Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Happy Holidays!

December 17, 2014

By: Rosie Haren, @rosieharen

Do you ever worry about being fully inclusive to all cultures during the holiday season? It’s a constant worry for most professionals. Businesses and restaurants have the difficult task of spreading holiday cheer, while being inclusive to all cultures and traditions. But, how do they do that?

One option businesses use is to avoid directly advertising with Christmas representations in their ads, but using themes that remind people of winter. An example of this would be using music lyrics.

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The amount of Christmas ads seen, versus ads you see of other cultures, like the Jewish culture, are greatly higher. There are few ads that promote traditions besides Christmas, but if stores work harder at promoting other cultures, they could benefit themselves by attracting more people, a diverse group of people and educate others on different traditions.

Television shows have done a good job at creating a variety of episodes directed towards other groups. One of these shows is “Rugrats,” having an entire episode devoted to Kwanza.

Rugrats Kwanzaa

This is beneficial because there are many different types of people that do not know much about traditions beyond Christmas. This is an opportunity that gives people a chance to learn about other cultures, and at the same time, attract people of other cultures to start watching the show.

Is it possible that people of cultures that don’t celebrate Christmas get offended by how much celebration of Christmas there is, and not about other traditions? Avital Field, a sophomore at Ohio University and of Jewish descent, says that sometimes she and her family feel frustrated because the use Christmas is everywhere. Field also says that Christmas music gets stuck in her head more then Chanukah music.

When it comes to the holiday season it’s usually a descent idea to tell people, “Happy Holidays,” because you never know who celebrates what and that phrase covers them all! This action is one that marketers and advertisers should adopt, to help be culturally inclusive.

Advertising uses “fem-vertising” to promote brands and break stereotypes

December 16, 2014

By: Kate Schroeder, @kschroeds7

There is a new trend in advertising. A trend all the Olivia Popes in the world would be proud of. The trend is called fem-vertising; pro-female messaging within advertising. Advertising is breaking away from its traditional mold of how it portrays women in the media, and is leaning toward advertising that can empower women while also selling products.

http://www.nbcnews.com/watch/nightly-news/big-brands-using-femvertising-to-attract-female-consumers-368228931718

It’s no secret. Countless advertisements show women as sexual, weak or unobtainable objects. These messages are everywhere, and it has become the standard for advertising. Watch any Hardy’s advertisement. We all know the average woman does not have a six inch neck, a 24 inch waist and jawlines so sharp they could cut diamonds. But still, it’s the expectation.

According to a feature done by NBC nightly news in December 2014, Fem-vertising shows women as strong, courageous and real. Support behind this movement from women everywhere is mounting. Some brands that have embraced this method are Under Armor, Nike, Always and Degree.

The first brand, however, to dive into fem-vertising was Dove. Their Real Beauty campaign, launched in 2005, shocked the world when a billboard went up showing six women un-touched by photoshop in their underwear. They went on to create video campaigns like Dove Real Beauty Sketches and Dove: Selfie.

The purpose of these messages aren’t just to sell the brands product. They send a bigger message, by showing how the brand understands and supports the consumer. This technique helps the consumer develop trust with the brand and increases the consumers lifetime value to the company.

As an aspiring strategic communications professional, it is important to consider the social repercussions of adhering to traditional stereotypes when marketing a product to the target market. Although there will always be advertising that uses female stereotypes to market products, there is the option to make a positive impact. We don’t have to contribute to stereotypes.

The Three Best Christmas Advertisements of All Time

December 10, 2014

By: Elizabeth Papas, @elizabethpapas_

It is no mystery that companies and consumers alike live for creative advertisements during the holiday season. I mean, what better way to address a target audience than with a special appearance from old St. Nick? With the use of marketing tools and strategic communication plans, these three Christmas advertisements go down in history as the best and most memorable of all time.

1. Coca-Cola’s Holidays are Coming

Coke loves Christmas. In the 1920s, Coca-Cola was one of the first companies to feature the character of Santa Clause in its holiday advertising. The company has continued the implementation of this Christmas icon for many years, and has added many facets to its holiday campaign along the way. This has ultimately created a lasting memory of the connection between Coca-Cola and Christmas. In this advertisement, the Coca-Cola delivery truck comes to town, and with its passing, illuminates lights and trees, signifying the holidays are here.

