Marketing is all about sales. Thoughtful, creative, and most importantly, catchy ads exist because they increase sales. Sometimes, ads are created which highlight special features of the product. For example, a movie advertisement will portray the movie as really funny, or really raunchy, either way attracting customers interested in a good laugh, etc.
Another technique is to focus less on the product itself and more on the positive effects of owning that product which will occur to the consumer i.e. you. So, for example, if you buy an iPod, you will become a really great dancer. Or, if you buy that cigarette, you will become a cowboy.
The YU website is in part a marketing device. As such, it displays many images of YU and its students. Somehow, it seems to me, the YU website does not employ either of the techniques listed above. If it would, it would try to spotlight: 1) the quality of the product itself or 2) the benefits it will have on the consumer, someone who associates with YU, you.
If I were the YU website and wanted to show off the greatness of YU, I would display pictures of its prestigious administrators, like President Joel and Rabbi Lamm, its historic figures and moments, the Roshei Yeshiva, pictures of its great scholars - maybe actually in a classroom setting teaching students. This is not the case. Instead, the YU website has pictures of American flags, the statue of liberty, the atrocious brickwork of Amsterdam Avenue, and many, many MTA students. All that tells me is that YU is in New York, is ugly, and is at least in some ways more like a high school than a university.
More significantly, if I were the YU website and wanted to show of the benefits of associating with YU on someone who associates with YU, namely, you, I would follow the common practice of advertisers in this regard. They want you to think that you will be happier, cooler, better looking, etc, by having their product. If you buy Nike, you will play ball like an NBA star. If you drink Budweiser, you will associate with better looking people. If you buy a BMW, you will become significantly classier.
Remember the last billboard you saw? Did it involve a chubby MTA kid or a beautiful model? Did it show an unshaven shlub or an award winning actor? The message: If you go to YU, you will become dorkier. Honestly, I find it insulting. Am I really so miserable as a YU student? Or are those guys really representative of my looks, my taste, my persona - of what it means to be a YU student?
The only excuse I can think of for the YU website is that the ugly, stupid looking kids they feature are the children of major patrons of YU. Or, they really think that YU either attracts or somehow creates sloppy, unkempt students.
My Constructive Suggestions: Hunt down some better looking guys (and more Stern women generally) and have an actual photo shoot with them. Stay away from highlighting the campus - as it currently exists, it is depressingly ugly and uninspiring. Take some impressive shots of the people who count in this place - scholars, presidents, rabbis, its history, and its future. The YU website, obviously, needs some fundamental makeovers, but a cosmetic one would go a long way.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What do you beholders think?
[Of course, there are one or two exceptions to nerd rule on yu.edu - you know who you are - but they are exceptions which prove the rule.]