Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Booking.com and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ad

The folks at booking.com put out this advertisement.



I've never established a Hall of Fame here, but if I did, this letter would go into it:

After watching your ad several times I am moved to do something I've never done before- write a company to complain of the image they are portraying of my profession. As a 15 year veteran teacher, I can assure you that my stress does NOT come from the students in my classroom. My stress comes from endless meetings forcing me to enact tactics that do not help my students learn and achieve; my stress comes from not getting a cost of living raise in 10 years; my stress comes from national figures who know nothing of public education working to destabilize our system in favor of private, religious, and for-profit charter schools that are free to discriminate against differently-abled children with no penalties. 

Isn't there enough teacher bashing without you adding to the myth of the inattentive, non-caring, child-hating teacher? 

If you want to show a teacher needing a vacation, how about showing one burnt out on caring too much? Giving of her own time and money to her kids while an uncaring administration makes ridiculous demands on her? That would be relatable and not turn off the 3.1 million public school teachers in the US. 

Thank you,

That letter is from Alana Milich, God bless her.

Because, yes, it's absolutely hilarious how this teacher is apparently incapable of doing her job is not very interested in trying, because children are awful wild malevolent creatures and teachers would certainly be doing anything else if they possibly could.

"There's nothing more important to me than my vacation"??!! Really? I'm pretty sure that teachers have a long list of things that are far more important to them than their vacation. "Now I can start relaxing before the vacation begins." Sure-- that's what teachers want to do. Anything except our jobs.

Do not tell me that it's "just a joke" and I shouldn't take it so seriously. Passive-aggressive attacks masquerading as humor are never funny. "Hey, honey-- move your fat ass! Oh, don't give me that look-- I'm just kidding." Hi-larious.

I'm not sure what makes this okay. If this were a bored, incompetent, slack-eyed housewife dreaming of getting away from her kids, or a husband dreaming of getting away from the wife he hates, or a doctor standing over an open patient on the table while the doctor absently severs organs and dreams of getting away from stupid sick people or a minister who can't stand his congregation or a national elected politician who can't stand his job and dreams of going golfing every weekend-- well, you get the idea. I know as Americans we get yuks out of people who hate their jobs or their lives or the people around them, but damn-- do we really need one more suggestion that teachers really just suck? And if someone were telling you that's how they see your children, would that be okay with you?

Booking.com sent Milich (and apparently a few other complainants) a tepidly generic response:

Thanks for your feedback.

We’ll be sure to pass it on to those relevant. At Booking.com we value all professions, including teachers, and this ad was only intended as a light-hearted bit of fun. We are passionate about connecting our customers with great stays, empowering them to experience the world in the easiest, most seamless ways possible, which this advert aimed to convey.

Kind regards,


Those relevant what, exactly? "Light-hearted" doesn't really fit, I'm afraid, unless you're the kind of person who considers Ann Coulter books a wacky romp. "We were just teasing" is, unfortunately, a whole long distance away from "We are sorry. We respect teachers and should not have treated them so insultingly."

If you'd like to add to the chorus of unamused audience members, here are some places to try.

Booking.com has a Facebook page. Their twitter handle is @booking.com. You may also be interested to know that they are part of the Priceline group, along with Kayak, Agoda, and Open Table. And while none of the categories is exactly "Complain about our insulting advert," you can find many customer service contact options here-- why not use, well, many?

Join the many folks already complaining. While this is certainly not on the order of, say, threats to gut public education and destroy the teaching profession, these folks deserve to be part of a flap-- maybe even a kerfuffle. It would be nice if advert-makers would think two seconds before they used shots at teachers for cheap punchlines. Do better, booking.com.


4 comments:

  1. That ad is profoundly offensive. It isn't just insulting to teachers. It is insulting to children. Children are not wild animals who, if left to their own devices, would cause pure mayhem and destruction. In fact, children know how to have fun without much guidance and can organize themselves into fun activities more readily than most people realize.

    This ad reflects ignorance, arrogance, disrespect and superficiality. And those are its good qualities.

    I'm glad you mentioned it.

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  2. Teacher here. Your article is spot-on.

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  3. I'll be the dissenting voice here. I get what Booking.com is doing. And I think it's kind of funny. I highly doubt that their intention was to tell the world all teachers are incompetent and only care about their vacations. Or that children are all hideous monsters. I think the point was that we all have stress in our jobs and they are trying to convince us that they can at least take the stress out of getting us away from our jobs.

    The ad's creators are not teachers, so they don't know anything about the actual source of our stress. I can imagine them sitting around a conference table brainstorming ideas about jobs (because that's what people take vacations from) and somebody says, "Teacher!" So they all try to imagine, based on what they know--only having been in a classroom as a student--what shape a teacher's stress would take. And if you start with the supposition that the kids are the reason for stress (which--I'm going to be honest--sometimes is the case, for me) I think they did a pretty good job of painting a picture of a group of kids you'd want to get away from. I'm sure they could have made a whole series of these ads from a dozen different professions and got them all wrong, but still get their message across. I think we should lighten up and recognize this for what it is (and isnt').

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    Replies
    1. I get what you're saying, but I still think the ad shows the underlying problem with the disrespect for teachers' competence that is now rife in our culture. I really can't see them, as Peter says, making this ad using other professions, like doctors, ministers, or politicians.

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