I must say I was taken aback to read in Stuart Elliott's 'Media Decoder' column that a Brooklyn high school has changed its curriculum to teach students about advertising and media.
I'm the first to admit I'm neither a futurist nor an education expert, but I do know a tad about marketing and advertising is NOT a smart career choice. In fact, thanks to the simultaneous advent of the blogosphere and the rise of consumerism, advertising is in free fall.
Just before Facebook's ill-fated IPO, General Motors yanked $10 million in FB advertising. Why? It wasn't working. Weeks later, the comeback carmaker of the year cancelled its Super Bowl TV spots because a spokesperson said there were better, more cost effective ways to reach the driving public. Right on!
Then, The Dish announced the launch of The Hopper. A true godsend to TV viewers everywhere, The Hopper not only records programs, it ERASES each and every commercial. Bravo, Hopper! Hop on!
Then, to add insult to injury, the AMC Network aired the very first advertising reality show, called 'The Pitch.' It was not only laughably contrived but, much to the dismay of advertising pundits everywhere, depicted ad agency types as tactical, back-stabbing, inside out, top down thinkers. As I said in a recent blog, 'The Pitch' is the best advertising for PR I've ever seen.
So, why, oh why, would a Brooklyn high school overhaul its curriculum to teach students about an increasingly irrelevant occupation? Why not opt for word-of-mouth, PR or interactive instead? Each could also lend itself to some neat school nicknames (I'd christen the Word of Mouth HS squad 'The Talkers'; and one would have to call PRHS 'The Flacks'; and, how about the eJocks of Interactive High? eJocks sounds oh-so-intimidating!).
If Brooklyn's school administrators think advertising has a bright future, they may want to retrofit other borough school curricula. How about:
– The High School of Toll Booth Operators (graduates would sport gas masks instead of the standard cap and gowns. School nickname: the Black Lungs).
– The High School of Travel Agents (their capstone project would challenge the kids to find the cheapest rate for a hypothetical trip using Travelocity. School nickname: The Indefinite Delays).
– The High School of Ethical Politicians (Teachers would be armed with Tasers and empowered to zap students each and every time they father children out of wedlock, talk of invading foreign countries based on false information or text nude photos of themselves to grammar school kids. School nickname: The Rogues).
Advertising is dying. Long live PR!