The Worst People Vote

Getting young people to vote is one of the toughest challengers facing lawmakers and politicians as they scramble to adjust to a rapidly changing environment. Young people, milennials, whatever you call them, don’t think the government is doing anything good (1).  A ton of them, myself included, don’t really plan to vote (2), because they think it doesn’t matter, and the cycle will continue regardless. They might be right. That’s not the point. How can you get the next generation of Americans to ingrain into their minds the fact that political action can do anything?

You go negative. You go very, very, terrifyingly negative.

The group “Rock the Vote” has been around for quite a long time, but they have generally been seen as another political action organization that just spends money and has impassioned pleas. Recently, in partnership with New York Agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, they have a fresh new campaign.

Their new ads, aimed at pissing people off enough to vote, are part of a strategy called “#CareLikeCrazy.” The ads range from a man talking about voting because, as an arms dealer, he loves war:

to one of the worst types of people talking about upholding the status quo:

to one of the greasiest, most misogynistic ads I’ve ever seen:

Absolutely infuriating to watch. The reason these work so well is because we think people like this do exist. The “average, uninformed American” is a terrifying, but truthful stereotype that we run into everyday. Knowing that these people exist, and taking steps to combat the spread of ignorance and bias is the first step towards creating a better political system. Plus, these ads are funny, in a sad sort of way.

These ads also play into the large debate and discussion among milennials: the people that have come before us have irrevocably screwed things up. From the economy to the environment, we are now having to deal with and fix things that we had no hand in breaking. This sums it up:

Will these ads and PSAs get younger people out to vote?

The next election results will show.

 

References:

1. Trust in Government Nears Record Low, But Most Federal Agencies Are Viewed Favorably. (2013). Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://www.people-press.org/2013/10/18/trust-in-government-nears-record-low-but-most-federal-agencies-are-viewed-favorably/

2. Low Midterm Turnout Likely, Conservatives More Enthusiastic, Harvard Youth Poll Finds. (n.d.). Harvard University Politics. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://www.iop.harvard.edu/Spring-2014-HarvardIOP-Survey?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=hero&utm_campaign=2014Surv

Video 1: Rockthevote. 2013, October 2. #CareLikeCrazyAboutWar. Retrieved on 2013, October 8 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiJ5_L0dj6E.

Video 2: Rockthevote. 2013, October 2. #CareLikeCrazyAboutVotingRights. Retrieved on 2013, October 8 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VlQwQhZaoA.

Video 3: Rockthevote. 2013, October 2. #CareLikeCrazy”That’sJustSexist.” Retrieved on 2013, October 8 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM5KGrTHs24.

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Product Placement in Music Videos

Has anyone ever noticed how some music videos seem more like commercials? For example, in Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” music video, he spends half the time in a Mini Cooper and the other half riding a Vespa. The video features Bruno Mars who rides in the Mini Cooper with Travie while they sing and smile driving down a sunny California highway with the top down. Later Travie gives this vehicle to a delighted stranger who is seen throughout the video wearing a Dakine backpack while searching for a ride. Another example is Ke$ha’s music video for “We R Who We R”. The music video includes various shots of Ke$ha and her glamourous friends drinking from a distinct blue bottle of Revolucion tequila. The video also features a shot of Ke$ha’s pink and black Baby-G watch (I do not know about you but I do not think I have worn a Baby-G watch since about the third grade). The most obvious promotion in the music video was for a dating website called PlentyofFish.com, the video shows Ke$ha scrolling though profiles of potentials in multiple shots which the web address prominently displayed at the top.

Another way that artists promote products is to include them in the very lyrics of the song. Many rap artists include Patron tequila in their songs. Is this because Patron is an easy word to rhyme or are the rappers actually endorsing the product? Some artists actually have the name of the product in the chorus! For example, Patron is featured in the chorus of “My Drink n’ My 2 Step” by American hip hop artist Cassidy. Hip hop singer and rapper Lil Mama clearly promotes MAC and L’Oreal cosmetics in her song (and music video) “Lip Gloss”.

Personally, I think some of these product placements are tasteless and tacky. It is very obvious to me that the artist is trying to sell something to the viewers and I find it to be annoying. I understand that the artists needs to raise money to create these music videos and it would be okay if artists could be more subtle with the promotion. I would even compromise and say that Katy Perry’s endorsement of the Nokia phone in her music video for the song “Roar” was tolerable. Product placement just tends to get out of hand and ruin the potential for the musician to create an interesting artistic music video. An example of product endorsement going too far is Lady GaGa’s nine-minute music video for her song “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé. In the comments below try to name all the products featured in the music video.

