Meaningful Media


Today in class we learned about media planning. We learned that media planners have to balance getting the message out into the public sphere with the amount of money in their budgets. Media planners aim to be as efficient as possible. They choose ads that can have a big effect without spending as much money. A media planner may choose to air a longer ad less frequently or a quick ad often in order to maximize the impact of the message. As we can see, most media planners opt for short and frequent ads, just think about the commercials you see or hear on a day to day basis. This strategy although still effective, is not necessary because viewers/consumers have youtube and other sharing sites to look up and share ads that speak to them. Companies should choose to allocate more of their media budgets towards producing quality advertisements because individuals are more likely to pay attention and internalize the message. If the ad is particularly entertaining, funny, meaningful, etc. viewers are more likely to share them with their friends. Furthermore, consumers have a greater trust in the opinion of their friends; by sharing the ad the friend is sending a message that they endorse this company.  This means that the company does not have to spend as much money trying to get the ad on the air. Consider the following advertisement as an example.

How Data Affects Advertising

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to go with my mom to Brazil. She was invited to speak at an international conference on the grocery business. While we were there she also toured some of the top grocery chains in the country. The company she works for, Kroger, is a top grocery chain in the US and one of the world’s largest retailers.   Lynn Marmer, my mother, is Vice President of Corporate Affairs for The Kroger Company. She was the first female officer for the company.   But enough bragging about my mom, the point is, my mom spoke about a data analytics company called dunnhumby and how this company transformed how Kroger relates to its customers. .

About ten years ago Kroger was not doing too well. They were having a hard time lowering prices while still satisfying their shareholders. How was Kroger going to stay in business? Well, the CEO of the company, Dave Dillon, hired dunnhumby to gather data about its shoppers—what were they buying every week.  Dunnhumby analyzed Kroger’s extensive data on their customer’s shopping behavior.

After collecting data, the researchers and statisticians were able to see patterns in the shopping behavior of Kroger customers.  People in charge of marketing, came up with new ways for the company to market to consumers.  Most effective, the company began sending to customers personalized offers and coupons.  Everyone likes to save money when they shop in the grocery store.  But who needs a coupon for cat food if you have a dog?  With dunnhumby’s analytics and Kroger’s extensive customer data, personalized coupons were created.   Each of Kroger’s millions of households began to receive coupons for the item they buy—specifically targeted to them.

The rest is history.  Kroger is very successful today with strong sales, profits and growing customer loyalty.  And my Mom gets to spend some of those profits on supporting organizations in the communities where Kroger operations—local non-profit organizations that matter to Kroger customers.

So what’s next for Kroger?  How does it continue to grow its sales and loyalty?   One way is to use new media—especially digital.   After a few years Kroger customers downloaded their 1 millionth digital coupon.   Shopping lists on your phone?  Yep.    Kroger keeps inventing new ways to connect with customers.  Dunnhumby continues to be engaged in helping Kroger understand their customers and connect with them.


Birthdays and Marketing

Today is my birthday. I turn 21 today. And while it doesn’t seem like a different day to you, to me, everything is different. Today even started differently with a happy birthday call from my parents. I opened cards that my friends sent me while staring at the fresh flowers that arrived at my dorm yesterday evening. (If you pause to think about it, birthdays are big business, a hallmark card is about $4! The flowers I got are likely another $40, not including the shipping.) I groaned thinking about having to walk across the street in the pouring down rain to class. Another reminder that today is no different from any other day. I am defiantly not the only to have ‘suffered’ from something like crappy weather on their birthday. Checking my phone I saw that I had two new emails, one from Starbucks and one from Sprinkles. I decided to head to Starbucks after my first class and enjoy a pumpkin spice latte on the house. The baristas wished me happy birthday. I felt special, I bought a pumpkin muffin to go with my free latte.  

If you look online, there are entire websites curated for the specific purpose of birthday freebies. Are these freebies effective? Even if you were not a huge fan of Starbucks would you go and get a drink? Probably yes. If for some reason you were not a fan of cupcakes would you go get a free one from Sprinkles? Also, likely yes. Then the next logical step would be to take a picture and show everyone on Facebook/Twitter the free stuff you got for your birthday.  How much positive publicity does a company get for these freebies? Once I share that, I got a free pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks for my birthday others will ask how they can get freebies too. Starbucks get my friends’ valuable information, including email, common purchases and locations, data that used to cost the company millions of dollars in market research, and we get a five-dollar latte free once a year.

So while the average consumer may take these ‘freebies’ as a gift, we know better. Birthday freebies are a great way to get free positive press for a company along with contributing to a feeling of community; it also brings customers into stores where they may buy something to go along with the birthday freebie. Despite knowing the marketing schemes behind these discounts, I think we are all going to go get a free cupcake from Sprinkles when our birthdays come around.

Spotify: Not Just Audio Anymore

            That’s right— Spotify is no longer limited to audio! Starting solidly with Ford, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Target, Wells Fargo and NBC Universal Pictures as its first takers, Spotify has begun hosting video advertising campaigns on both its desktop and mobile versions. In order to accommodate the multitude of users that stream music freely, Spotify has branched out from its solely audial and static visual forms of advertisements and extended into what it is calling “Sponsored Sessions.” Click here to watch a video ad on…video ads.

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            “Sponsored Sessions” is a name for the exchange of 30 minutes of free commercial-less play for the viewing of one brand video. By testing out different time slots ranging from 15 minutes long to an hour long, Spotify was able decide on the sweet spot of 30 minutes. These sessions exist on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. However, by holding a subscription for Spotify Premium ($9.99, but $4.99 for students), one can avoid advertisements entirely.

