Tag Archives: advertising

Back in the Saddle Again: My Social Media Ride

Taking a few jaunts in the ever-evolving world of social media has caused me to push the pause button on blogging. But while I’ve been away, I’ve learned so much – the ins and outs, rights and wrongs, successes and failures of social media. I’m ready to return, but not before I look back to my beginnings in social media.

MySpace was first. The strange, yet exciting way to put my life on the internet and share it beyond AOL Instant Messenger ‘away messages.’ I jumped to Facebook when I reached high school to be in constant contact with my friends. It wasn’t until I entered college at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University when I began to fully appreciate social media. The ability to connect with friends across the country beyond email or online chat, through music, photos, links and shared conversation was invaluable to feeling at home in a new world.

I now realize that growing up with technology and social media has made it an inseparable part of my life. I’m connected through multiple devices in multiple places at one time, and can’t imagine a day without it. It has helped me find internship and job opportunities via Linkedin, grow my online chloe + isabel jewelry sales business, connect with thought leaders on Twitter, and prepared me, through firsthand experience, for a career in fields becoming increasingly more focused on social media, advertising and marketing. After recently completing the HootSuite University Social Media Education Program, I am now a certified social media expert.

My worlds have collided in the best way possible. My passions, education and career have combined to form a transportable, accessible and traceable path of my life, an idea other users and marketers alike will share use of for years to come.

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Ethics in Advertising: Drawing the Line or Crossing It

Ethics can be defined as the rules of conduct or moral principles of a particular group/culture, though its definition can differ from one person to the next. When it comes to advertising, this same sentiment holds true. Depicting a crucified Christ to sell bicycle gear may be an acceptable expression of the advertiser’s “passion” for its business for some, but an offensive appropration of a religious icon for others.
Advertising is always striving to push the boundaries of acceptance and tradition, as all avenues of artistic expression do. But since advertising is often a much more public and accessible medium of expression than some music or art, advertisers must constantly remind themselves of ethics and decide whether the message of the ad is worth sacrificing public opinion or trust. In some cases, the loss of a few ultra-conservative consumers may be a fine trade for an ad that impacted and resonated with millions more. In other cases, it’s just not worth the backlash.
I consider myself to be pretty liberal in my views, but this anti-smoking ad is an obvious connection to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
I will admit, smoking is a serious and life-threatening issue, but putting an advertisement on the same level as a horrific, nationally, politically, and socially life-altering event is offensive, and an affront to every American who experienced the tragedy of that day. Topics that inspire strong, negative personal opinions or associations are better left out of the often humorous, joking world of advertising.
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TV spots: Obselete or Bringing Home the Bacon?

With the dawn of DVRs and video on demand, the landscape of television has changed dramatically in the last decade. What makes TV watching more convenient and accessible for consumers has traditional TV advertisers scrambling for a way to still get their message across. Like the radio, advancement in technology and pop culture has relegated TV commercials to an almost obselete medium, with consumers favoring the viral videos and interactive media available online.

The TV commercial’s lone champion in its fight for survival is the Superbowl, the annual television program who receives as much hype, if not more, for the corresponding advertising as for the actual game. Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, most of the presented spots of the last few Superbowls have been disappointing, tired, and boring. If TV spots’ “big dance” is lackluster and unstimulating, there’s not much hope for consumer interest and support throughout the rest of the year- something advertisers don’t want to hear.

As with all advertising, there are always a few standouts who come up with innovative and unusual ideas to promote their product or service. One of the standouts who recently created such a commercial is Logitech and their commercial with Kevin Bacon for Revue with Google TV:

This kind of humor, surprising and unique in relation to most other slapstick, cheesy TV spots, in addition to inspiring creative ideas is what will keep television advertising alive, at least for another decade.

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The Virus Everybody Wants to Spread: Viral Videos

It’s clear to everyone in the industry that the world of advertising is ever-expanding. Along with the use of social media and guerrilla marketing, viral videos are one of the newest ways for advertisers to contact consumers, whether they realize it or not. A small budget production, viral videos have some sort of unusual, often humorous topic to draw in internet users, delighting them to the point where they feel they must share it with their friends.

Take this one, created for Ray Ban sunglasses.

A guy catches a pair of classic Ray Ban shades with his face that are thrown to him by his friend from great distances and heights. The short video culminates in the guy catching the Ray Bans with his face while sitting in the front seat of a moving vehicle. No indication of Ray Ban as a sponsor is apparent until the end of the video when the retailer’s tagline, Never Hide, is written through dirt on the car’s window. The video represents the take-charge, smoothly suave, irreverent attitude of the brand without forcing itself onto its typically laid-back consumers, creating another opportunity for advertising and brand development.

With 4,945,954 views as of 6:16 PM on 3/27/11, the video has achieved viral status and was appreciated enough to inspire a hilarious spoof:

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Campaigns: Ads that make you think, and think again

Campaigns are generally a series of ads with multiple executions expressing a single big idea. Many campaigns simply execute the ad’s main concept through variations on one creative idea, a boring and repetitive waste of time, effort and money. An example of the opposite is available to anyone who’s traveled through a major airport within the last 6 months. The HSBC campaign centering on different points of view in relation to different cultural, religious, social and political traditions or opinions has been logically plastered along almost every long expanse of wall space in airport terminals, skyways and along luggage carousels.


In the space where people’s minds are free to wander while waiting for their flight to be called, their boarding pass to be checked, or their luggage to be returned, HSBC encourages consumers to understand, as HSBC does, that differing opinions are opportunities for potential and a more unified world. The visuals, cropped images with a word superimposed on top, are simple and direct, yet powerful in in their allowance for open-ended interpretations. These ads express a theme that is interesting and relevant not only to consumers in general, but also to HSBC, each in a new, thought-provoking way.

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Long Copy: Alive or Dead?

STOP! STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING! STOP WHAT YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW! STOP RIGHT THIS SECOND AND LOOK AT THIS AD!

This is something like the impression that advertising creatives hope to convey when they create an ad. Jolting, impressionable, and direct, something that triggers a consumer’s mind to take that extra second and switch gears to actually consider what they’re seeing. Many ads focus on the visual impact of an ad. Fearing the lack of reading interest, the copy is kept short, often only a headline or two and a quippy tagline. But since this has become the popular and almost mainstream style of advertising, does an ad really have the power to differentiate itself from everything else around it?

What about long copy? Is it worth the time to write it? It most definitely is. Whether every word is read or just the tagline, long copy can be used to make an advertisement stand out. Pete Barry’s quotation of Luke Sullivan from his book The Advertising Concept reinforces this idea: “Even if a customer doesn’t read every word, it looks like the company has a lot to say.” Long copy allows advertiser’s to tell consumers more about the proposed product and if it’s engaging enough, also allows advertisers to draw consumer’s focus and attention for a longer period of time, a successful result when most average consumers see nearly 5,000 ads a day.

Effective long copy ads express an idea or thought that is shared by the reader and is important to the reader’s individual self. People do like to read and enjoy editorial copy for that reason, so structuring advertising in a similar way helps make the message more readable and real. The Jack Daniels London Underground Tube advertisements are freuqently long copy ads, interesting and structured like a newspaper article with headlines and body paragraphs. Acknowledging commuters unavoidable time spent waiting for the next train, the advertisment effectively combines visuals with catchy copy. During my time abroad in London and the many hours spent in the Underground, I learned more about Jack Daniels than I ever thought I would and can attest to its impressionable nature. Is long copy alive or dead? Oh, it’s alive all right. Alive and kickin’.

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