Society Diary: No we can! 

25 Oct 2019 Voices

This summer charities will be inundated with offers of volunteering by NCS participants chanting: NO WE CAN!

Happy Friday charity folk. We’ve made it to the end of another never-ending week. Diary has completely lost track of whether we’re in or out of the EU, though suspects that rather like the Hokey Cokey we are just shaking it all about. 

Normally the return of the Apprentice offers a welcome break from the real world, as contestants bicker, squabble, make baffling decisions, and behave worse than most toddlers while dealing with serious and sensible business people. 

But this year Diary has the niggling thought that politicians may be following this example, and that it won’t be long before we present EU leaders with a plastic turtle and say that if they order 10,000 it will be their friend. 

Anyway, this week we take a close look at some new branding for everyone’s favourite youth volunteering initiative. 

Greetings fellow young humans

This week Society Diary channelled its inner teenager to dissect the NCS Trust’s new branding. It is, well, striking, and in a weird way slightly comforting, as it reminds Diary of what websites used to be like in the late 1990s/early 2000s – remember GeoCities anyone? 

The website has both an animated logo and the background colour fading from luminous pink to luminous yellow; if Diary hadn’t taken extensive measures to remove all trace of a“‘fun” website it created with a fellow cool teenager in the computer room at school during our lunchbreaks, we’d consider this a breach of copyright. 

On first looking at the homepage, one of Diary’s colleagues focused on a different aspect, and asked: “Why are there envelopes?” The answer is clearly that it is the symbol for email – this is aimed at digital natives after all. 

But when was the last time you got an email from a teenager? Diary would wager never. Diary knows this because Diary once sent a text to a teenage relative asking if they had received an email, to receive the response: “I don’t have email on my phone, no-one emails”. 

But maybe the messaging will chime with youth, not least because the tagline, “no we can”, feels like a teenage version of the “yes we can” chant they were all so fond of as toddlers after binge watching Bob the Builder.

The “no we can” tag line is obviously the response to the many statements embedded in the background of the website: 

  • “Teenagers can’t think for themselves”
  • “The big problem is that teens can’t make good choices”
  • “Teenagers can’t think past what they’re having for lunch”
  • “Teenagers can’t make fully informed decisions”

Now Diary isn’t one to nitpick, but hasn’t someone has done some myth busting about the myth that myth busting works? It goes something along the lines of “if you repeat your opponent’s catchiest lines, then you only reinforce them”. 

Never mind, there is still plenty of photos of young people running, climbing and jumping, and all in glorious sunshine (*makes mental note to ask which corner of England is this lovely during July and August*).

If Diary was a teenager it would definitely be baulking at the idea of all these activities and opting to spend the summer indoors watching telly and playing computer games. But then maybe that’s because Diary is now very old and is yet to have achieved anything more meaningful than the delivery of some free kebabs to office (though that was a pretty good day).

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