“Smart is the new sexy” is the newspaper industry’s attempt to save itself

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Do you guys remember print journalism? Well, it's still kicking despite multiple reports of its demise, and its latest attempt at saving itself is a new campaign called "Smart is the new sexy."

The Newspaper Association of America unveiled the new campaign Friday — it's currently being tested in eight markets. 

The full copy that accompanies the tag:

"Be able find Iran on a map. Know what the city council's up to behind closed doors. Find out how to make a Peanut Butter Icebox Pie from scratch. Get it all in the newspaper — online or in print. Because a little depth looks great on you."

Well, ignoring the obvious, which is that all of those facts are available to any smartphone-toting Joe on the street, I'm amused that the newspaper industry is asserting that their contribution to the zeitgeist is "a little depth."

Donna Barrett, NAA board member had this to say about the new campaign:

"Literally, everyone at the agency, everyone on our committee, and then everyone on the board had a 100-percent positive reaction to that headline. It sets a fun new tone for [the industry]. Who doesn't want to be perceived as smart and sexy? And if you can tie the two together? All the better!"

First: holy hyperbole, Barrett — literally everyone likes the new slogan? Either you know disturbingly few people or you're lying. And the wild-eyed desperation in her tone is palpable: I'm willing to bet jobs are in the balance here.

Secondly, that slogan is just dumb. Nothing is the new sexy. Sexy is the new sexy, just as it was the old sexy. And shouldn't "smart" stand on its own merits? Why are we trying to "sell" being informed and aware of things by tying it to having good bone structure and/or dressing well?