            From the point of view of a Spotify user, this digital advertising plan seems like a win-win-win for Spotify, Spotify users, and brands. Spotify is being compensated for the block of free listening it is giving its customers. In addition, the Sponsored Sessions might inspire users to join Spotify Premium as the scale of advertisements increases on the site. Spotify users, with the start of Sponsored Sessions, will be interrupted less and experience an increase of free streaming without ads. The brands benefitted by the Sponsored Sessions will be able to access a large and growing market of all ages and backgrounds. Brands will also be able to associate themselves with a company that maintains a good reputation.

            Launched in Stockholm, Sweden in 2008, Spotify is a music streaming service, accessible from computers, mobile devices, tablets, and home entertainment systems. Spotify began with offering paid subscriptions to everyone, but restricting the number of free accounts. Immediately after, the company simultaneously suffered massive losses, and announced the establishment of many licensing deals with record labels. By September 2011, the company had two million paying subscribers in Europe, and decided it was time to launch in America. Approximately a year later, Spotify recorded that 4 million people were subscribers. Over the course of two years, Spotify created and managed its own app, which now allows Premium users to access its repertoire of music freely from their phones, and lets anyone with the app access and shuffle their pre-made playlists.

            Spotify has grown quickly in the past and will continue to grow. They offer smart solutions that appeal to every stakeholder. Do you think this is a good move for Spotify? Will it affect the number of users that switch to Premium?


What movie did that come from? Um just the oh so fetch movie mean girls! Mean Girls was the movie that changed the way high school was as we now know it! Who didn’t want to be a plastic? This year marked the 10 year anniversary of the movie and this year on Wednesdays girls across the world wear pink.   images Many people believe mean girls might have just been a teen movie about silly girl drama in high school but it actually shed light on one pressing issue – bullying. I remember always being on the opposite end of the bullying spectrum; I was a mean girl. I was not your Regina George but I was Gretchen Weiners; I was just as guilty by association. I often think about what those people we made fun of are doing now. Are they successful? Are they married with children? Did they go to college? Most of all I think was I was wrong for not being nice to people? Or was it just apart of growing up? The thought that haunts me the most is what we had the choice to bully someone vis the internet? Cyberbullying-–-vs-–-Bullying   The reason why the thought crosses my mind is because so often we see cases on cyber bullying and bullying within the schools. Kids commit suicide or cry themselves to sleep over words that someone else says about them. Studies show that bullying has taken a different turn because of the internet and social media. In mean girls it was just three way phone calls and a burn book; now you can post embarrassing pictures, screenshot text messages and harass someone via social media anonymously (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook). Many high school girls have no way to escape because it is constantly in their face; what someone else things about them, how they look or if everyone saw that picture of them doing who knows what. Cyberbullying-–-vs-–-Bullying   Many of us Gretchen Weiners never saw this an issue because we were not the ones being made fun of but bullying actually touches everyone and cyber bullying touches more kids than we know.   Here are some quick facts that many people may not have know about cyber bullying but may actually changes their views on the act of cyber bullying! 1. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once. 2. 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online. 3. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying. 4. 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem. 5. 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person. 6. 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored it. 84% have seen others tell cyber bullies to stop. 7. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse. 8. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying. 9. About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once. 10. Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. 11. About 75% of students admit they have visited a website bashing another student. The scary thing is that it is a trend that we follow unknowingly and have no choice to perpetuate. In this life you are either a bully or Regina George. Bullying extends way beyond high school; it follows you to college and adult life. There are mean girls everywhere! Have we not learned anything from mean girls?

Actually we have; On Wednesdays We Wear Pink!

Sources   11 Facts about Cyber Bullying. (2013, December 31). . Retrieved June 8, 2014, from Mean Girls. (2014, May 30). Retrieved June 8, 2014, from Donda, V. (2011, January 28). On Wednesdays We Were PInk. . Retrieved June 8, 2014, from

Privacy Policies in Social Media

ImageIt’s important for companies to concern themselves with the best privacy practices because it opens up clear communication with their audience. It’s important for businesses to be transparent, to avoid miscommunication and to build brand loyalty. Companies will accumulate revenue if their consumers trust them, and one way to build trust is to set up a clear, concise, and simple privacy policy. Companies must understand that consumers don’t like to read the fine print; they don’t want to spend too much time reading anything for that matter. So the key for a good private policy starts with knowing your audience. Let’s take Google Buzz’s privacy policy for example. Google created Google Buzz as a way to compete with Twitter and Facebook. People will automatically have suggestions of who to follow based on the people they chat and email with most. Google Buzz’s default settings made the user’s activities completely public with hidden options to opt out, so people freaked out when they realized their content was public. Their privacy setting shows the lack of transparency and lack of audience awareness. Google should have been aware of user behavior and that people just click defaults for all their settings when they are trying to check something out. People are not going to hassle themselves with reading the default settings, and it may sound silly and the fault of the consumer, but ultimately it’s the company that will suffer. This is why it’s important for companies to look beyond technicality, and pay attention to how their users will behave and what they will and will not notice.

            Twitter’s privacy policy, on the flip side, is broken down into sections; it’s organized and easy to follow. Twitter lays out what you are giving them consent to do when you choose an option. They tell you what information they can share of yours with or without consent. The language is easy to follow, and it’s not too long so consumers don’t zone out.


Boyd, D. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Carlson, N. (n.d.). Retrieved from