POST#5: Somewhat more serious and educational

"We create chemistry that makes "wow" love "why""

“We create chemistry that makes “wow” love “why””

The print ad I selected for analysis is for BASF Kids’ Lab, found in the November 2013 edition of The Atlantic (*previously The Atlantic Monthly – but since it is only published 10 times a year, and there’s 12 months in a… I think you know where this is going).

For those unfamiliar with The Atlantic, it’s a periodical that was founded in 1857 by several literary greats (among them: Stowe, Emerson, Longfellow, et. al. – I assume that you might be able to guess their first names;/). Long known as a literary and cultural magazine, The Atlantic has expanded over the last 150 years to include politics, economics, tech, life, and educational focuses. Its readers are individuals who are identified as ‘thought leaders’ – similar to the magazine’s creators.

As mentioned in the sub headline/signature, BASF is a chemical company; while according to their website they are “the world´s leading chemical company”. I’ve never really known much about them beyond they help make the products we might purchase better. They have several business segments including: chemicals, plastics, performance products, functional materials and solutions, agricultural, oil and gas. So, from my perspective things we likely need, but that I have never been exceptionally interested in – which is probably my loss.

As a female, I was never über intrigued by many of the sciences (or math) while growing up. In school, the most exciting part of science for me was lab. Labs allowed me to actively take part. The best part about chemistry was when I could take notes and draw with brightly colored pencils what I saw through a microscope. I think this is where BASF is on to something here; their use of limited but intense colors draws you in to their ad. Now, it’s probably not kids who are noticing the ad, so much as their parents or educators; but it still works.

It was refreshing to see BASF chose a girl to represent their program for Kids’ Lab; as it relates directly to my current group project for class focused on STEM curriculum for elementary school girls.

BASF Kids’ Labs are described on their website:

  • “We aim to foster science literacy by encouraging children aged 2-12 years old to discover the dynamic world of science and its wonders.”
  • “[Children] explore chemistry through engaging experiments, coupled with interactive Q&A sessions and practical demonstrations.”
  • “[We] harness the wonders of chemistry to captivate the inquisitive minds of younger generations, making them say things like, “wow!” and “awesome!” Science fuels their determination to discover…”

In this century we have moved into a time where so much of everything we do and use is inevitably related to some sort of science or technology. Therefore, it is critical that we generate more excitement about these fields in our children. Likely any fields they choose to go into whether business related or not it will require knowledge in these areas. To learn more about STEM, check out the online version of “A New National Education Imperative” published by The Atlantic on Oct. 9, 2013.


7 thoughts on “POST#5: Somewhat more serious and educational

  1. The advertisement itself it a bit confusing with the sub-headline “…makes “wow” love “why”. After reading the article, now I understand what stands behind the business but not so much clarity on what the advertisement is trying send as a message.

    • Good call, Kaolee! I always find BASF ads a bit confusing with what their underlying message or purpose is. I feel this particular ad is to promote their side project of enabling chemistry education to be fun versus what could be considered plain ole boring science. Their point is that by enabling an interest in science with children aged 6-12 they can make something boring into awesome.

  2. Amy, your blogs are always a joy to read. You really add character to your writing. Your analysis is right on. We as young girls were more interested in other things and not in the field of sciences. Everything we encounter is a result of some sort of science or technology. Having a young girl and adding the colors and the heart to this print ad is sending a message to young girls and their parents that science is a “wow” and girls are part of this. This is interesting as our group project can relate to this print ad also.

  3. While late reading this informative and encouraging piece, I feel as though I’ve couldn’t have read it at a better time. Your piece allows levels of thinking in me that prompt science education for my own children. It keeps vitality vital in my mind. Your piece opens various avenues of scientific and “girl power” exposure that indeed leaves an optimistic view for our youth in science. I must also mention the fantastic and quite clever “seg.” you gave the project. Great form of intro online presence.

  4. This is wonderful: ” The best part about chemistry was when I could take notes and draw with brightly colored pencils what I saw through a microscope. I think this is where BASF is on to something here; their use of limited but intense colors draws you in to their ad.”

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