July 9th, 2012
In Ads, the Workers Rise Up ... and Go to Lunch
By Tanzina Vega
New York Times
The woman had had enough. Amid ringing phones and clicking keyboards she climbs up on her desk and shouts through her speakerphone: “I have 47 vacation days. That’s insane.”
“Let’s take back our summer!” she yells as she raises a sign over her head with the phrase “Vacation Now” on it. “Who’s with me?” A handful of employees applaud. The rest look away.
The scene, echoing a pivotal sequence in the 1979 film “Norma Rae,” is not a union recruiting pitch but instead is part of a television ad for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, from a campaign called “Take Back Your Summer.” Other big advertisers like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are also tapping into a sense of frustration among workers to sell products portrayed as minor luxuries.
The jobs report released Friday — showing only 80,000 jobs created in June — reinforced a bleak outlook for the nation’s unemployed. For those lucky enough to have work, the conventional wisdom has been “Keep your head down; don’t make waves.”