Weekly news: Campaign backfire may have been intentional

NOW, call me cynical if you like, but I can’t help wondering if the unmitigated disaster that was this week’s launch of a campaign to motivate young women into science might have been what was actually wanted?

You’ve doubtless heard about the pan-European campaign by the EU, aimed at teenage girls, called Science: It’s a Girl Thing. Launched with great fanfare and a slick video showing a rugged male scientist looking up from his microscope to watch three skimpily dressed women dancing around in high heels and pouting suggestively, the campaign instantly attracted ridicule.

As, of course, it should. The blogosphere, twittersphere, and any other -sphere you can think of lit up with outraged comment, video responses, and general condemnation of an advertising campaign that was so completely inappropriate that it was, to my mind, funny rather than offensive. I think it falls into the ‘so bad it’s good’ category.

And that’s where my inner cynic starts asking questions. Had the EU come up with a standard campaign with the honourable intention of making the world of the laboratory and science in general more appealing to youngsters of whatever gender, we would all have shrugged our shoulders and issued a platitude about it being a worthy cause that we support. And we would then have forgotten all about it.

As it is, however, the interest in the campaign is exceptionally high. Yes, that interest is critical – but it means that the issues the campaign hoped to raise are actually being discussed very widely on message boards, Facebook, Youtube, and practically any where people gather.

It’s a better result than the EU could ever have hoped for. Yes, they look like idiots – but what’s new there? In a perverse way, the objectives of the campaign have been achieved, and at quite low cost considering that everybody who has kept the story alive (myself included) has done so for free. Nice one.

 I hope you find the LabHomepage website, and this weekly newsletter, useful. Comments and feedback are always welcome: thesecretlabproject@gmail.com. Please help us build our circulation base by forwarding this to any friends that might like it, and suggest they subscribe at http://eepurl.com/itOV2


best wishes

Russ Swan

editor, LabHomepage.com


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