Friday, June 20, 2008

Schools-out-for-the-summer-special or sample of one suggests taglines still sticking

Lots of people in the biz, including me, have speculated on whether taglines still have an important role in the brave new world of marketing, but as the attached documents attest, the most disseminated lines--both old and new--remain memorable, at least in the consciousness of this nine-year-old--a daughter of a colleague. She was given these worksheets as an assignment in her class earlier this year. She obviously did pretty well.

It suggests that the best taglines still stick in impressionable young minds. What it says about the state of education....well, I'll force myself to avoid drawing generalizations from this single example so as not to fall into a state unrecoverable depression.


Beecham said...

Why does this reflect poorly on the state of education? My hope is that this would lead to a discussion of the pernicious effect of advertising. No offense intended.

sk said...

How does this assignment--or the memorability of taglines--suggest or reveal that the effects of advertising are pernicious?

Beecham said...

I'm not sure what the nature of your question is: do you mean to ask about this assignment, or the more basic question of whether advertising can be pernicious?

Surely, we should all be aware of the power of such phrases and of advertising in general--and this assignment shows us how ubiquitous and how memorable taglines are--I imagine filling this out and being surprised at how many I know! and that a kid would know the taglines from things that the kid doesn't care about (coffee!). such a realization might lead us to reflect on the way that a successful tagline and brand association might influence us in our choices.

My elementary school did a fair number of projects, teaching us about the power of advertising: in fourth grade, for example, we spent days testing paper towels, their absorbency, tearability, pricing, counted the sheets in the roll, surveyed how people liked the patterns and texture, and of what people thought were the "best" paper towels, to help us realize that while one brand might have a great tagline/mascott/etc, it may not be the best purchase (-it was about more than advertising: the project made us use lots of skills, so in each subject that week we would do a part of the project, in math class, in english, science, etc.). This type of questionnaire that you post would have been a good lead-in to this sort of project.

Why do you think it reflects poorly on education?

sk said...

Probably a longer subject than can be answered in a post of these dimensions. Does memorability or even influence equate with perniciousness? It seems that arguments about advertising's influence suggest either an almost magical power of control or no power or at all, but to simplify: my comment was really about the assignment itself.

I'm not particularly surprised that the student in question knew the answers. Having taught classes involving both literature and advertising at a variety of levels, I can say with some confidence that the majority of students have a much higher competency for recognizing and even interpreting advertising than they do for literature. So high, in fact, that they hardly need to be taught much about either the style or intention of advertising. I'd argue that students understand not only that advertising is trying to influence them but how it works. Kids these days, as the saying goes, know but act as they if they don't, which I think is one of Zizek's definitions of ideology. In any case, I think the goal of education is to give access to materials and kinds of thinking that are hard to figure out on your own. Advertising is easy. I'd rather the students had to finish some memorable lines of Emily D.

bonnie said...

There's no way most children this age would know many of these taglines unless someone taught them in a class. Part one mentions Jingles, so I assume the teacher played the jingle, and the students had to recognize them.

I'm not judging whether or not this should be taught in a classroom, but rather, the premise that good taglines stick. The example doesn't hold water.


Beecham said...

(Would have been nice if the worksheet included a possessive apostrophe.)

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