Archive for March 2008

Pure Genius

March 25, 2008

While driving to the gym a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I passed a nondescript, white billboard with black lettering that read, “I’m SO over you Sarah Marshall.” We both looked at each other and said, “Do you think that is real?”

A couple of days later we saw another billboard that said, “You DO look fat in those jeans Sarah Marshall,” and we noticed a web address in the corner of the billboard www.ihatesarahmarshall.com. At this point we knew it had to be some sort of advertising campaign and decided to Google it when we got home… but we forgot.

So, the following week we saw another couple of billboards , “You SUCK Sarah Marshall” and “Mom ALWAYS hated you Sarah Marshall.” Seeing these ads reminded us to do a little research, so we looked up the web address from the billboards and came across this blog – which is another form of advertising for the upcoming movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

The blog is written from the perspective of Peter Bretter who happens to be one of the stars of the upcoming movie. He comes across as a somewhat bitter and dejected man who is struggling to get over his ex (the premise of the movie), and it is rather “real” in appearance… just another ingenious little “hook” to get the readers to buy-in to the movie and associate with the character.

As I did more research I came across a Flickr group managed by “Peter Bretter” as well as his YouTube channel and a news story about the advertisements in North Texas. There is also TONS of discussion across the web about the billboards and the upcoming movie. Way to build interest, you sneaky advertising execs!

I think this has got to be one of the absolute coolest and best ad campaigns I have ever seen (I know some of you might not like the “meanness” of the campaign, but I am talking about the concept). The billboards grab your attention and make you curious, the blog builds your curiosity and your sympathy for the author, and then you find out that it is all about a movie. It has just been this week that I have begun to see the movie advertised in the traditional way… on television, and apparently the movie is set to open on April 18th. INGENIOUS!

I am betting the movie does quite well at the box office because the advertisers have certainly marketed to their intended audience… as well as interesting people who may not have been intrigued by just a movie trailer.

I also think the ad campaign can be a HUGE teaching tool in the classroom when information literacy is discussed… although the blog and billboards look “real,” they are really just advertising gimmicks. With the popularity of Youtube, social networks, online news magazines, etc. our students are certainly going to need to be able to differentiate between what is “real,” what is propaganda, and what is advertising. They need to be able to research and validate “authentic” sources and, with this ad campaign, it is clear that the lines between “real” and fictitious may continue to blur.

So, have any of you seen the ads? What do you think?

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Interesting Reading and Other Stuff to Make You Think

March 9, 2008

I have come across some pretty interesting and thought-provoking articles and such this week, and I thought I would share the knowledge. So, here goes…

The first item worth sharing is an interesting blog post by Clay Burrell entitled “What is Schooliness?” It is pretty lengthy but well worth the read. It will definitely get you questioning why you do what you do as an educator.

Next, I would like to share some articles I came across in the news this week.  The New York Times published an article on March 7th entitled “At Charter School, Higher Teacher Pay.”  Basically a charter school in New York is planning on paying its teachers $125,000 a year plus bonuses to see if higher pay equals better teaching. Interesting concept… hopefully the idea will catch on!

The second article I feel is worth sharing comes from  The Washington Post and is entitled “When Mom and Dad Asks to be a Facebook Friend.”  The article speaks with various youngsters about whether it is “okay” for parents to be active on Facebook. Maybe I am just getting old, but I think it is pretty cool of parents to take an interest in their kids’ on-line lives.

And finally, some new videos (or new to me) from Common Craft.  Not sure what Twitter is? Watch Twitter in Plain English.  Want to become a little more environmentally friendly? Watch New Light Bulbs in Plain English.

Hope you had a good weekend and learned some interesting stuff too!

A Little Bit of Inspiration

March 2, 2008

This is the time in the school year when teachers and students are tired. We have the ELA TAKS test this week. It seems like months since we had a holiday. The students always seem to under-perform this six weeks, and everyone is counting down until Spring Break.

So, in the midst of the low morale that always seems to circulate this time of the school year, I was glad to come across “Letter to a Young Teacher” over at Practical Theory.

I especially liked the following thoughts from the blog post:

“You learn that it’s just not about you. And it’s just not about the kids either. It’s about the space between where the meaning happens.”

“You learn that you can’t reach every kid. And you never really learn to be o.k. with that.”

“You learn that not every kid is going to major in your subject and you accept that that’s o.k.”

“You learn that you aren’t perfect… and neither are the kids, and sometimes the best thing you can do is forgive… yourself and the kids.”

“You learn that life is hard… that the teaching life is hard… that the movies rarely get it right… and that being a young teacher means being the adult in the room, and that’s o.k.”

“You learn how much you have to keep learning.”

Lehmann’s blog post reminded me of a post I wrote awhile back.  And I was glad to be reminded because I think it is good for us to take a moment every now and then  to relax,  reflect, put our jobs in perspective and BREATHE.

I hope I have shared a little inspiration with you this lovely (although somewhat cloudy) Sunday afternoon as you gear up for the week ahead.  🙂