Halloween proves it – Advertising is powerful!

Here’s one thing I don’t understand: Why do businesses cut advertising so easily when cutting expenses? Sure, there are other business functions that are needed, but advertising is powerful, and a cut of marketing/advertising shouldn’t be taken lightly.

My Halloween experience was one example. This year, I was a gnome. That’s right, a red hat, blue shirt, bearded gnome. That would be your typical image of a gnome, right? (at least I thought so).

Now get this, advertising has had such amazing power on consumers that about 25% of the guesses on my costume were, I quote, “Travelocity!” (the rest guessed a smurf, Santa Claus or correctly guessed a gnome).

Now, that’s just a rough estimate, but think of what that means? Travelocity has had such a strong advertising campaign that when someone sees a gnome, they immediately think of Travelocity and it’s roaming gnome. Same goes for those golden arches, or the red umbrella, or the “snap crackle pop” sound of that very famous cereal.

Advertising creates a brand, influences consumer perceptions and can ultimately (if done right), generate mind share and drive demand. That’s power, and that’s irreplaceable.

What I Learned in College

Well, the school year has started. Without me. As I reminisce over college, I’ve realized that I’ve grown a lot and learned a lot since I got out of the car doors on 16th street to move into Marquette’s McCormick Hall. For those of you starting another year in college, I’ve generated a list of my greatest bits of advice:

  1. Do as much as you can, and enjoy all of it, because it’s a time of your life that you won’t get to go back to.
  2. There’s more to learn in college than there is to learn in class. Get out. Do stuff. Go to speakers/networking events. Volunteer. Experience life. You may learn something when you least expect it.
  3. Pay attention in class. You may be surprised that a lot of the material IS relevant in the workplace and you WILL use a lot of it.
  4. College is about more than class work. It’s also about more than socializing. Find a good balance of work and play.
  5. Take advantage of the area. Milwaukee is an amazing city. It’ll surprise you and possibly win your heart.
  6. As a college kid, people are very willing to help you succeed. Take advantage of that.
  7. Be a “yes man” (or woman). Know your boundaries, but remember: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain. Don’t allow yourself have regrets.
  8. Do what’s right for you. Otherwise, you won’t be truly happy.
  9. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is what drives us to improve ourselves. Get back on the bike, and start riding.
  10. Get your bus pass, and ride the MCTS bus.
  11. Find a hobby or something you enjoy and make time for it.
  12. Go to the late nights, bingo, etc. It’s usually free stuff! And usually pretty fun.
  13. Explore every building that you can. Visit every dorm hall, explore every academic building. Don’t leave a stone unturned. Sooner or later, you won’t have access, and you’ll wish you’d seen inside.

I remember hearing some of these tips when I was in college, but did I listen? Only a little. I believe that everyone deserves a unique college experience and everyone must learn their own lessons, but there’s no reason why the “older” and “wiser” can’t help, right?

Do you have any words of advice? Leave a comment!

I need a smartphone.

It’s been a long time coming, but yesterday it really hit me. I need a smartphone.

I’ve always been a late adapter of technology: My Xbox and PlayStation are out-dated versions. I don’t have a camera nor an mp3 player. And a tablet or eBook reader? Are you kidding –  Of course I don’t have one. As for my phone, I have a Pantech Pursuit. A messaging phone.

Don’t get me wrong, the phone does the job. It makes calls, takes pictures, stores music, text messages, it kind of goes on the internet, and of course, it’s cheap. It’s all I really need, and probably more, but as I sit on the sidelines of the happening mobile world, I realize that there’s a whole lot that I’m missing out on. There’s a lot that I can’t do because I don’t have a smartphone:

