YPulse: Condescension Does Not a Responsible Marketer Make

multi tasking girl.jpg

Renee Hobbs freaks us the fuck out.

Who is Renee Hobbs?

The director of My Pop Studio. And she's currently expounding on media education for girls at the YPulse conference.

My Pop Studio is a pretty interesting site. Founded on the notion that society promotes developing self through sales, it "pushes back" by imbuing girls with critical thinking skills for battling media messages.

A series of free online games teaches kids about how media works by letting them manufacture culture: you can observe how your feelings about a product (like lip gloss) change depending on the backgroud music, create a pop star, and practice multi-tasking.

This could be a great resource for kids. In fact, it probably already is - the site boasts partners like Alloy, and Hobbs champions her team as masters of viral and WOM marketing.

In the meantime, our experience of the product is colored entirely by Hobbs' own personality, who's an overwhelming real-life version of Nurse Ratchett.

Listening to her is like being at church (with the preachy hellfire-at-your-door tonality) and gym class (with all the "puberty"-speak). She bestows upon us the knowledge of "What really matters in contemporary society," discusses stereotypes, and bemoans the "buying as being" mentality - all of which seem to be more of an issue for her than for anybody else.

At some point, she actually scolded us about how we "obviously" don't aggressively promote the importance of science and engineering.

We get the importance of her message but her implication - that all marketers do is manipulate kids to the detriment of their souls - is tiresome. We're not here to feel guilty about hocking cyber paper dolls and bubbly MySpace layouts; plus, those of us who have a kid in our lives know they can be pretty savvy.

When we visit My Pop Studio's Pop Star section, we can hear Hobbs shoving "value messages" down our throats. When we edit images on Photo Fakery, we see Hobbs sneering about the superficiality and unrealistic demands of the fashion world.

Because of Hobbs, the website condescends to both the media and kids. It truly walks a beautiful line.

Contemplating the success of My Pop Studio thus far, Hobbs makes an unsettling laugh sound and says, "We're academics! We make EDUCATIONAL MEDIA. For us this is a SLAM DUNK."

...Shudder.

by Angela Natividad    Sep-28-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Cause, Industry Events, Online   

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Comments



Comments

No, you did not just get her point. I was there during her talk (which unfortunately was marred with bad sound). It's a great project.

Posted by: A. Lombard on September 28, 2007 4:13 PM

Her message is tiresome? You've got to be kidding me. Coming from advertising professionals, that's pretty funny.

Posted by: Two Knives on September 28, 2007 5:58 PM

Are you kidding? Hobbs rocks. Get with it. You should watch the commercials and shows aimed at pre teen girls. They SUCK! Hobbs is doing something positive.

Posted by: Frank on September 30, 2007 12:17 PM

I was hoping for a thoughtful counterpoint to Hobbs' presentation, but what I found here was ad hominem histrionics and defensiveness.

If you take issue with Hobbs' favored values, then provide an argument. I thought she clearly identified problematic aspects of youth marketing.

Fact is, youth marketers are in the business of selling values to children. Hobbs work provides a useful counterpoint to the fetishization of the material.

Posted by: Jason on October 1, 2007 2:09 PM

I was hoping for a thoughtful counterpoint to Hobbs' presentation, but what I found here was ad hominem histrionics and defensiveness.

If you take issue with Hobbs' favored values, then provide an argument. I thought she clearly identified problematic aspects of youth marketing.

Fact is, youth marketers are in the business of selling values to children. Hobbs work provides a useful counterpoint to the fetishization of the material.

Posted by: Jason on October 1, 2007 2:16 PM

Sadly, I was unable to attend the tween mashup, because I think there IS a place for media and marketing to coexist with responsible, accountability in terms of the trickle down impact. Renee Hobbs exemplifies this, and you just didn't 'get it'---Unfortunately, this is why I choose not to engage with my colleagues too often anymore, for AdRants gets so wrapped up in its fifedom of pithy prose and snarky commentary that it quite often misses the point (and the premise) behind what people are really trying to achieve.

There's no question I have a strong editorial viewpoint in terms of the way our industry exploits kids, and I've gone to the mat a few times over the sexploitation and idiocy of Steve Hall's salivating sophomoric POV as well...

Alas, as you would say, AdRants gets "tiresome" so I've selected to 'disengage' based on sheer 'cost benefit analysis' in terms of time spent vs. information gleaned...Guess, I'd expect more from your usual commentary, Angela...I saw a much more insightful/introspective persona in your analysis prior...and held out hope that you'd be the common sense voice for an industry run amok...Maybe I was mistaken?

Please, please, prove me wrong.

Meanwhile, if I were you, I'd take a second peek at MyPopStudio, diffuse the 'personal slams' out of the superficial assessment of Renee's speaking prowess, and do your job by reporting based on reason over hunch, editorial significance over popularity poll. You've got the power of the media at your fingertips...use it for positive means.

Do us proud.

Posted by: Shaping Youth on October 2, 2007 9:27 PM





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