2. M&Ms, They Do Exist

Originally released in 1996, this advertisement shows Santa Clause delivering presents on Christmas Eve to the home of the red and yellow M&Ms. The famous ‘90s advertisement was recreated in 2009 with little modification to the original. The reason for this recreation was a discovery by the company’s brand managers that the “Fainting Santa” was a consumer-favorite among M&M commercials.

3. WestJet Christmas Miracle

This successful advertisement from the popular Canadian airline WestJet shows how the company turned a chaotic time of travel into an uplifting Christmas surprise for many of its customers. The video was posted on YouTube in December of 2013, and within weeks was among the top viewed videos in Canada. With the work of a successful strategic communication plan, the company was able to increase their sales and spread holiday cheer with their heartwarming “Christmas Miracle”.

Now that you have seen the classics, be sure to look out for which companies are utilizing the tool of the advertisement this holiday season.

Celebrity Scandals are Becoming too Much to Handle

December 9, 2014

By: Annie Beard, @annie_beard

The days of endorsers standing by their celebrity through think and thin, scandal or no scandal, are no longer happening. Companies are now dropping celebrity endorsement deals quicker than ever. We have seen it everywhere, from Ray Rice, to Adrian Peterson to Bill Cosby, to name a few recent examples. An article from the “New York Times” says it best: “There is no “till death do us part” in marriages by endorsement, only “till you doth embarrass us.””

In 2009, when Tiger Woods was facing, and admitting to, claims of infidelity, Nike stood by Woods and even featured him in a TV commercial about the scandal, highlighting Wood’s remorse, which you can watch here:

In 2014, only five years later, Nike was quick to drop Rice and Peterson. They were both dropped shortly after allegations were made. This seems to be the best and most effective PR move these days in order to save a company’s reputation. When it comes to cutting the cord, “Just Do It” is the best advice.

Bill Cosby’s celebrity scandal is recent and still ongoing. In case you are unaware, a dozen women have accused Cosby of drugging them and taking advantage of them sexually. Cosby has already lost projects. TV Land is pulling reruns of The Cosby Show, NBC is dropping its deal with Cosby to do a sitcom and Netflix cancelled a special on Cosby that was supposed to air on November 28.

So, why do we think this is becoming the best way to deal with scandals? Why are companies becoming less tolerable in situations like these? One reason, and probably the biggest reason, is because everything goes viral. In today’s world, if a celebrity does something we consider immoral, it will be on millions of phone and computer screens within hours. When bad press is surrounding a celebrity, it is normal for brands to want to get as far away as possible, but it is happening faster, and more often, than ever.

The Jean-ius Behind The ‘Field of Jeans’

December 8, 2014

By: Gentry Bennett, @Gen__andTonic

Retail, sports and sustainability don’t usually come together, cue Levi’s. The classic denim brand has taken recycling to a whole new level.

The San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium was made in to a literal ‘Field of Jeans,’ after donations were accepted on November 2, the day the 49ers played the St. Louis Rams. If you couldn’t make it to the game, any and all donations to local Goodwills were also accepted.

This event was a win-win-win situation. Not only did clothing get donated to Goodwills, creating jobs and reducing textile waste, but the 49ers and Levi’s got some great publicity.

Even those who donated won out, receiving a coupon for Levi’s. I think that the environment, however, came out on top. Here’s a great excerpt from the Levi’s website:

“Residents of San Francisco send 4,500 pounds of textiles to landfill every hour of every day. That amount of textile waste produces about 31,500 pounds of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions produced by taking 11 round trips from San Francisco to Boston … every hour of every day.”

I had no idea that textile waste made such an impact on the environment, and Levi’s did a great job getting the message out about sustainability.

