a college outfitters store. Like the site, the television spot fashions itself after an advertisement you might see championing Michigan State University for example, or Lakehead.
The spot, titled Imagine You at MU, opens with shots of a lush green campus populated by stately old buildings while a smooth-voiced narrator extols the virtues of the institution. The first hint that this may not be a school for humans doesn’t come until about halfway through the clip, when a green paw working out an equation on a dry erase board is glimpsed. Then the smooth voice asks the viewer to imagine a university “where I…” (“where I… where I…” echo the voices of three students) as a three-eyed, spiral-horned, fuzzy purple monster wearing mascara is revealed, introducing herself to the viewer as an MU student. “Where I can be unique,” she says—as though she’d blend in elsewhere.
The ad continues to follow the formula of a standard school spot, clichéd catch phrases and all (“Your future is knocking,” says the voice, urging prospective students to “open the door”). It’s pretty clever.