An Advertiser’s Addiction

After listening to Erica Ciszek’s presentation on data visualization I came across this interesting infographic demonstrating the discrepancy between social media use by advertising professionals vs. “normal people”. To suggest that advertising professionals are not “normal” is an entirely accurate statement in this case. Christine Champagne, author of INFOGRAPHIC CONFIRMS IT: ADVERTISING PEOPLE ARE NOT NORMAL, addresses how ad people live in a bubble of some sorts and remain, “worlds apart from the ‘normal’ people when it comes to how they use social media and how they view social media marketing”. A study conducted by the San Francisco-based advertising agency Heat this past month supplied the figures for this data visualization. This study also correlates these bubble-dwelling social media creatives with stereotypical bad behavior. Reinforcing the hit AMC show Mad Men‘s artful depiction of the advertising world, this study shows that an ad professional is also more likely to puke at an office holiday party than someone of another profession. As opposed to paging through an extensive article on the topic I found the data visualization to be not only more aesthetically appealing but also more concise and informative. I now understand why Erica termed this type of visual information as “sexy”. By representing the data in this way Heat has managed to relay statistics in an interesting fashion and capture a broader audience– including readers, like myself, who otherwise loathe both numbers and pie charts.

 

Because, as Erica claims, “a message is only as great as your ability to share it,” I believe this data visualization to be just that…great. An interesting topic on it’s own, this visual representation only enhances the data and statistical information supplied by the study.

If advertising professionals are known for social media exploitation and stereotypical bad behavior I must be in the right field…

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Broderick…Broderick…

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has to be one of my all-time favorite movies. I’m gonna go ahead and say it definitely makes the top 3. This movie embodies one of my favorite themes of all time: living life in the moment and doing what you want to do. As I’ve mentioned in several other blogposts, there is no single idea which is of more importance to me. You can’t always plan for the future and you can’t always succumb to the norms of society and what others expect you to do. Instead it is essential that you go out and live life! Seize the day because today doesn’t last forever. It is only a matter of 24 short hours before today transforms into tomorrow–where every product of procrastination resides. You’ll always have tomorrow so why not celebrate today with a few skipped classes, a joy-ride or an impromptu performance of “Twist and Shout” in your city’s parade?

Yes, I know the Super Bowl was quite some time ago but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment on an ad that payed tribute to one of my favorite movies. Created by Santa Monica, California-based agency RPA, the ad keeps from sullying the original movie by following Broderick in real life rather than trying to recreate the Ferris Bueller character. The spot featured Broderick himself (not his Ferris Bueller character) calling in sick to a film shoot and enjoying another day of slacking made possible by his Honda-CRV. RPA brought in comedy director Todd Phillips as well as launched a 10 second spot on the internet in order to ensure that the ad would be a Super Bowl success. And it was. Even before the ad aired during Super Bowl XLVI it was already a trending topic on Twitter and an instant YouTube sensation. With such a broad and loyal Ferris Bueller fandom still out there today I would expect nothing less. Though many who viewed the 10 second spot hoped for a sequel, I think the 2 minute commercial for Honda is about as close as we’re gonna get.

 

 

As for the agency behind the ad, RPA still manages to keep a low pro. National news coverage of the spot had largely omitted any reference to RPA but executive creative director Joe Baratelli says he’s not too concerned. He wants the publicity to go exclusively to Honda and notes that, “Buzz is good, and it’s great to get recognized for doing stellar work. But we try to shine the light on our clients rather than us. That’s our job.” Not only modest but wise words to live by in the ad world.

There’s No Such Thing as Indoor Inspiration

I somewhat regret creating my blog on WordPress rather than Tumblr. I have a Tumblr account already that I use to reblog and collage images which I find appealing or in some way represent my personality. I spend so much time on Tumblr already that I feel as though a second blog on the same website would have been far more convenient. But in an attempt to escape my comfort zone I chose to create my Creative Strat blog using WordPress. Familiarizing myself with more than one site will benefit me more in the future and I know that agencies and companies appreciate the ability to use sites like WordPress.

