NPR Membership Drive Urges Listeners to ‘Go Make Babies’

When you hear the words “public” and “radio” together, your mind probably doesn’t turn toward hot and heavy procreation. But a Chicago-based NPR affiliate decided to go bold with its most recent membership drive/PR campaign, stroking its listeners’ fragile egos while simultaneously encouraging them to support NPR in the years and decades ahead by having more babies (who would presumably be “interesting” enough to listen to public radio).

The campaign includes lines like the one above in addition to such timeless brand statements as:

  • “We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today.”
  • “Do It. For Chicago.”
  • “We want interesting people to meet interesting people and make more interesting people.”

“Go Make Babies” isn’t just a snarky tagline, by the way. It’s also a Facebook app that includes a clever “assessment” quiz designed to tell fancy-pants NPR fans just how interesting they are before directing them toward the profiles of other, similarly interesting individuals (who just might be up for makin’ some babies at an unforeseeable point in the hopefully-not-too-distant future).

Can you tell how much we like this campaign?

Multiple choice questions on the app include classics like “If someone were trying to pick me up at a bar, they’d have a good shot if they talked about” We chose “camel poop”, because who doesn’t love that stuff?! After finishing the five-question quiz, we learned a few important things:

  • We are indeed interesting (whew!)
  • If we were bold enough to leave the house every once in a while, we might meet other interesting people and eventually turn to procreating (we’ve heard it can be fun).
  • Certain members of Facebook’s billion-strong membership have taken the same quiz! Isn’t that interesting?!

So yeah, it’s all fun and games, but this project masks a serious demographic crisis: the average NPR listener is an (over)educated individual who will probably wait a little longer than most to have babies thanks to being rational and commonsensical and career-minded and probably a little poor.

Our translation: “We love you guys and all, but we also need money. Why don’t you have some kids whose earnings might eclipse your own in the super-optimistic Chicago of our future dreams?”

What do we think of this campaign? Is it a joke taken too far or a perfect move for a brand looking to shake off the cobwebs?