What’s On Your Mind?

Posted on January 17, 2008

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Here’s what’s on my mind this week (you know, along with all my client work, New Year’s Resolutions and recovering from the Consumer Electronics Show…)…

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1) Equinox Ads – AdAge profiles the new Equinox ad campaign here.  Basically, they call it "soft porn posing as self-actualization."  This campaign is everywhere.  It’s in front of the train station, it even arrived in my mail box.  The AdAge story has this to say: "Sorry, but bending a contortionist over backward and using his belly asa lobster plate is not erotic, no matter how many ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ extras you surround him with. It’s just silly. And maybe a little bitcreepy"…

I sort of agree with the "creepy" part, but I really don’t think this ad campaign is offensive.  It seems to be targeted toward women like me and I will admit that it grabs your attention.  What’s really offensive is the 100s of gym membership pitches that have the exact same women-in-spandex photos on them ("Hello Gym X, I don’t look like that and I realize that I never will.  Do you think I don’t know that?").  At least this one breaks the mold for gyms, even if it isn’t all that creative in the grand scheme of things.

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2) The University Of Google Needs Better TAs – This techdirt story has sparked a lively debate that I think is particularly interesting to GenXYZ.  The gist is this: a teacher recently banned the use of Google in homework assignments.  Now, Wikipedia was one thing… but GOOGLE??  Apparently, lots of people are upset about this for different reasons.  I won’t address every one here, but I will state the case for my generation.  Google is a very helpful tool, (much like a calculator) but it shouldn’t replace independent thoughts or opinions (just like a calculator shouldn’t replace the ability to do basic math or count change).  I’m extremely tired of hiring people at our agency that have no clue how to effectively use Google for research — on that front, I’m all for allowing its use in college. 

On the other hand, I can feel the professor’s frustration as his argument is that students aren’t adding any context to what they find.  I see the same thing post-school with recent college grads in newly minted careers.  Used properly, Google should lead you through a number of different sources and perspectives on a topic, allowing you/students grasp the full picture and ultimately form your own, educated opinion/stance.   I could go on and on…. but I do think it’s worth adding "Online Research 101" to college curriculum.

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