Instagram: Marketing Strategy for Businesses

In 2010, a new exciting social media medium became available to all apple iPhone, iPod and  iTouch products. Instagram quickly gained momentum and popularity. As an exclusive, picture sharing app, no one ever imagined it would reach the potential it has today. Today, Instagram is available on all smartphones, tablets, macs and PC’s. Instagram has more than 150 million monthly active users worldwide.  Instagram is not only one of the top social media tools around but it is also becoming one of the biggest marketing tools for businesses. 

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Through Instagram, many companies are now able to connect directly and effectively with their consumers. The reason for this is that they are now able to communicate with their audience directly by sharing photos, likes, and comments. Through this segway, consumers feel that they have a personal connection with their favorite brands. Therefore brand awareness and  sales increase. The way  companies can establish and spread awareness to their brand is by using this new innovative tool properly to their advantage. 

Brands can use their Instagram feed with content their personal content in two ways: by creating original brand content and curating customer content. They can make their images and videos unique to them and capture the attention of more consumers. When brands and companies are being original about what they post, they have the opportunity to be authentic, and “in the moment”, which works best at connecting with consumers than traditional ads. 

Brands can really take advantage of Instagram by maximizing the success of non-traditional media advertising and marketing. In doing so, they put customers at the center of the experience and really engage with their consumers and target audience. 

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Because of this unique way in which Instagram is beneficial to businesses, it has become more than just a social media tool. It has reached a point where all of the social media sites before it have strived to achieve such as Twitter and Facebook. Instagram growth is accelerating and so are the devices in which users can have access to the site. With technology at an all time rise, businesses can definitely take advantage of this new, innovative tool to maximize their company success and reach consumers at a more personal level. 

 

Sources:

Gladwell, M. (2013, November 4). The Year of the Instagram Strategy. The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-gladwell/the-year-of-the-instagram_1_b_4171833.html

 

Instagram as a Growing Business. (n.d.). – Instagram Blog. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://blog.instagram.com/post/63017560810

 

World’s toughest job seeks applicants

By Matt Gillis

Well, if you thought that advertisers had used every trick up their sleeves to gain the attention of consumers, think again. After learning in every single communications class that the key to reaching modern consumers is via digital platforms, it seems fitting that companies have embraced the art of viral videos. While it may seem like creating a viral video is an objective out of the hands of advertisers, using real people, shock value and human emotion seems to be a sure formula to creating a successful viral advertisement.

On April 14, American Greetings, a greeting card company, released an advertisement via YouTube that has since accumulated over 7.8 million views as of today. So, how has the company achieved viral video status you may ask?

worlds-toughest-job-hed-2014

Boston-based agency, Mullen, created a fake job listing for a position titled “director of operations” for a fictional company called Rehtom Inc. They released paid advertisements digitally for the position and received over 2.7 million impressions.

Of those who viewed the job listing advertisements, 24 people inquired about interviewing for the position. They were interviewed via webcam and their real-time reactions were recorded on video and featured in the YouTube advertisement. The video shows the interviewer revealing the position’s job requirements including standing up almost all the time; constantly exerting yourself; working from 135 to unlimited hours per week; degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts necessary; no vacations; the work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays; no time to sleep; and a salary of zero dollars.

After watching the advertisement, viewers understand that the position of “director of operations” is for the position of a mother, whose responsibilities match those listed by the interviewer. At first, the job requirements sound outrageous, but once it is revealed that the advertisement is in promotion of mothers and purchasing cards for Mother’s Day, it becomes an eye-opening message.

This advertisement covers all the bases of a viral video including the use of real people, the revelation of a surprising message and the inclusion of real and relatable human emotions. It’s actually nothing short of genius. I mean, who would have thought that a bunch of fake job interviews could be used to effectively promote a greeting cards company?

So, I guess the moral of the story is that creativity is a skill worth investing in. Not only did American Greetings take a creative chance on this advertisement, but they also blended it flawlessly with their wholesome, caring and loving brand identity.

