Read this for help with your reading

Has anyone seen the recent (in the last few months) literacy campaign going on in DC by Read Out Loud? They have local TV spots in which someone on the Metro reads an ad out loud. The ad even says “read this ad out loud because someone around you might not be able to read it” (paraphrasing). These ads are also on the Metro, and the text then says where to find assistance, etc.

I love literacy campaigns and services – literacy truly is one of the main aspects holding back challenged and at-risk kids. I used to work with a mentoring program through my church in a super-depressed neighborhood in DC and the level at which (if at all) some of our kids read was truly flat out sad.

Anyway, while I think the idea of this ad campaign is creative, my question is why in the WORLD is the contact number 1-866-READ-OUT on the ad? I’m seriously not being flip about it at all – but if you’re trying to reach people that aren’t able to read, having words in the contact information isn’t all that smart.

On a separate note, I wonder if people really do read these ads on the Metro out loud. My guess is not, but I wonder…

3 Comments so far

  1. Ben Stanfield (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

    I pointed this same thing out two years ago when my blog was almost brand new:

    Apparently they still haven’t gotten the picture. Or perhaps it was an ad agency’s pitch, and no one who approved the campaign was able to read it.

  2. Don (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

    I hadn’t given the matter much thought before, but what percentage of the illiterate competently read numbers but not letters? For that matter, what percentage read letters but not words? The point being, if that was all numbers and not letters would the average illiterate person be able to read and use the number okay?

    I imagine the reason for using letters in the number and not all numbers is that the target audience isn’t the illiterate but people who know the illiterate. So making the contact information easier for them to remember is more important than making it legible for people who can’t read the rest of the message in order to know it’s a number they should call anyway…

  3. tj (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

    i think the next time i see one of those, i’ll get somebody’s attention and read the ad to them … even if they can read. hehe.

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