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?


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

–       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

Honey Maid endorses homosexuality

By Matt Gillis

The success of a company’s advertising campaign depends on its ability to stand out against the clutter of its competitors. Traditionally, companies use attention-grabbing themes like sex and beauty to garner added publicity. More recently, advertisers have begun incorporating contemporary, controversial topics like sexuality to create media buzz for their clients.

Honey Maid, producer of snack products including graham crackers and Teddy Grahams, released their “This is Wholesome” advertising campaign on March 10 via YouTube. The commercial features several different types of families, including a single dad, an interracial family, a blended family and two gay men as parents.

The advertisement, which recognizes that the reality of family has changed, but the wholesome connections that families share still remains, received over four million views within four days of being uploaded. With 4.5 million views today, Honey Maid says the commercial has received ten times more positive comments than negative ones despite its controversial nature.

However, several large organizations have spoken out about the advertisement, specifically about its message of describing homosexuality families as “wholesome.” One such organization, One Million Moms, a group promoting “biblical truths” and family values, described the commercial as attempting to “normalize sin” and characterized the two gay parents as “sexually perverse.” The group stated that if Honey Maid continues to define these families as “wholesome,” they would boycott the company’s products.

Honey Maid used the negativity surrounding the initial advertisement as an extension of their overall campaign. The company released a response video showing that the number of supporters of Honey Maid’s campaign greatly outweighed those who were against it. The video reads, “But the best part was all the positive messages we received—over ten times as many—proving that only one thing really matters when it comes to family: love.”

I believe this campaign was successful not only because it managed to gain widespread attention due to the use of a controversial topic like homosexuality (which was, no doubt, a strategic decision made by Honey Maid), but also because the company was able to turn the negative publicity into something positive with their “Honey Maid: Love” response video. The company successfully characterized itself as a progressive brand with every family in mind.

Because Honey Maid already had an established brand following before the release of this campaign, the company was able to approach the topic of homosexuality without much backlash. Honey Maid is the top company in its brand category of graham crackers. The company’s loyal customers will probably remain loyal. However, if Honey Maid was not a top competitor in the marketplace, their campaign approach may have cost them their success and longevity.

Reference list:

–       Lee, J. (2014, April 4). Honey Maid responds to antigay backlash with ‘Love’ video. USA Today. Retrieved April 4, 2014, from

–       Nichols, J. (2014, April 3). Honey Maid releases ‘Love’ in response to anti-gay commercial backlash. The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 4, 2014, from

Super Bowlvertising!

It’s really interesting how hyped up everyone gets for the Super Bowl every year! Sure, the game is exciting, but unless your team is in and you’re a huge fan then you’re probably talking about the advertisements! Yes, advertisements.

Millions are spent each year on advertisements for the Super Bowl. According to an article from the New York Post posted on Dec 3, 2013, the ad spots have already been sold out. It has become increasingly popular for advertisements to be a part of the Super Bowl as much as the game of football is. On average, $4 million to $4.5 million dollars is spent on a single ad that runs only 30 seconds (Elliot, 2013).

As learned in my Principles of Advertising class (as well as any marketing class), there is a marketing mix consisting of 4 P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Any product that’s a big deal is usually played during the Super bowl, but more specifically, the half time. Television is a huge medium to promote something to a large audience at one time, so it’s a no brainer to use the Super bowl as your advertising medium.

The price paid for an advertisement seems to be worth it considering how much publicity there is surrounding it. Not only are you talking about it around the water cooler with your work buddies, but there are awards given out too. Websites go crazy with ranking the commercials in various categories.

The products being showcased at this year’s bowl will feature the auto industry, Anheuser-Busch, Butterfinger, Dannon yogurt, Doritos, GoDaddy, Intuit, SodaStream, and Wonderful Pistachios (Elliot, 2013). Many of these are Super Bowl veterans, but there are some new ones.  You can also expect some movie trailers. I know Marvel has one or two lined up and I’m eagerly anticipating seeing more footage for the new Captain America movie coming out.

There doesn’t need to be much promotion for these ads since they pretty much sell themselves. That’s probably the best part about the Super Bowl ads. There’s no gimmick, just incredible storytelling, humor, drama, or even some tear jerking.

At the time the article was written, the Super bowl wasn’t even happening for another 2 months yet! This just goes to show how important placement is since it seems everyone wants to promote themselves during America’s most watched sports spectacle. In addition to reaching such a wide audience, the ads are usually memorable and integrated with social media for instant feedback. It looks as if it’s a win-win for advertisers! Heck, I’m excited to see what’s coming out this year because I always enjoy the funny ads.

Here’s last year’s compilation to enjoy and get you in the mood for 2014!


Elliot, S. (2013, December 04). Super bowl advertising is already sold out, fox executives say. Retrieved on January 23, 2014 from

Digital Culture?

Is new media shaping our culture? What is fair game and what isn’t? Those are definitely questions we should all be asking ourselves in the digital age we are living in. This has been discussed in the media semi-recently when a comedian live tweeted a breakup of a couple from his apartment rooftop.