  1. Get Amazing Apps“There’s an app for that.” Well, too bad I can’t use it. Having digital advertising as an interest makes me aware of a ton of cool mobile apps to try (like this one: New Balance Urban Dash). Unfortunately, I simply can’t even explore them.
  2. Excel with Social Media – I have it all. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, DailyBooth and as of yesterday, Foursquare. But really, my “non-smart” phone is preventing me from getting more involved with each of these. Heck, Foursquare without a mobile device? That’s not ideal for obvious reasons. (Disclaimer: I know that “I have it all” is a wildly inaccurate statement. There are so many social media sites… but I do have a lot).
  3. Scan QR Codes – They are everywhere. Earlier this month, comScore reported that 14 Million Americans scanned QR codes on their phones in June 2011 alone. And that’s only the start. They are growing in popularity and prominence. Me being the curious cat that I am dies a little inside every time I see a QR code. I can’t scan it, and am not allowed to “see what’s inside.”
  4. Stay on top of Pop Culture – Smartphones are changing the world and finding their way into pop culture. Examples: Angry Bird stuffed animals, and my cousin dressing as an iPhone for Halloween. Without a smartphone, it’s hard to keep up.
  5. Mobile Banking – It’s emerging, and it’s amazing. Yes, I can use text for a mini version of mobile banking, but banking apps are becoming more prominent and more helpful to consumers. Heck, now you can even pay for your Starbucks drink with your mobile phone.
  6. Use Internet on a Whim –  I’m an internet addict. Plain and simple. Not having a smartphone for this is a big issue.
  7. Easy Access to Music – Pandora, Grooveshark, etc are all not available with the Pantech Pursuit. Even worse, I learned I’d be able to play these apps over my car stereo with Bluetooth.
  8. Get and Use More Coupons –  Many retailers allow you to use a coupon (or even Groupon you forgot to print) from a smart phone. There’s even been talk of retailers pushing coupons with location-based technology. Very cool stuff.
  9. Have an All-In-One Device –  Smart phones can take pictures, videos, play music, use a GPS application and more. All in one. No need for a camera or mp3 player (neither of which I currently have).

Smartphone-less users should consider re-evaluating their choice. Technology is advancing, and the way that consumers do things is different. As for me, I’ve decided that my next phone will be a smart one. Do you have a smartphone? What do you like or dislike about it?

“Pick Me” Review

At the end of the school year, I read the book “Pick Me: Breaking into advertising and staying there” by Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin. (Thank you Jean Grow for the recommendation). For those unfamiliar with the book, Nancy and Janet took popular topics and concerns from aspiring creatives and answered them along with some top creatives in advertising . Some of the Guru’s include Chuck Porter (Chairman, Crispin Porter + Bogusky), Sally Hogshead (Award winning copywriter, now Creative Director), and Nancy and Janet themselves (Co-Chief Creative Officers at Ogilvy Toronto).

The book is filled with insights and a vast amount of knowledge shared from these acclaimed creatives. Although there’s much much more that can prove valuable from this book, I chose a few favorite quotes:

  • A good ad is fresh and interesting. It’s simple and single-minded. It makes you feel or think something. It might make you want to do something.
  • A human truth or insight lies at the heart of all powerful ideas.
  • It’s better to fail by going down in flames than by settling for mediocrity.
  • You can’t out think everyone, but you can outwork them.
  • Be as respectful to the receptionist as to the president.
  • Probably the best way to get fresh ideas is not to look for them.
  • You changed your mind countless times since you were five, and why would that necessarily stop just because you went to a lot of trouble to get a particular degree? ((About choosing to go into advertising. I love this new perspective! Appeals to my nerd who loves the “sunk cost” concept from economics)).
  • Great people create their own opportunities.
  • Work smarter, not longer.
  • You can’t “fix it in the edit.”
  • Nail the font. For God’s sake, nail the font.
  • Your work’s important. Your family’s more important.
  • Spend more time listening than talking.
  • Be a true partner to your clients; be interested in their business and show it.
  • You’ll learn the most from people who push you hard.
  • Don’t forget to have a life.

Amazing, I know. But that’s only a taste. I truly recommend this book, especially to an aspiring copywriter. And if you’re not into copywriting, read it anyway. It was still very interesting and beneficial for me –  someone who is better suited for the account side.

If you like the quotes, check out the book. Read it, enjoy it, and let me know what you think!

Time for revival

I know, I know. I haven’t posted in months. Well, truth is, I kind of abandoned this blog. I did what any typical college student would do: I graduated and thought “I’m free! No more classes!” and kind of ditched everything that came with.

Being a few months out, I’ve realized that that’s the last thing I want to do. This blog was originally created for a class, and although I more or less “had to” (for a grade), I’ve realized that it provided a much greater benefit. It kept me thinking and analyzing, and just as importantly, it kept me engrossed in the marketing and advertising world.

Although I am no longer in class, I don’t want to stop those marketing wheels inside my head from turning, and I don’t want to lose touch with my passion. That is why I’ve made the choice to revive this blog. Please stay tuned for posts, as you’ll be seeing more in the future.

