(or Is it just me?)
A couple of days ago, I received an email from an advertising student with the subject line “Free Pizza”. She wanted to conduct an advertising research focus group and was offering pizzas as a way to thank participants for their time.
I don’t know if you feel the same way about this, but I felt aghast at the way research had been reduced to a bit-part role at a pizza party. While the intention, I understand, was the reverse, the way it was communicated made it easy for me to decide not to attend.
I felt the subject line to be patronizing, even demeaning of the time and the intentions of fellow graduate students. I am not saying that we are saints (yup, we hanker for free food), but to hawk free food this way reeked of condescension, even if inadvertent.
It is probable that she, being an advertising student, knew what she was writing and this was a way to get people to read the actual email. But is it not an irony that advertising majors cannot come up with a better way, than to just say that this is what I felt would get the real message across?
This short email is a not just about how most advertising today (with all other fancy terms like “positioning”) is all about profiting by making you feel bad, small or cheap. It is also the mindset that fans proselytization in third world countries – “I’ll feed you; follow my faith.” And I have serious reservations about it.
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