In an article, Tweeting Private Conversations #DirtyLaundry, by Paulina Haselhorst, she said, “But despite Ayer’s conviction that his tweets were innocent, there’s something that just doesn’t feel right about publishing personal conversations, especially ones that are not our own” (2014). Haselhorst has a nice moral opinion stated there, but honestly, can we really hold ourselves to this? Public is public. These people could have easily held this conversation in their apartment, but chose to go to the roof and then, upon getting up there, proceeded to carry on this conversation despite another person being up there.


Is it wrong to tweet this? The couple had every opportunity to not have this in public despite Haselhorst’s statement that “some compassion is in order…” (2014). I believe that when someone knowingly throws common sense and/or tact out the window then they are fair game for someone else who chooses not to show compassion. Is it really fair to tweet, blog, or YouTube someone who got pulled over because of a DUI? A case could be made that they, too, deserve compassion because it was a screw up and it’s not our drama, but it’s still getting reported through these mediums anyway. This is the culture we live in today and just going out your door every morning you see people constantly with ear buds in or reading their phones, tablets, laptops, etc. It’s to be expected that new media is everywhere!


Haselhorst also went on to say that users of Twitter can still have laughs, but should ultimately be choosy or selective about what they post to get the laughs. I don’t understand how this author can take this moral attitude without scolding all the comedians, journalists, script writers, song writers, or even everyday people who go about making a living by telling other people stories based off of something public that has happened or they experienced. Twitter isn’t the only place that this sort of exposure happens and something as little as this isn’t nearly as embarrassing as other stories that get told to thousands of people each day. All someone needs to do is to log onto YouTube and people are constantly posting videos of things people are doing. These videos can be moronic, dangerous, or heartwarming. The bottom line is that media is a major part of our culture and we are being shaped by it through its control over the population.


I don’t feel that we, as in the general public, should go about tweeting or sharing everything we see, but I also don’t believe we should censor everything either. While we might be disgusted at the sharing of public information, it also may serve as historical data for future generations as well. All of this is certainly up for ethical debate, but one thing remains constant and that is that new media is around us. We’re told all the time to be careful what we post, but we also know that people are watching us whether we want it or not. With access to all sorts of media at the click of a button, it’s only a matter of time before we begin to shape our culture as either socially awkward or everyone becoming “e-famous”.


Haselhorst, P. (2014, January 08). Tweeting private conversations

Images courtesy of: 10 Of The Best Twitter Cartoons

Poking at Apple

Microsoft’s Windows Phone crew posted a long advertisement on YouTube that takes a punch at Apple and the two new types of iPhones that the company released last week. The video is called “a fly on the wall in Cuptertino.” If you watch the interesting video above, it shows two fake Apple employees (that are rumored to depict look-a-likes of the real Apple CEO and vice President, Tim Cook and Jony Ive).
This commercial is different from the commercials that Windows usually makes when poking fun at iOS and Android cell phones. In the video, the person who the two employees are pitching their ideas to looks just like Steve Jobs. In the video, it shows the two workers calling the iPhone 5c phones fancy colored names (saying “vermillion,” when it is just pink and “chartreuse” for green). The commercial makes fun of the fact that it took Apple 6 months to create the idea of coming out multi-colored phones.
The commercial then moves on to attack Apple yet again after saying that they created the newer phones out of plastic to save money. The man jokes and says that the company will not tell the customers that they are actually made out of plastic.
Another memorable joke that they use against Apple is regarding the fact that the new iPhone 5s can not come in gold. The man says, “everyone likes gold, pirates, leprechauns and this guy (a random hairy-chested man, which I did not understand why it was meant to be funny).
The video closes with a black backdrop and the hashtag “#timetoswitch” (implying the idea that consumers need to switch from IPhone to the Windows products).
Right after I saw this advertisement, I rolled my eyes at how desperate and embarrassing Microsoft look in this ad. A day after the video was released on YouTube, Microsoft released the statement and said that they intended for the video to be a “light-hearted poke at our friends from Cupertino. But it was off the mark, and we’ve decided to pull it down.”
In my opinion, I think the real reason they removed the video is because they realized from all of the negative comments and feedback from viewers that the video was very poor in creating a funny or good attack at Apple. We all know that these two are really competitive companies, so I expected a lot more from Microsoft.
Although the company took it down, the parody commercial still lives on. I was reading the YouTube comments and one comment that got many likes on the site simply said, “lamest ad ever!” I agree that this was a bad move on Microsoft because they look really stupid at trying to come up with an attack on iPhone and then failed miserably at creating it. If anything, it just makes Apple look better!

Apple Lives On *UPDATED

On September 10, 2013 Apple will host its highly anticipated annual release event in Cupertino, California. Here they will introduce new products into the market. This years speculations are that two new iPhones will be introduced. The first being the iPhone 5C which according to leaked images and rumors will be offered in a variety of colors as well as be built with plastic materials which will lower the price. The second iPhone, which is expected to be called the iPhone 5S, will feature a faster processor, better camera, and fingerprint sensor for the home button. The iPhone 5S is also rumored to be available in a gold color. Third rumor for the apple event is the release of a possible new Apple TV. The much-anticipated iOS7 is also expected to finally make its appearance to the public.  

