This post was written by AMA Boston volunteer Marianna Torres.

It is well known that using social media is crucial for any business to showcase their brand personality, including institutions like colleges and universities since their main goal is to capture the attention of prospective students and faculty. What better way to showcase personality than to tease and jab at their competitors on social media? College rivalries have existed for centuries, with the first noted rivalry being between Yale and Princeton in 1873. These rivalries mostly centered around athletics, but they did and do spill into the social, academic, and now media sphere. 

Institutions like Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern University have all used “beef” as a great marketing tool to showcase their school spirit and culture. The battle between these three institutions can be seen on TikTok, where a variety of their videos are specifically targeted to their rivals. They also brilliantly utilize trending sounds and video concepts to further engage their audience and each other for a response. For example, Boston University posted a TikTok where the phrase “This is not a banger” is repeated throughout the slide show with the Boston College and Northeastern logo until the last slide that says “And I know bangers” which was titled on the Boston University logo. It is a direct, concise way to target rival schools, and what makes it even better is the responses from the other universities. Northeastern is very consistent in responding to BU. When their TikTok manager noticed BU used the wrong Northeastern logo, they got called out for it in the comments section.  

It appears that these types of posts get the most engagement as it received 169.9 K views with 17.1 K likes. Another great example comes from Northeastern’s page where one video revolved around the “POV” trend. The sound they used was a compilation of people singing Bonnie Clyde’s song “Total Eclipse of The Heart (Turn Around)” in a range from worst to best. Institutions like Boston University, Boston College, and Suffolk University were obviously designated to the worst range while Northeastern was the best with Greg Hefley from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid singing the song. Their video also received a lot of engagement with 188.3 K views and 15.4 K likes. 

Author

  • Allen ibrahim

    Allen is a podcaster, TV enthusiast, and Digital Marketing MBA graduate based in the Greater Boston Area. Their pronouns are he/they, and they joined AMA Boston as VP of Content in 2022.