The Torontoist was right, Obay is an ad campaign launched by Colleges Ontario which represents what are generally known as "community colleges" in the province. We Canadians do not call universities college like American's do and while the differences between the two are blurring for a whole bunch of reasons, they remain distinct entities. The Obay campaign is designed to tell kids to dis-Obay their parents and examine colleges more fully when considering post-secondary education.
I must admit I was hoping for something more satirical (maybe a Stepford Teens movie), but that's just me.
I'm pleased to see my "alma-mater" twisting the message for their campaign on fees.
I have nothing against college education, it serves a useful role in society, training people in a range of fields. That's a good thing. It is different from university which may train people for particular jobs, but which really teaches a range of critical thinking skills that would be useful in a range of professions i.e. it's less applied in it's focus. The reason why these options exist is because university isn't for everyone (and having been in university in some way or another for 20 years I strongly believe this).
But it does seem like an odd message: "Rebel against your parents: Go to college."
And it's telling parents that they might not know what's best for their kids--that's never a good sell.
Lastly, as a university person, there's an interesting undercurrent to the press-release that colleges are the better place to go. I don't recall seeing such a direct message in the past. Will a new ad campaign by universities follow?
Viral marketing is an interesting tactic. The success of this one will depend on the follow-through. Their next message will need to be as compelling as the Obay ads. Time will tell.