Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Layoff Commercial The UFT Should Run (But So Far Hasn't)

I'm not an ad writer. But every time I see a UFT ad I always think, "Wow, that's the one of the most ineffective ads I've ever seen - even I could write a better ad than that."

The following is my attempt at writing a 30 second spot to oppose Bloomberg's budget that sees thousands of teachers laid off at the same time he spends $550 million on technology upgrades to schools. I believe this ad, flawed as it is, is better than anything I have seen from the UFT so far.

Here it is:

Children in a classroom, seated in desks, engaged with teacher in learning.

VOICEOVER: Mayor Bloomberg plans to lay off thousands of teachers for the the 2011-2012 school year. The mayor says he is forced to do this because of cuts in state and federal school aid. The total amount of money saved through the layoffs will be $377 million dollars.

CUT TO: Images of computers being brought into the classroom and put on every desk.

VOICEOVER: At the same time that the mayor says he needs to save $377 million dollars by laying teachers off, he plans to spend $550 million dollars to upgrade technology in schools. The NY Times has reported that Bloomberg wants to put a computer on every students' desk so that they can take frequent standardized tests to measure their performance.

CUT TO: Image of Willard Lanham, DOE technology consultant arrested for stealing $3.6 million from the DOE, walking out of courthouse.

VOICEOVER: But even as the mayor plans this $550 million in technology spending in schools in 2012, story after story have surfaced of outside consultants who have been stealing millions from the city as they worked on city contracts. In April of 2011, a DOE computer consultant was arrested for stealing millions of dollars from the city and using the money to build a real estate sub-development complete with a street named after his wife.

CUT TO: Image of Lanham's real estate sub-development. Over this image, rolling images of newspaper headlines from Daily News and Times stories about CityTime scandal, NYPD ticket fixing scandal, DOE tech consultant scandals.

VOICEOVER: That arrest seems to be just the tip of the corruption iceberg in the Bloomberg government. Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News has written that -

CUT TO: Daily News Juan Gonzalez column from Friday April 24, 2011.

VOICEOVER: "Another top city computer consultant has been arrested by federal prosecutors on corruption charges. How many more of these cases will it take before someone realizes the Bloomberg administration has unleashed a whole new form of racketeering inside city agencies through its uncontrolled rush to computerize every aspect of government?"

CUT TO: Back to the classroom with the children and the teacher - a computer now sits on every desk. The teacher is walking out of the classroom with a pink slip in her hand.

VOICEOVER: Which brings us back to this Bloomberg budget outrage. How is it a mayor who prides himself on improving schools and public education can lay off thousands of teachers to save hundreds of millions of dollars, then use those hundreds of millions to hand out no-bid contracts to computer consultants who are robbing the city blind?

CUT TO: Children sitting glassy-eyed in front of computers, sans teacher.

VOICEOVER: Is this how we want our children to be educated? Sitting in front of computers, learning from computer programs, without the guidance, knowledge, wisdom and expertise that an experienced teacher provides?

CUT TO: Picture of Bloomberg with Cathie Black and Joel Klein at Black's press conference.

VOICEOVER: Mayor Bloomberg has already made too many mistakes in his education policies.

CUT TO: Tight shot on Bloomberg, smirk on face.

VOICEOVER: Don't let him make this one by laying off thousands of teachers, replacing them with computers and enriching the outside tech consultants in the bargain.


  1. Great commercial. I don't know if I would mention Langham's wife. Just his corruption alone would wake up Gotham City. You should propose this to the UFT media/PR department as long as it is 30 seconds or less.

  2. you're a mad man! nice ad!

  3. Ha! Love it! Perhaps the word "bargain" at the end of the ad would be a mistake though, because some viewers have a propensity to only retain/hear the last word/words in a given sequence.

  4. I take a different tack. since we will be seeing the sob stories in the NY Post and WSJ and Fox and probably the other papers about those poor E4E types who will lose their jobs we ought to focus on the people WalBloom are targeting - the ATRs, the U rated and those with lots of absences due to sickness - like cancer patients. Follow an ATR covering a regular program. Show people like Peter Lamphere who were given U ratings for political reasons. Feature a daily story on the intended victims of the attack on LIFO which we all know is what these layoffs are about.

  5. It took me over two minutes to read your "30 second" ad aloud, and I was reading FAST. Try slicing 75 to 80 percent of your words and see how good it is then. Not so easy.