The turnout for the ‘Field of Jeans’ was tremendous. This picture, via Mashable, shows the spectacular efforts made by San Francisco residents. Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 12.03.41 AM

18,850 pairs of jeans transformed a professional football stadium into a true testament to the impact that we can have. 50 people and 16 hours later, the 24,000 pounds of denim were made in to a wonderful PR stunt and reminder of recycling and its importance.

This video shows the making of the Field of Jeans. Trust me, it’s worth the watch.

http://vimeo.com/112670108

Why Katniss Everdeen would be a terrible client for a PR Professional

December 4, 2014

By: Elise Mills @itsELISElove

Spoiler Alert: Mockingjay Part 1 references will be made

Katniss Everdeen: the girl on fire will get you fired. Her legendary responses may have started a revolution in a dystopian society, but her individualism and inability to cooperate will land you in the hot seat as her PR representative.

When Rue died, you sent a note suggesting revenge would work because everyone loves a good revenge story.

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Instead, she manages to anger the capitol and the president with the words “Flowers for Rue” on every social media site.

When all you ask: is her relationship with Peeta real?

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President Snow catches your client locking lips with an “old friend”. That’s a hard scandal to cover up. The press releases to talk about the affair are almost as brutal as the games themselves.

When you ask her to stay pretty for her interview.

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Katniss decides to defend her friends against the Peacekeepers, all though noble, creates quite the stir on Twitter with the trending hash tag #PeetaGetsViolent

When you tell Katniss to do some volunteer work to try and help her image.

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And finally when you ask Katniss to be a good girl…

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So hey, she may change the world and get rid of the evil dictatorship. It doesn’t make our job any easier.

 

9 Ways to Put an End to Your Boredom Over Winter Break

December 3, 2014

By: Elizabeth Harris @elizharris32

winter break

Students generally cannot wait to get home for winter break. It gives us time to relax after a stressful semester of schoolwork. The first week or so is usually full of holiday shopping, catching up with hometown friends and binge watching Netflix. However, by the time the last two weeks of break roll around, the boredom usually sets in. The phrases “I just cannot wait to get back to school,” “There’s nothing to do here,” “I miss my college friends” “I’m sick of sitting around doing nothing,” are spoken amongst many college students.

Well, for those students who find themselves uttering those phrases, there are many productive things to do to fill up those dreaded times of boredom.

  1. Try to find a seasonal job. Some stores need extra help during the holiday season, and it is always nice to make some extra cash. Also, look into babysitting opportunities – parents often need someone to watch their kids so they can go shopping or wrap presents.
  2. Fine-tune you resume. No matter what, there are always ways to make your resume better.
  3. Apply to internships. Many times companies start review applications in January. There are myriad internship opportunities out there. Take the time to research ones you think would be a good fit and apply to as many as possible to have options.
  4. Build your LinkedIn profile. Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn during the hiring process. You do not want to decrease your chances of getting an internship or job because you do not have a LinkedIn or because your profile is weak.
  5. Participate in community service. The holiday season is the best time of year to give back to the community. Look into volunteering at the local food bank or ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.
  6. Workout. With all of the great holiday food and the eating out that usually occurs during break, working out is never a bad idea. It’s also just a great way to fill your downtime in general.
  7. Visit your college friend’s hometowns. It’s always fun to see where your friends grew up.
  8. Shadow someone in your field of interest. It’s never a bad idea to get as much experience as possible in the career field you hope to hold a job one day.
  9. Do a random act of kindness. Part of the holiday season is all about giving back. Why not make someone happy when he or she is not necessarily expecting it?

And, once you are done doing all of these productive things, take the time to do even more Netflix binge watching, you deserve it!

Finding a Meaning for Memes in the Marketing Industry

December 2, 2014

By: Zulfa Rizqiya @rizqibusiness

If you’re an avid social media user, chances are you’ve come across a fair share of memes, whether through your Facebook newsfeed, Twitter timeline or the occasional Buzzfeed article.