Reference list:

–       Cardstore Blog. (n.d.). #WorldsToughestJob. Cardstore Blog. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.cardstore.com/blog/worlds-toughest-job/

–       Nudd, T. (2014, April 14). 24 People Who Applied for the World’s Toughest Job Were In for Quite a Surprise. AdWeek. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/24-people-who-applied-worlds-toughest-job-were-quite-surprise-157028

News Is Going Native

Last week there was a story online about an Apple delivery truck died in the middle of the street in Chicago and was blocking traffic. The street was one way and was causing huge backup which was delaying some other important city traffic, but an amazing neighbor who is now a local hero is being praised for their quick response because tow trucks could not get to the truck to help. The neighbor heard the shouts and immediately came out with a can of BP gasoline. He poured it in the gas tank and the car began moving which helped traffic resume and all deliveries was made for the day. Remember that article? Yeah, me neither, but it could be the start of a growing trend.

 

The Guardian, an online newspaper, announced last month that it was making a “branded content and innovation agency” which is partnered with Unilever (Kutsch, 2014). The Guardian is engaging in what is known as native advertising. Native advertising is a blurring of the lines of journalism and advertising. It’s essentially the print version of an infomercial.

 

What’s really blurring the lines here is that unlike traditional advertising, which uses outside companies to write and pay for ads, the ads are written by in house reporters who produce content for outside companies (Kutsch, 2014). This is a cause for concern because the lines between what an editorial are and what an advertisement are may be delineated only through the notifications that what you’re reading is an advertisement and those notifications are typically small or not as highlighted. For a profession which is supposed to be objective, they are now employees of the advertising business.

 

The reason for moving to native advertising is because news media sources are struggling to replace a decline in print with digital sales and while digital sales have risen, only about 12% of Americans and 9% of Brits say they’ve paid for digital news (Kutsch, 2014). Many companies and advertisers see native advertising as a more effective way to generate attention from online customers than through traditional banner advertisements (Kutsch, 2014). As long as the ads are clearly marked as ads, I can see these being effective and more fun to read, but if not then I could foresee lawsuits against many of these journalists or advertisers for purposely deceiving the general public.

 

The FTC, which usually regulates this type of stuff, is currently working on a policy for native advertising (Kutsch, 2014). However, until this is established, advertisers currently have free reign for this sort of business. This can be a boon for the consumer who will see typically objective professionals writing for advertisers who may not know their profession as well.

 

Here’s just one example of a type of native advertising:

 

(Image courtesy of adpulp.com)

How do you feel about this? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

References:

 

Kutsch, T. (2014, March 08). The blurred lines of native advertising. AlJazeera America. Retrieved from http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/3/8/the-blurred-linesofanativeaadvertising.html

Gillette Gets Creative to Get Men to Shave

Let’s face it: beards are in. What once only men like hipsters, lumberjacks, and wise men donned, is now a mainstream trend. Beards can be seen everywhere, personally, when I notice more and more bearded men around me I just attributed it to college lifestyle. But apparently, this is a nationwide trend to the point that sales of razors have plummeted.

According to the New York Post, several things have contributed to the beard trend and the lack of razor sales. First off, is the Movember movement (or as I know it, No Shave November), which raises awareness for prostate cancer. This month long movement caused a huge financial drop in Procter and Gamble’s fourth quarter. Similarly, movements like Decembeard further encourage men to don beards. However, the economy on the whole has contributed, causing more men to buy cheaper brands and simply stop needing to shave due to unemployment. Ads for middle-class retailers like Target and JCPenney only fueled the flame of the trend by including bearded men.

So what’s a company with a large razor division to do? Procter and Gamble, the company that owns Gillette, decided to get creative and encourage men to shave other parts of their body. They released the video posted below and continue to promote it. The video features Kate Upton, a prominent model who posed for Sports Illustrated and more, saying that she would not date a guy who did not shave down there. The video, unfortunately for Procter and Gamble, currently only has about 250,000 views, which would not be consider “viral” by any means. They also made a second, longer, video with two other models, which has fewer views.

In theory, I think that this is a great idea: if people aren’t using your product, then convince them to use it in a different way. I’ll be interested to see how Procter and Gamble continue to increase razor sales in the future. What do you think?

 

References

Covert, J. (2014, January 25). Beard craze hits procter & gamble razor sales. Retrieved

from http://nypost.com/2014/01/25/beard-craze-hits-procter-gamble-razor-sales/

Wade, L. (2014, February 20). Gillette, stymied by beards, heads south. Retrieved from

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/02/20/gillette-stymied-by-beards-heads-south/

(2013). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz6rvXLpxvo