Straight from the Bog

Ocean Spray. A prime example of complete branding.

To start, let’s explain Ocean Spray as a company. Ocean Spray is owned by North American cranberry and grapefruit growers. The headquarters in Massachusetts is right near real operating cranberry bogs. What does this all mean? Cranberry growing and a “grassroots” idea is in their culture. Arnold saw this and decided to share it with the public.

The Straight from the Bog campaign is all about “real” growers. Actors are used to show the bogs and roots from where the juice comes. They did this with TV commercials, print ads, a website and a promotions campaign (http://www.arn.com/work/case-studies/ocean-spray). In short, Arnold picked their message and tightly followed it in every tactic, making for a strong campaign.

The growing community is important to ocean spray, and Arnold made it visible to the public. Ocean Spray as a company became more personal. The growers are so well connected to the corporate identity, the campaign was a success: Ocean Spray now sees 14% growth in a declining industry.

They also took the bog on tour (http://www.arn.com/creative/work/bogs-across-america)

Also perfect to the current juice market. More and more so, people want to know where their food is coming from. If Ocean Spray can leverage the strength that transparency of their processes will provide: making the juice more personable, and showing the natural growing and production processes.

Surviving in advertising

I recently went to the MIAD (Milwaukee Institute Art and Design) Senior Thesis Exhibit to look at and analyze the work of communications design majors – some who will be the ad community’s future Art Directors.

Immediately, I was drawn to three students’ work. Perhaps it’s because their topics interest me, or perhaps it’s because they get it. They understand how to capture attention and keep someone interested.

The three students: Eric White, Kelly Gest and Chase Baker (and yes, these are in a specific order).

First is Eric White. His was one of the last displays that I saw, but one of the most powerful. His campaign was called “The Brighter Side,” and it focused on current lifestyles – more specifically, media consumption. Three main pillars were on display, each with the headline “8 hours of our day are wasted on media consumption.” The pillars are filled with facts about consuming TV media, social media and video games.

"The Brighter Side" fortune teller

Eric understands AIDA. Attention & interest are gained by some shocking facts, desire is created by showing the negatives of media consumption and the way that it can disconnect humans, and a call to action is seen in the rest of the campaign (quite literally). The campaign is to motivate people to “Go somewhere, See somebody, and Do something.” On the back and brighter sides of the pillars (more light), are images of lively outdoor activities. Along the walls are suggestions for a variety of activities as simple as “play a board game” or as complex as “host a reunion.” Each activity is given an estimated amount of hours, to increase the desire to reduce media consumption and spend more time on these activities. Finally, paper fortune tellers are present, with the outside having pictures of media consumption, and the inside being a bright yellow and full of activity suggestions.

Overall, I loved this campaign. I think it’s extremely strong and on strategy. I later found out that Eric is in graphic design and copywriting. Fitting. He’s a young Creative Director in the making.

Kelly Gest is my next favorite. Her display is not exactly advertising, but I believe it still shows her understanding of strategy. Her display was “La Comida Viaggio” which is for a cultural cookbook. She had an educational focus centered on the mix of food and culture, and she kept this narrow focus very clear on every page. For each country in her book – Spain, France and Italy – she begins the recipes with a spread titled “food and culture.” This spread gives a history and some education on the connection of food and culture in that country. Furthermore, on each page, the reader will find educational facts related to the featured recipe. Her idea was very tight and she followed her strategy to a T. That’s certainly important for anyone in advertising.

Next, I was drawn to Chase Baker. His thesis was for projectconsent.org, focusing on consent in relationships. Without even checking, I knew right away that he was in communications design. His pieces looked just like advertisements (beautiful ones, I might add), with headlines, subheads, copy and a logo. Each of his four pieces had a consistent look and feel which is important for any ad campaign. Though I believe his ads effectively caught my attention and interest, I can tell that Chase is not a copywriter. His copy was long and wordy and could use some extra attention. His call to action is also lacking, and his headlines could use some extra umph. I suppose the fact that Chase is focused on graphic design and art direction would be the explanation. I can certainly see Chase being an Art Director, and if paired with a good copywriter, I he should have success in his career.

These three students have huge potential. I can see it in their design and conceptual thinking. They know how to survive in the ad world.