Universities and colleges are avid advertisers. There’s a sameness to the ads that most run. mortierbrigade has done something entirely different for Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium.
It’s a social experiment that wondered if students would react to false statements made by their professors. The experiment underlines the philosophy of UGent, which is Dare To Think.
Three professors, Johan Braeckman, Mirjam Knockaert and Lieven De Marez, were told to present lectures based on dubious and false statements, and the experiment documents how long it took for students to dare to oppose them. The lectures were turned into an online video.
Supporting the experiment was a series of anonymous posters displayed throughout Ghent. These featured provocative statements, like Poverty is a hereditary disease and FGM is the best method for avoiding infections. The posters provoked spontaneous, critical (and often strong) reactions. The posters were defaced with comments and even torn up. The vandalised posters were then turned into a massive billboard campaign.
Jens Mortier, creative director and partner at mortierbrigade explained, ‘Our society needs people and institutions that dare to express opposing views without feeling the urge to win the debate. Ghent University has a critical outlook and a loud voice in social dialogue. Students and teachers dare to think for themselves. With this campaign we creatively reaffirm Ghent University philosophy and prove that this is a modern, open-minded university, where younger generations get ready for the future through the development of a critical and independent mindset.”