Tag Archives: Lauren Fisher

Holiday Promotions!

Advertising almost always plays a role in consumerism, but the holiday season is by far the most ad-tastic time of the year. Many companies leverage the holiday season to increase sales, and if you were one of the people who woke up at 4 a.m. on Black Friday, their efforts are working! Every single commercial is holiday themed, whether it’s trying to sell you coffee or cars. Retail stores explode with Christmas decorations and music to get you in the shopping spirit. (And it usually works!) As a consumer of every day media, I’ve been targeted countless times by print, web and ambient advertising around this time of year. But now, I’ve also experienced the other side of this craziness, and it’s made me think a lot about how much work companies put into holiday campaigns and promotions.

 

This year, I’m interning for a non-profit that essentially relies on the holiday season to get through the rest of the year. Therefore, they’ve kept me busy designing holiday displays, promoting Christmas sale events, and googling “holiday advertising ideas” for inspiration. Amongst all the other crap out there, how do you get your specific product or service to stand out? It’s a tough call. Our team has attended tons of events all over the Midwest, participated in Black Friday sales, and completely altered its social media strategy to better suit this time of the year. It’s impressive how well thought out the process is, and this is just a small non-profit. I can’t even imagine how much extra work large, national corporations and non-profits put into the holidays!

 

Going along with this holiday brainstorm here, I’ve noticed some pretty awesome gifts this year that aren’t necessarily traditional – and truly speak to the social media/viral phenomenon that our industry is experiencing. Obviously you can buy iTunes gift cards at most stores, but now you can purchase Facebook credit gift cards, too. This is the first year I’ve noticed that. And if you haven’t checked out the mobile app SWAGG, take a look at how it’s revolutionizing gift card giving for special occasions. SWAGG lets you send and receive gift cards, ditching the plastic for digital barcodes that stores can scan at the checkout counter. (You can use it for online purchases!) Just tap your screen to unwrap the gift, and you can even attach a video message for the receiver to view when they open it. Pretty cool stuff. And then, of course, there’s Groupon. My mom used a Groupon offer last week to save money at one of my sister’s favorite retail stores when she went Chrsitmas shopping. I can’t wait to see what else our industry’s masterminds will come up with, especially in regards to the holiday season. What else have you seen this month that’s caught your attention and encouraged you to shop?

 

– Lauren Fisher

 

 

 

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Social media’s influence on GAP

I went home for Butler’s fall break this week and was catching up with my mom at dinner one night. At some point in the conversation, I asked her what she thought of the new Gap logo and that whole controversy – to which she replied, “huh?” Shocked that she hadn’t heard, I filled her in. At the end of my spiel about rebranding, crowd sourcing and regret, she was stumped. “So…what’s the big deal?” she asked. Oh, boy….

 

I won’t bore you with the story of what happened with Gap. (If you don’t know about it, read here.) And I definitely can’t offer insight or opinion on the topic better than the next person who’s blogged or commented on the situation thus far. However, the conversation with my mom made me think about something entirely different. For those who aren’t connected on Twitter, read blogs, and constantly interact with people/resources in the advertising industry – are rebranding efforts THAT big of a deal? Does an altered logo change consumer behavior for all other audiences who couldn’t care less if a color or font is suddenly different? It also made me wonder to what extent a logo can change before “mass” audiences notice. For example, MasterCard changed their logo about four years ago (did you notice?), and State Farm Insurance recently updated theirs as well. I’m curious to see how many people outside the industry notice these things, and what it takes for them to talk about it.

 

It’s hard to put myself in my mom’s shoes, because I’m all over the design and advertising industry, and make it a way of life. But I’m interested to see if the off-Twitter community and older generations even care about efforts like these. To me, the whole Gap situation was a terrible mistake and I can see why the company went back to the old logo. It totally changed my perception of the company, even though I don’t shop there and don’t know much about it. But is that a universal reaction? I doubt it. Hmm…

-Lauren Fisher

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Butler’s Participation in the National Student Advertising Competition

Last week, Butler University’s advertising club, ADrenaline, boarded a plane to Orlando to compete against the nation’s 18 best ad clubs. Although we faced some tough competition, it was by far the most valuable learning experience I’ve encountered.

About a year ago, 250 universities nationwide were tasked with the responsibility of developing a $40 million integrated marketing campaign for State Farm that could successfully reach a whole new audience: 18-25 year olds. How do you get this market to purchase insurance? How can State Farm compete with gimmicky icons like talking geckos and Flo? Developing a campaign designed to do this wasn’t easy. ADrenaline conducted hours and hours of research, copy testing and tweaked countless rounds of designs, themes and logos. Our presentation team began practicing every day, and the rest of us worked on the mandated 32-page plans book that comprised half our total score.

