Saturday, July 23, 2005

HP's Advertising department sends Customer Relations to cover their butts

Dear Ms ---:

Thanks for your prompt and detailed response to my recent complaint. Let me begin by assuring you I realize that your department probably has little or no input on advertising-campaign decisions.

I feel strongly, however, that your HP colleagues in the marketing department have provided you with inadequate arguments to counter my critique (and I feel sure that mine was not an isolated complaint--I would imagine you have heard from a number of academics). Regardless of whether your target audience recognized that the spot "was intentionally exaggerated and unrealistic"--and I've known thousands of undergraduates, and in most cases what they say they understand and what they actually comprehend are two very different things--it was a cheap shot at educators. Your ad cynically targetted professors and the classroom as exemplary bores, and suggested that those students who were "cool" enough to buy HP could avoid this boredom in class by surfing the web, playing video-games, text-messaging, and so forth.

Your advertising people know well that students do suffer from a short attention span. The spot's implicit argument, that HP technology could be used to indulge the short attention span and help students ignore classroom activities, is a massive disservice to the students receiving the education, to the families paying for that education, and to the faculty providing it.

I cannot withdraw from my earlier position, to wit: the agency who designed the campaign should be terminated and the HP marketing people who approved it should be spanked. Or down-sized.

I've placed my previous communication and my text from this one on my blog--might as well bring the argument directly to the cyber-space the students occupy. And I'm sharing my opinons with colleagues across the country. It will be interesting to see just how many academics respond as I have

Thanks again to you personally for your attention in what I'm sure must frequently be a stressful job.


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