--> The other day, I was assigned a reading in my Theories of Communication class, “Higher Education, Inc.: Training Students to Be Consumers.” (Giroux,H. (2003). The Abandoned Generation: Democracy Beyond the Culture of Fear. ) The article was a critique on the increased commercialization that is occurring in society. The majority of the article discussed what the author sees as a growing concern, the commercialization of higher education. In creating evidence for his concern, he provided readers with a story that occurred in 2001, involving two college students, Luke and Chris. Some of you may already be familiar with this story. But in 2001, Chris Barrett and Luke McCabe created a website,http://chrisandluke.com/, offering themselves to companies as “billboards”, hoping that a company would sponsor them and in turn pay their way through college. First USA took them up on their offer, and the students lived and breathed everything First USA. Naturally, this being the first attempt of this sort, First USA and the boys gained massive exposure, and were featured in several magazines. While the author of this article saw this as the epitome of what is wrong with the market culture in the United States, I think it stands as evidence for everything this class preaches. The most basic connection can be made in the success of creating a link between a business and real faces. While Womma is based more on creating success through word of mouth, and thus bases its success on people trusting a person they know over that of a corporate voice, at least in a local sense, these boys acted as a form of word of mouth within the people they interacted with. This also reiterates what Dr.Carl has discussed from day one, that one of the reasons Word-of-mouth is necessary and successful is because of the ever pervasive presence of advertising. Companies are doing anything and everything they can to stand out among all the clutter that advertising has created. Just like Word-of-Mouth, First USA was looking for a novel approach for getting their name out. The author was disturbed by what he deemed a bleak future for higher education, and raised many valid points that displayed that many colleges are taking some presumptuous steps to mold the college experience into one that is based on the corporate world, and leaving little for those with opposing interests. The article is worth looking at, it is definitely written by a man with a strong opinion, and don’t get me wrong in thinking that I agree with everything he had to say, he tends to get carried away at times in painting a depressing future for us. However it was interesting, and served as a great display of the growing pervasiveness of advertising, and the need for a novel approach in order for a company to even crack through the clutter.
Tags: WOM word of mouth Word-of-Mouth Marketing buzz marketing viral marketing marketing communication Northeastern University