Rate the Ad: Marie Curie Actions: Chemical Party

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Last week, Rate the Ad brought discussion to the ever-present line between art and copy with a print ad for Habitat for Humanity Australia. The ad uses an abundance of text to create a hidden illustration of a person holding his face. We wanted to know, in an image-saturated media world, is so much copy scary? Did the tactic work or does all that text get in the way?

Commenter "jmklug" says: "Love the concept, but I think it only works if the headline is provoking enough to warrant a deeper read (which I believe this one does). Otherwise it just comes off as a gimmick and doesn't reinforce the message or brand at all. As a notorious copy-skimmer, I can tell you that even as I'm writing this I haven't read more than the first few lines of the body and the emphasized words, but I still got the overall message."

Proving that images are indeed stronger than words, "rdjwilliams" says, "I saw the face immediately (and I've never been able to see one of those 'Magic Eye' images). I only took the time to read the headline and subhead (as I think many might). As I'm familiar with Habitat for Humanity, I didn't feel compelled to read all the copy. But I don't need to - I get the message in just a couple of seconds."

This week, we turn to a battle that has been fought in high schools the world over: Cool versus Science. Hungry Man and director Roderick Fenske are trying to mix these stereotypical opposites in a spot intended to encourage students to study science. The European Union set up the Marie Curie Action to provide services and aid to science students—except kids weren't signing up for that either. The EU ultimately turned to the wiles of the media industry to promote the Curie program and, voila, out came a snappy :90 spot about a chemical attractions party metaphor. Forget covalent bonds and electron orbits: Kids, don't you know chemistry is really about tasers and German dance music?

What do you think? Does it work? Can you see the science for the cool? Are you inspired to head back to the lab? I mean, if that art director thing doesn't pan out.
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