Anyways back to what this blog post is really about, Graphic Designer Megan Matsuoka. I was tumbling the other day (go figure) and came across her 100 Posters in 100 Days project. She chose inspirational quotes to use as her content and assembled them in interesting and attractive ways which further reflect their meaning. She has set for herself the goal of creating one hundred posters in one hundred days (one per day) with only one rule–each graphic must be completed within one hour. This rule was created so that the project would not take up her entire life because let’s be honest one cannot create inspirational things if she herself has not lived. This advice sounded all too familiar and then I remembered back to a video we watched in class. WPP‘s Jon Steel said the same thing about effective account planners. He claims that it you are going to make connections as a planner and understand those who you are trying to influence, “it’s essential that you experience real life and that you spend a decent amount of time every day out in the real world.” I found it interesting that someone such as Steel would actually require his employees to spend time away from the office. Interesting and inspiring. I hope I someday work for someone with a similar strategy in building brand relationships and “brand promises”. I believe that there are some things that cannot be learned behind a desk  or in a classroom.And that it is interacting and doing rather than reading and listening which truly engender lasting knowledge.

Again back to the subject of this post Megan Matsuoka. I admire her use of colors and typography to convey inspiration not just in the words themselves but in how they are presented. Here are a few of my favorites thus far but I have every intention of checking back sporadically as she still has close to 30 days left.

Balance between work and play is important…even in life after college.

Recognition to Realization

Recently I was awarded the Chairman Scholarship from The Awards and Recognition Industry Educational Foundation (ARIEF), a not‐for‐profit organization which exists solely to provide financial assistance to students affiliated with member companies of the Awards and Recognition Association (ARA).  The prestigious honor bestowed on me caught me by surprise and also got me thinking. What exactly do awards and scholarships do for our society? Aside from those of the monetary variety, what incentives do rewards provide?

I believe it is not so much the practice of recognizing or awarding individuals that builds character in today’s society, but the motivation it instills in those who are otherwise apathetic. Not everyone is born with the natural inclination or ambition to get involved. The will to compete, on the other hand, is inherent in all individuals. By recognizing individuals we are triggering an innate sense of competition and desire to be accepted, while motivating them to work towards a greater goal. We know that with praise comes the continued desire to excel.

An award is defined as something given to a person or a group of people to recognize excellence in a certain field. As a child looks up to his or her role model, those who recognize or give you an award venerate your peculiar kind of excellence. Though we may not say it aloud, we all seek to be recognized. The sources, however; from which we attempt to elicit recognition are incredibly diverse and depend on the individual. Whether it is your teachers, friends or unrealistically demanding parents by whom you wish to be recognized, we all seek the same respect, love and appreciation. Aside from capturing the recognition of others, award-giving encourages an individual to prove his or her own self worth. Only when one realizes that he or she is no longer competing for the affection of others but for his or her own self approval, is the practice of award-giving truly justified.

The practice of recognizing and awarding individuals, though initially motivational, can only go so far. Learned character is something that must be developed entirely on one’s own. We cannot become dependent on others to confirm our own self worth. Constantly seeking recognition from others instead of learning to be content with our own accomplishments does not make for a successful society.

Rewards are not given out forever. If one becomes reliant on others to assure themselves of their own value, then character is not built, but lost. It is because of the act of giving awards that we might come across this realization and as a result possess the ability to live in an eternal state of accomplishment.

Who Owns “Green” Brands?

Just created the group project proposal. It got torn to shreds but it got me thinking.

Originally our objectives were:

1) To show how the benefits of going green can act as a differentiator between local businesses and their competitors.

2) To show how brands strategically structure their “green image” depending on their audience and situation.

3) To show how bigger brands are changing their identities by sub-branding themselves to reach the green market.

As Catherine pointed out these are all projects on their own. Our topic was far too broad and we are now collectively working to narrow our ideas on sustainability.  We think we are going to focus of the authenticity of sustainable ads, what agencies are doing and why clients would want to portray a “green” image.