What exactly is a meme? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a meme as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within culture.” While memes are most well known as image macros – that is images superimposed with text for a humorous effect – they can also include viral videos, GIFs and even hashtags.

mememe

There are many reasons why you should consider integrating memes within your marketing content:

  • They’re easy to produce. With the most popular memes comprising just a few words of text printed over an image, memes can be generated quickly.
  • They’re easy to share. Every major social network supports image and video files – some even support GIFs. With a click of a button, memes can be shared across a variety of platforms, ultimately spreading market content.
  • They’re already viral. Latching on to a meme, or “memejacking” can bring attention to your brand by entering it into a trending conversation.
  • They’re relatable and show personality. By using humor your brand can demonstrate it knows how to have fun, ultimately establishing a connection with the audience.

On the surface, memes seem simple. But before you’re quick to generate and share them, consider the following tips:

  • Understand the context. Nothing makes your audience roll their eyes quite like a misused meme. Websites such as Knowyourmeme are great references.
  • Know your audience. On a similar note, nothing makes humor fly over the heads your audience quite like an unfamiliar meme. The memes that saturate the web are generally targeted at a young demographic.
  • Time is of the essence. The shelf life of a meme can range from a couple of years to only a few days, so if you’re memejacking to be relevant, do it as soon as possible.
  • Don’t stray from your brand’s voice. Memes can be silly and contain skewed grammar for the sake of humor. Make sure the humor fits into your brand’s voice and reputation.

When employed correctly, memes can give your business a serious boost. The following companies are great examples of how to use memes effectively:

Wonderful Pistachios

Since 2009, Wonderful Pistachios enlisted countless Internet memes and viral celebrities in the company’s ads, including Keyboard Cat and “Gangnam Style” singer PSY, to demonstrate how they crack open a pistachio. The brand has honed the skill of integrating pop culture without being derivative, ultimately gaining credibility and cultural relevance. 

Target

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16-year-old Alex LaBeouf, more popularly known as #AlexFromTarget, became the Internet’s newest favorite meme overnight after a picture of the Target checkout clerk was posted on Twitter. Because of the apparent rarity of seeing someone mildly attractive work in retail, the picture rapidly circulated amongst Twitter users and spawned several other memes. Wasting no time, Target responded to the situation with a simple, yet effective tweet. Because of the power of a meme, this tweet is Target’s most popular tweet to date.

However, not all companies have had success with memes. If you’re planning on using memes in the future, don’t make the same mistakes the following companies did:

Kia/Cheezburger, Inc.

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Kia took a different approach to memejacking by teaming up with Cheezburger, Inc., a meme database company, for a campaign called “Season’s Memeing.” The contest encouraged fans to generate memes for Kia for a chance to win a gift certificate. However, the campaign was a failure as every submission received more downvotes than upvotes from Cheezburger users and the Kia-based memes lost the context of the original, humorous memes.

FAFSA

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FAFSA received an onslaught of criticism after sending out a tweet, which featured the “Help Me, I’m Poor” meme from the movie Bridesmaids. While FAFSA understood that their target audience is a young demographic, the financial aid account strayed from the standards of the U.S. Department of Education by making a joke out of a hardship. The tweet has since been removed and FAFSA issued an apology.

Memes can be a great way of encouraging interaction amongst your users and exposing your content to a greater audience beyond your pre-existing one. While memes should be employed in a timely manner, it is crucial not to rush and overlook the context of a meme and whether it serves relevance to your brand.

 

Finding the perfect pitch: social media lessons from an a Capella perspective

December 1, 2014

By: Catrina Lang @trinalang13

Becoming a member of The Tempo Tantrums, an all female a Capella group here on campus has been one of the best and most unique experiences I’ve had in college so far. Making pop music come to life with nothing but our voices is a challenging but rewarding task. Throughout my first two years with the group, I’ve learned a lot about different musical elements such as tone, pitch and harmony. What I’ve come to realize is that many of the same tools that we use to create beautiful music can also be applied to craft and implement successful social media strategies.

