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Monday, February 4, 2013

Can we take a joke? Hushing the oreo

I realize I am playing into marketing by even talking about this COMMERCIAL (embedded below). However, this particular commercial, featuring a "whispered" fight over oreos which ends in destruction of a library and the fire department arriving, seems to have hit a nerve with various communities. I'm seeing starting to see some conversations about this commercial as well as quite a bit of "can't we take a joke" posts.  

I am also seeing some "that is exactly my library - minus the shushing" comments, too (then, obviously, it is NOT like your library at all in terms of a community space).

Can I take a joke? Sure? Can I be the joke? MAYBE. I work really hard and give much of my time - my work certainly is not 9-5, nor is it all tied to financial compensation. Many of my colleagues are the same  - we work for so little pay and give so much, not only to our individual libraries, communities, but to the profession as a whole. Why would we want to be represented by a situation that belittles our profession and the place that we work in (if we actually work in a brick-and-mortar library vs. virtual space)?

As I've said elsewhere, if we had more authentic popular representations of librarianship in the media, then perhaps, one commercial would just be a tiny blip in the librarian PR radar.  After all, Buffy may be very popular among certain audiences, but  its reach as PR for librarians is somewhat limited.  

Did I chuckle a little at the ad? Sure, but I also cringed a little, too. What bothered me about the ad is how traditional the library is. Books! Books everywhere! A harried mousey middle aged woman as librarian (sure, librarianship is traditionally a bit of that, but does advertising have to continue to perpetuate that??)  Why is everyone talking in hushed tones? Just about every library I have visited in the past 10 years has a least SOME group/community/discussion space - especially public libraries. Many libraries these days are dynamic and engaging spaces. Libraries can be really loud!

I see what appears to be a microfilm (?) reader in the ad but no computers. Where are the computers? The patrons with laptops and mobile devices? Where is the diversity of patrons? (Did I miss all of that?) Is this supposed to be 1979?

...and then there is the destruction of the library. Maybe I just don't understand how intentional damage to a library is supposed to be funny in this context (although in Ghostbusters it was)...

The more I think about it: I don't find it funny at all...
...but kudos to nabisco/oreo for getting us all talking about it. I hope libraries and librarians use this commercial as a talking point about how we are portrayed in the media, our roles in the community, food in the library -- whatever topic seems relevant...

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