We first competed at the regional level against schools from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. We took first place and were thrilled to qualify for the national competition.

After three days of practicing, perfecting, and mingling with our competition in Orlando, we felt prepared to face the judges. Our five presenters gave a 20 minute presentation that unveiled our big idea – “Ready or Not, Here Life Comes,” a campaign emphasizing nostalgia and that moment where teenagers finally uncover their eyes to enter the real world of adult responsibilities. As usual, the presentation was flawless and impressive.

Although Butler didn’t place in the top 4, the experience alone was worth every second. Through conversations with other teams, listening to keynote speakers and watching the competition’s presentations, everyone should feel at ease that our industry is headed in the right direction. I was so impressed by everyone’s work – you wouldn’t believe how creative and innovative this generation has become; it’s seriously exciting.

On top of that, I felt truly lucky to be part of a Journalism program with professors and advisors that believe in competitions like these and put everything into their students’ success. These types of experiences make Butler students well equipped for the real world and give you an overwhelming amount of confidence that other graduates won’t have.

So, to end this post, here are a couple of things I learned through my experience working on a huge campaign for a client that’s kind of a big deal:

  1. Don’t underestimate research and copy testing. Nobody wants to invest millions of dollars into a campaign that hasn’t been researched extensively and creatively.
  2. The pitch is just as important as the printed work. If you can’t sell your idea well, nobody will buy it.
  3. You don’t need to “play it safe.” Just know how to convince your client why your “risky” idea will stand out among the masses. And have research to back it up.
  4. Don’t try to do too much. Focus on a couple GREAT ideas, not countless, mediocre ones.
  5. Don’t let the other guys get in your head. Whether or not you truly believe in your ideas and campaign will be easily evident to the client.

-Lauren Fisher

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Profession Defense with Truth

As I looked down at these final two questions of my marketing exam, I became (surprisingly) somewhat defensive.

1. How can PR professionals defend their careers when many people think of them as ‘spin doctors’ who cover up their company’s mistakes and warp public perception?

2. Some people say the advertising industry is unethical, and in some cases unhealthy, for the majority of society. Why do you think people feel this way, and what is the true role of advertising?

As a PR/Advertising major, I’m obviously not naïve to these kinds of stereotypes and misconceptions in my industry – but never had a situation presented itself where I was forced to defend my position or worth to another individual. I have to admit, I was stumped for a second. I, of course, inherently understood the value of PR and advertising. But how do you convey that passion and appreciation on the spot? After a few moments, I realized I could ”spin” the situation (since that’s what we do, right?) into a positive one, and came up with some pretty convincing arguments.

It is not a PR practitioner’s job to lie. It’s to be honest, consistent and accurate.

Public relations efforts strive to accomplish just what the word implies– the development of relationships with various, targeted publics. If implemented correctly, PR is an effective, cost-efficient tool that complements and emphasizes key messages communicated by other forms of media. PR plays a vital role in a company’s brand, identity and personality. And as we’ve all been taught, but easily forget: you’re only as good as your brand. Perception is everything in our competitive marketplace, cluttered and fragmented more each and every year. Think of where half the world’s companies would be today if it weren’t for the roles played by crisis communicators, event planners, media relations specialists and spokesmen/women. Would it be difficult to distinguish what makes a company or brand truly unique, reliable or important?

So, in a nutshell: PR is reputation management, not manipulation. It’s communicating, not cheating.

Moving on to advertising’s role in society…

Although both industries intrigue me, I’m much more passionate about the world of advertising. Advertising allows me develop a relationship with a brand that extends far beyond the tangible product. It’s an industry that capitalizes on human emotion and a generation’s desire for creativity and out-of-the box experiences. To put it simply, advertising helps me decide. It would be nearly impossible for me to fall in love with a product or service without the personalities they promote via ads. I understand how humor, fear and sex appeals can be offensive – these three things are definitely not universal. However, it is within these controversial boundaries that some of the most original, thought-provoking concepts arise. What may seem “risky” today will be discussed in twenty years as an industry (and societal) revolution. Advertising trends change as society and culture shift, and that’s why it’s so impactful. With so many different functions – inform, educate, entertain, promote – advertisers are undoubtedly some of the most powerful, influential people in the job force.

Although somewhat shocking at first, I’m glad my professor forced me to think about why I’m doing what I do. Who knows, maybe a potential employer will ask me these types of questions one day? Guess I’ll be prepared!

So, how would you have answered my exam questions?

– Lauren Fisher

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