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  1. Tone. In music, a tone can be described as a “steady, periodic sound”. Before creating a successful social media strategy, you must first figure out your brand’s tone on social media. This tone should be steady and consistent so as not to confuse the audience or potential customer. The tone should be a positive representation of your brand. Brands can consistently choose to adopt a humorous, professional, fun, educational, or various other types tone throughout all of their social media outlets. The key is keeping it consistent.
  1. Harmony. Constructing harmonies is one of the most important things to focus on when singing a Capella music. Each voice part is singing different notes, but they all come together to form chords that sound like a cohesive whole. This is important to keep in mind when using multiple different social media platforms as well. Even though each platform presents unique opportunities (such as tweets versus Instagram photos), it’s important to keep in mind the consistency of the brand that you are trying to portray. As long as you keep in mind the goal of the brand when utilizing different platforms, you can successfully use each different platform to get across the same brand message for your client.

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  1. Audience. One of the most important elements of performing is keeping in mind your audience, and how to best connect with them in different situations. When my group is presented with a potential gig, we have to decide which songs to sing, what to wear, etc. to best relate with the client, while still keeping our own personal brand in mind. For example, we will choose different songs, attire, and introductions for a gig at a nursing home than we would for a gig at a coffee shop. Keeping in mind your target audience when you launch a new social media outlet or campaign will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level overall. Some questions to ask yourself could include:
    1. What kind of perceptions does my audience already have of the brand?
    2. What are some aspects of the brand that would best appeal to a particular audience?
    3. How does the targeted audience currently use social media?

Gathering the data and information to answer these questions will help you create the best social media strategy that keeps both your targeted audience and your own personal brand in mind.

When creating a social media strategy, keep in mind the tone, audience and harmony of your social media outlets – in the end it will greatly increase the impact of your brand. I have learned by performing with The Tempo Tantrums that giving your audience what they want while maintaining your personal image and brand with help you hit all of the right notes.

 

I’m in PR, and I approve this message

November 28, 2014

By: Devon Pine @LuckyNumbrDevon

policitcal 1

Driving down the street or watching a favorite TV show September through November fourth, political ads are almost impossible to avoid.

We’re all fans of promotion, advertisements and public relations here right? So why have most people, even us marketing lovers, come to hate these political ads? While there are many similarities between campaigning and the typical brand marketing we’ve come to love, it’s the differences that drive the less-than-pleasant feeling we have towards them.

Research is a good place to start when putting together a good public relations or ad campaign. Political campaigns are no different. Field directors and their teams start off the campaign process early off in the year bye contacting and surveying registered voters in their district. A typical phone conversation early on in my summer as a campaign intern: (it’s May 3rd) “Hi yes, I’m calling to take a survey about upcoming election.” Voter, “What upcoming election?” Exactly. Brand promoters keep monitoring their success throughout the campaign – political campaigns continue to actively reach out to survey voters all the way up to the election. This is to see which candidate is winning the race.

While brands utilize social media, not only to monitor their ad’s success, but also promote the campaign. However, political campaigns are not utilizing social media in the way that brands are. The 2008 election had the first notable use of the Internet and social media, and (obviously) that strategy paid off for President Obama. Today, political campaigns and the candidates themselves are becoming more and more active on social media, especially the Democratic Party which typically targets a younger demographic.

Social media is slowly growing in politics, and utilized more and more these past few years in its grassroots marketing efforts and aggressive ad tactics. It’s illegal to post political signs on private property, but yet yard signs seem to pop up everywhere around election time. This is because field teams made this happen with grassroots marketing – they are calling and knocking doors, hoping supporters will want to put a “So-and-so for Congress 2014” sign on their property.

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Now, I’m a big supporter of Hidden Valley Ranch, but they have never contacted me to put a sign in my yard in order to advertise. Equally true, Hidden Valley doesn’t dig up horrible secrets and use them against Kraft ranch dressing in their ads. I’d think it’s safe to say that this is the main reason people tend to not like political ads. Trackers, people whose job it is to find dirt on a candidate, are often times the ones who dig up the information we see in political ads that slams the opposition. Yes, the drama of the ads is typically overdone, but one publicized scandal can dictate the results of the election.

Yes, many of us are sighing in relief that election season is over and the frequent ads are done until the next election, but in reality, these political ads aren’t as different as those of our favorite brands. See you in 2016 voters.

 

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