Before we completely changed our project however, I wanted to discuss our previous third objective. I was particularly intrigued on the topic of who owns “green” brands. Believe me it’s not who you’d think. Would you consider companies like Clorox and Colgate to be green? I wouldn’t have either had I not recently researched the two corporate giants and their attempts to go green. It turns out that Burt’s Bees, a line of “earth friendly natural personal care products”, is actually owned by Clorox (best known for its bleach). I’ve seen the effect that toxins in bleach have on my colored clothing so I can only imagine what they’re doing for our environment. Not so “green” after all. Toms of Maine, another brand to be considered “green” among the majority of the American public, is actually owned by Colgate-Palmolive.  Colgate also makes Ajax and Speed Stick, two deodorants which use  aluminum ziconoium tetrachlorhydex and other not-so-natural products. Lastly Aveeno, which makes natural body care products, is owned by Johnson and Johnson. Though I wouldn’t consider J & J to be an anti-green brand they did just recently have several recalls due to tiny metallic particles found in their products–the result of a mishap at their manufacturing plant.

WPP recently did a survey of of consumer perceptions on green branding. According to the survey the top 10 “green” brands in the United states according to consumers are as follows:

1. Burt’s Bees

2. Whole Foods Market

3. Tom’s of Maine

4. Trader Joe’s

5. Google

6. Aveeno

7. SC Johnson

8. Public

9. Microsoft

10. Ikea

 This brings up the question, can non-green brands create green products under a new name? I think the answer is yes. Consumers care about environmental sustainability when they choose a brand, product or service and want to buy from environmentally responsible companies. The WPP survey states that in about 60% of consumers this is the case and that the only priorities that should supersede environmental responsibility in a company should be good value, trustworthiness and customer care. With customers developing an increasing appreciation for all things green, it’s no wonder that large corporate conglomerates are changing their identities to incorporate these consumer needs.
Here is a slideshow of the findings compiled by the WPP survey:

 

Date With a Sounder

Having been raised in Issaquah, Washington I was lucky enough to be a part of the Seattle sport’s scene. The Mariners, Sonics, Seahawks, and Huskies (admittedly) were all a huge part of my life. It wasn’t until recently, however, that pro soccer came into the picture. When the Sounders arrived in Seattle they brought with them an entirely new culture and Wexley School for Girls helped them do it. Many considered soccer to be a foreign sport played only oversees.  When soccer came to the Americas it was essential to recruit a loyal fan base. Founded just 8 years ago in Seattle,  Wexley School for Girls got involved with the Sounders in 2009. In 2010, “the Sounders asked them to start to build some love for their players, not just the team or match experience.” As a result they came up with a new campaign based of the premise of a dating game show. They, “invited the city of Seattle on a Date With a Sounder” and created ads that introduced the city to the actual players. Make a Date With a Sounder was introduced on Facebook, billboards and in TV spots. With just the right amount of comedy these ads were an instant success as far as Seattle-ites were concerned (or at least the ones I talked to).

My favorite has to be the commercial featuring Jeff Parke, not just because he is one of my favorite players, but because the ad shows his softer side. The ad presents him in a new light as he brings out his dog, Pain Machine, demonstrating that he can be sensitive too. Hot soccer players and baby animals? Good work Wexley.

Gatorade Revolution

I read an interesting article  on the recent transformation of Gatorade and the effectiveness of its new marketing strategy. Naturally I chose to take this topic to the blogosphere. 4 years ago, just months before Sarah Robb O’Hagan took over Gatorade, the brand used two Super Bowl commercials, one starring Yankee great Derek Jeter, to launch a new low-calorie drink. The ads–and the drink–were largely ignored by fans and critics alike. Ironically Gatorade, the brand prized on it’s nature of performance, was going downhill and losing fast to it’s competitors. Robb O’Hagan chose an entirely new target audience, one that would cater to the PepsiCo brand’s athletic prowess. She chose to target high school athletes and fitness and endurance junkies, both making up 46% of all sales. In targeting these new audiences Robb O’Hagan had to devise an entirely new marketing strategy.

Cutting the TV budget (previously 90%) she decided to go dighas ital investing in websites that high-performance athletes visit to about fitness. Gatorade also changed its product. Instead of coming out with monotonous new flavors it added energy gels and bars for before exercise, and developed protein-infused smoothies and shakes for recovery.

