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Let the dog out

Jonathan Smith wishes A&M used Reveille to promote the new image

Published: Monday, September 6, 2004

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

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By Tony Piedra


"Reveille: First Lady of Texas" A&M, written by Rusty and Vannessa Burson, examines the history and the legacy of Texas A&M's favorite mascot. The book explains how the original Reveille, a mutt with a heart of gold, led to a thoroughbred line of Reveilles that have become "Queens" of A&M. The success of the tradition of Reveille since the 1930s proves the legendary Aggie canine should be the most prominent symbol in any effort that wishes to represent A&M.

Last month's proposal by A&M President Robert Gates to create a new high-level position to coordinate communications and marketing at A&M implies that the University soon will have a professional standard for all marketing efforts put forth by the University. As A&M moves toward a more media-friendly campus, Reveille's image should become as closely associated with A&M as the bald eagle is associated with the United States.

The fact that Reveille remains on campus also increases her clout around the school. Unlike the University of Texas' mascot, which, according to The Daily Texan stays at Sunrise Ranch outside of Austin, Reveille sleeps in a dorm just like thousands of college students across the country. The Mascot Corporal also takes her all over campus where she can mingle with 44,000 other Aggies.

The only real local challenge to the dominance of Reveille's image is Ol' Sarge, a scruffy, tough-looking drill sergeant. This archetype is displayed wherever fine Aggie paraphernalia are sold and has long been used to represent Texas A&M. Ol' Sarge does a good job of symbolizing the Corps of Cadets, but he does not do a good job of representing the majority of Aggies.

The popularity of Ol' Sarge in local stores proves that the legacy of A&M as a military school is still held sacred by many Aggies. Yet the University's marketing effort should do more than please the nostalgic. The marketing efforts of the school should represent A&M as a diverse flagship institution devoted to being a positive influence in the community. Reveille should be used in cases when all A&M is represented (as opposed to just the Corps of Cadets). The image of the Aggie Collie is more pleasant and universal than a military man.

Reveille represents the average college student more than one would think. Any of the A&M professors would tell you that a (sometimes disruptive) cell phone is now a near universal accessory of Aggie students. Reveille also has her own cell phone, yet the Mascot Corporal does all the talking and dialing for her. Reveille also possesses a student identification card, exercises on campus, goes to classes and attends all the football games. A description of her average day might trick an outsider into believing that she was an Aggie student.

Yet, Reveille is much higher up the totem pole than the average student. As most Aggies know, she is the highest-ranking member of the University's Corps of Cadets. Therefore, in essence Reveille is able to perfectly represent the cadets in the Corps and the civilian students at the same time. This point alone should convince makers of Aggie paraphernalia (which represent the school to shoppers across Texas) to say "Ol' Sarge who?"

The image of Reveille has already carved a special place in the hearts of the A&M population. The book correctly states that she "is to the doggie domain what Lady Diana or Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy were to femininity in their time: icons of class, grace, charm, style, beauty and nobility." Reveille is living proof that some traditions can actually be strengthened as A&M changes.

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