An ad campaign from British Columbia backfires.

"Hipster is not a real job" — That's one of the key messages of a new ad campaign launched by the Canadian province of British Columbia. Have a look at the ads below, which appear on campuses and in transit lines in the province.

All images courtesy of B.C.'s Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Communications Office

The six-week ad campaign (started in August) is part of the province's broader plan to create new jobs, upgrade skills, and better-match workers to employment opportunities. The ads point to the "Career Trek" website, which includes a video series aimed at interesting young people in a range of careers. The videos consist of interviews with professionals in various fields — a lawyer, human resources specialist, mine manager, midwife, pharmacist, and so on. Each video is matched with data on average salaries, unemployment levels, and education and skill requirements in those careers. Each short concludes with the tag-line "this career could be yours."

The ads, obviously designed to grab the attention of young people in an area with no shortage of hipsters, have set the media and Twitterverse abuzz. The problem is much of that buzz has been decidedly negative.

As Emily Rogers, chair of the University of Victoria Students' Society, told the Toronto Star: "There’s no bachelor of hipsterdom offered and people understand hipster is a style of dress so it just doesn’t make sense to associate being a hipster with real jobs. They’ve really lost the message."

And that's the problem with tag-lines and campaigns like this. They tread a fine line and can easily backfire. Hit the mark and they can stimulate interest and buzz. Over-shoot it, and the message can be missed entirely.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Office workers using computers
    Equity

    America’s Digitalization Divide

    A new study maps digital-skilled jobs across industries, metro areas, and demographic groups, revealing deep divides.

  2. Equity

    The Story Behind the Housing Meme That Swept the Internet

    How a popular meme about neoliberal capitalism and fast-casual architecture owned itself.

  3. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  4. Navigator

    The Gentrification of City-Based Sitcoms

    How the future ‘Living Single’ reboot can reclaim the urban narrative ‘Friends’ ran off with.

  5. A collage of postcards and palms trees of the Florida shore
    Environment

    The Archaeologists Saving Miami's History From the Sea

    As the water level rises, more than 16,000 historic sites across Florida are at risk of being drowned by waves. In Miami-Dade County, researchers are working to keep history on solid ground.