This may be the first reading campaign that has expressed the urgency of reading, while simultaneously berating its audience. And that’s not all. The spot also demands, “Your body needs water. So drink that shit,” among other angry catechisms evocative of better living.
I’d like to see more people reading and if this gets at least one kid to read a book, then it can’t be bad. It also takes a truly deranged mind to put BO on one buttock and OK on the other, suggesting in a rather hysterical sense that reading is sexy or as empowering as a booty call. I hope that the crazy motherfucker who came up with that idea is hired for something else.
But there’s an anachronistic groupthink approach to this ad — a sense of severely underestimating the audience’s intelligence — that greatly troubles me. I simply do not believe that people are this dumb or that they will be coaxed into reading because an animated guy named D-Mike says so. (And what’s wrong with the sports page anyway?)
I don’t think Tony Soprano has whacked the novel or that books are going away anytime soon. But surely there’s a better way to promote literacy than this unintentionally hilarious video.
© 2007, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.