With all this new technology expected to be released, Apple has done its usual secretive yet suggestive advertising, which spawns the many rumors behind the event. Apple events are always some of the most highly anticipated and covered technological events. This means Apple receives a lot of advertising whether it is intentional or not. For example, many technology websites have been continually writing about the possible releases which in turn sends users to the Apple website to research more. Thus, the coverage Apple receives whether it is negative or positive generates a steady stream of talk and advertisement for the company.


One of the more creative ways Apple has advertised their event on September 10th is by releasing an image of the Apple logo in front of what appears to be bubbles in all sorts of colors, with the caption reading “This should brighten everyone’s day.” Simple yet elegant advertisements like these rile up Apple fanatics because it implies that something is to be released that will surely satisfy those waiting.  Yet, because the advertisement does not have any specifics as to what exactly will brighten up consumer’s days, Apple consumers become more eager to purchase or at least watch the event. 

In the past, Apple ads have always included simple, sentimental teasers that give the illusion that the product is a one of a kind that cannot be competed with. Even though Apple ads tend to be simple, they are all meant to sell the consumer a product.  Colors, music, captions, and logos all play a part in attracting the consumer into paying closer attention to the ad and falling in “love” with the product. For example, a recent T.V. ad for apple shows a variety of different people of all ages and ethnicities, doing everyday things all while a simple tune is played in the background and ending with the narrator of the commercial stating that the “signature” of Apple is everything. Ads like these tend to hit an emotional side for the consumer; the commercials goal is to relate to the consumer in every way. In this commercial, it almost feels as though everyone with an Apple product is a family, everyone is connected in some sort of way. With Ads like these, Apple has created a loyal fan base that remains true to their preferred company.





Stern, J. (03, September 13). iphone 5s and 5c? apple event scheduled for sept. 10. Retrieved from


Guglielmo, C. (03, September 13). Apple to host special event sept. 10 with invite hinting at colorful new iphones. Retrieved from



How Nike Fuels their Advertising Campaigns

Nike, one of the leading athletic companies in the world, uses a variety of advertising campaigns to target their markets. One of which, the Nike + FuelBand campaign, is an effective and dynamic way that Nike has utilized digital advertising. Nike FuelBand is a ‘band’ or bracelet that counts your daily activities, such as calories burned, your general movement, and your daily fuel score ( According to the Nike FuelBand Twitter, “Not only is the FuelBand a fun way to keep you active, but you can compete, collaborate, and compare your activity with each other.”

Nike kicked off this campaign through the use of the commercial Intensity #COUNTS. This ad aired on television and can also be viewed on YouTube. This ad shows how both athletes and athletic individuals can benefit from the Nike FuelBand. In the commercial, Nike utilizes storytelling. The persuasive message that everyone should purchase a Nike FuelBand is emphasized through the use of digital advertising and the incorporation of social media. 

Social media has become a powerful presence in the world of consumers. Nike targets this market by including a hashtag, #COUNTS in the advertisement. Nike also reinforces the FuelBand campaign by increasing brand exposure through Twitter, Facebook, and Vine. A specific Twitter account was created for Nike Fuel band and the hashtag #NikeFuel generates thousands of Tweets and Vine videos. This not only increases brand exposure but expands on the ‘place’ of the advertisement by reaching a broader audience. The integration of social media is a tactful idea from Nike as it is cost effective and allows the FuelBand to have increased brand presence. 

FuelBand’s digital media campaign is very integrated as it utilizes a number of platforms to advertise; furthermore, the FuelBand itself can be synced with an application available for iPads, iPhones, and iPods ( Through this app, consumers can share their fuel scores with friends via social media websites. This gives the brand Nike further exposure and generates a source of word of mouth advertisement. This positively influences Nike’s brand identity and reinforces the positivity of the FuelBand. 

With less and less people watching Television, it is crucial for companies such as Nike to reach their audiences through a variety of platforms. In my opinion, Nike’s Intensity #COUNTS campaign is successful. This digital advertising campaign is highly effective as it uses multiple channels of communication to reinforce the FuelBand. Nike capitalizes on social media by integrating the advertisements, while also allowing FuelBand users to share their fuel scores through the exact platforms. The commercial itself evokes excitement in the audience while encouraging consumers to be motivated, be active, and purchase a FuelBand. FuelBands are for sale in local Nike stores as well as online and retail for $149 ( 






“Intensity #COUNTS.” YouTube. Nike Basketball, n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2013. 



 “Nike Fuel.” Life is a Sport. Make it count. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2013


“NIKE, Inc.” NIKE, Inc.— Inspiration and Innovation for Every Athlete in the World.. 

N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2013. <>.

“Nikefuel videos from Vine – Seenive.” Vine Web Viewer – Seenive. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2013.