Re-inventing Gatorade as a “hub of fitness knowledge” Robb O’Hagan planned to emphasize the already existing Gatorade Sports Science Institute— a 1,500-square-foot facility designed to help sponsored athletes improve body composition. Robb O’Hagan and her team created a makeshift GSSI at a conference in Indianapolis and brought  the concept to the masses. They wanted consumers to be able to, “come in, be tested, and leave with a comprehensive nutrition and fitness plan.”

The most visible link between success and the brand’s strategy is the relationship it has with pro athletes. Robb O’Hagan asks, “”Why on earth would you spend money on Super Bowl ads when players are drinking our products during the entire game?” Instead of allotting its entire budget to TV ads, Gatorade resides inside the bodies of famous athletes–an ad that speaks for itself.

Inspirational Words from Steve Jobs

I found his words comforting because I myself am still discovering what inspiration means to me and where I can see myself in the future.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart,…you’ll know when you find it.” — Steve Jobs

The Competition for Creativity

I never saw creativity as something to be fought over. That was until I was in the Creative Strategist class at the University of Oregon. Not only am I competing against some of the most creative minds in our society today but I am still trying to find my own creative niche. Sure I always considered myself a decent writer but do I want to do it for a living? There are at least 20 kids in my class that will give you a definitive Y-E-S. And those are they people I’m vying against for a spot at the next great ad agency? Yikes. Starting now and utilizing the time I still have left in college I must actively seek to define my likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and what sets me apart from the rest besides my obscure infatuation with the Food Network. In doing so I will finally feel confident amidst the sea of talent that resides in the J-school. I will no longer suffer the intimidation caused by Final Cut Pro inferiority. I will no longer envy the final profile of someone generations ahead of me in WordPress or Cargo Collective. I will, with time, create equally impressive material after first creating myself.

A list of things to accomplish before senior year:

Take a workshop on…anything

Take a non-advertising class to ensure you are in the right field

Get an internship

Get a job

Learn from your peers

Build your portfolio

Create something outside of class

Keep blogging

Find what inspires you

Have fun and don’t stress the small stuff

If I am able to cross at least half of these off of my list I will feel accomplished.

I’d also like to think that creativity shouldn’t always be a competition. Working with and learning from others is equally important. Collaboration is so important in the world of advertising because regardless of which agency you go to you will always be working with other people. I’m sure every single person in my Creative Strat class could teach me something. If I open myself up to new opportunities and new people I will undoubtedly find my niche.

Seniorly Advice

It was Senior Chapter tonight at my sorority and the premise was that the seniors would give us words of advice using their experiences at the U of O. It was very emotional for us knowing that we won’t be able to see them everyday after graduation but for them it was the end of an era. It seemed as if knowing that their years in college were coming to a close was the most unbearable thought at the time. While they went down the line and each offered us their words of wisdom I noticed a common theme: don’t waste time.

Don’t waste time holding grudges

Don’t waste time on meaningless school work…procrastinate because you’ll still get it done in the end

Don’t waste time with false friendships, the genuine ones are all that matter

Don’t waste time with boyfriends, unless they are good ones

Don’t waste time staying in on a Friday night

Don’t waste time not applying for jobs because you were too lazy

Don’t waste time you could be taking to travel

and most importantly…

Don’t waste time taking yourself too seriously

With all of this sad yet sound advice I plan to live my years left in college to the fullest. I don’t want to look back with regret. You only get 4 years in life to act the way we do–with no regard for consequence. If I were to go out on a Thursday night after college people would think that I’m crazy. My employers would fire me if I showed up to work hungover. This is my time to let it all out before I enter the real world and the rest of my life.

I think Tom Petty said it best:

“You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So, stay out late. Go out on a Tuesday with your friends when you have a paper due Wednesday. Spend money you don’t have. Drink ’til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does…”

Of course I take my time in college seriously and want to pave a career path for myself, but that cannot be done without a necessary catharsis of my irresponsibilities.