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Conformity ≠ Uniqueness

Written by Zoe Weil | Published on December 13, 2012 | Filed under Humane Connection
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2012/12/13/conformity-%e2%89%a0-uniqueness/
Image courtesy Asha ten Broeke via
Creative Commons.

I’m a big fan of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which I watch online because I don’t have a TV. One of the benefits of watching TV shows online is few commercials, but there are some. Recently, I’ve seen a series of ads for Dr. Pepper. The ads feature crowds of (mostly young) people wearing identical red shirts, most of which say “I’m one of a kind.”

As I’ve watched these commercials I’ve found myself wondering whether the irony is intended, cynical, or comic. Did the ad company that created the commercials realize the doublespeak they were producing, a creepy sort of mind control they seem to portray? Or did they actually believe that because Dr. Pepper is a different flavor of soda than most (“one of a kind” as their current slogan goes), that conformity in pursuit of uniqueness makes sense and would make sense to viewers?

Do viewers catch the irony? I sure hope so.

If not, there’s always humane education and its media literacy activities to the rescue. Let’s make sure that our kids know how to parse an ad, recognize doublespeak, and break free from others’ efforts to manipulate them.

~ Zoe

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: “Solutionaries”
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach
My TEDxYouth@BFS “Educating for Freedom”

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