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Cool idea helps UNT students

Bill Ford thinks Denton is cooler than Dallas, which we think is pretty cool. But we’re more impressed by how Ford is using the new slogan he created and trademarked — “Denton: Always a few degrees cooler than Dallas.”

Ford, a senior lecturer at the University of North Texas and director of Swoop, the university’s student-managed advertising and public relations agency, has put the slogan on merchandise bearing the Swoop logo, and he will be using 20 percent of the profits to create scholarships for students in Swoop.

He also offers students part-time work selling the merchandise and plans to sell the items a couple of times a month on the UNT campus.

Right now, T-shirts are being sold at the Abbey Inn, but Ford hopes other local businesses will want to carry the merchandise.

Ford told us that he’s fallen in love with Denton since moving here last summer, but that the slogan and marketing effort are about more than creating pride in Denton — he also wants to support the students he teaches in Swoop.

Ford, who has spent almost 30 years in the advertising industry and has taught for about 25 of those years, said he enjoys working with students who want to be in advertising.

The student-managed agency gives students experience with real clients. Since Swoop was started in 2011, students have made brochures for the UNT admissions office, helped rebrand a pizza restaurant and worked with the Denton County Transportation Authority.

In our view, Ford’s logo and marketing plans fall right into line with this approach.

The Swoop program is valuable because it’s giving students something that’s difficult to come by — real-world experience, according to UNT senior Rogelio Tijerina. In Swoop, students work with real clients, real budgets and real deadlines.

As Tijerina told us, simply having a degree doesn’t cut it anymore — students need experience to secure jobs, and that’s why we like Ford’s plans.

Ford said the idea for the slogan came to him one day when he was checking the weather and noticed that Denton was a few degrees cooler than Dallas, but that the thought took on a new dimension when a friend for Portland, Ore., came to visit and thought that Denton was “cool” in another way.

The more Ford thought about it, the more he realized there is “definitely a cool factor” about Denton as a result of its music scene, universities and other factors.

We don’t know if Ford’s slogan will catch on or attain the status enjoyed by the “Keep Austin Weird” campaign, but we think it’s definitely got potential.

Meanwhile, the idea is helping UNT students, and that’s what counts.