"Mom, Did You Lowball the Ice Cream Again?"

By Bellah, Kimberly | The Agricultural Education Magazine, September/October 2009 | Go to article overview

"Mom, Did You Lowball the Ice Cream Again?"


Bellah, Kimberly, The Agricultural Education Magazine


Funny what marketers and writers are doing these days for commercial advertising. What once was a competition between brand names has now become a reflection of tighter economic times. All of the morning news shows and years of blind tests have finally convinced consumers that the major manufacturers of all the popular products also produce the exact same product under generic labels, but at a much lower price.

This realization hit home recently as I listened to a radio spot for a particular brand of ice cream. This brand wasn't selling itself as better than its competing brands; this brand was using the advertising tactic that the children would be able to tell the difference between generic ice cream and the brand name. Since mothers are still the primary target authence for grocery shopping, the writers of the spot used a mother's guilt about "going generic" with ice cream to sell the brand.

Hence, "Mom, did you lowball the ice cream again?"

Evil - or genius; I'm not sure which, but it sure caught my attention.

In my house, we always shop generic, but we do have a saying: "There are some things where you just don't go cheap."

Items like toothpaste, toilet paper, soda pop and mayonnaise, for us are items that you don't want to even take a risk that they may be substandard. It may seem random, but it's true. There are some things where the brand really does make a difference.

So, how does that translate to agricultural education? After all, we're the only game in town, right? There isn't a substandard agricultural education program being offered in schools to compete with us - or is there?

True, agricultural education in secondary and post secondary schools across the country is "sold" under the same brand, but that doesn't mean that they are all the same. There are programs out there growing out of their facilities and current staffing because they are so well known for serving students, teaching students, providing leadership to students and developing productive citizens out of students.

On the other hand, there are classes being offered that wear the "storefront" of agricultural education and FFA, but the quality inside resembles little of what is held up as the premier program of all Career and Technical Education areas. In fact, those programs do ittle to teach all students and even less to expose them to all aspects of the total program. They may be running up and down the road to a variety of events, but how many unique students are in the vehicle. …

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