Beyonce approves this ad.

There are many ways advertisements reach out to us.

Though we see many, many advertisements everyday in almost every aspect of our lives – driving, online, watching TV, there are only a few that really stand out to me. My all time favorite advertisement is Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. Launched in 2004, the campaign features prints, commercials, and even YouTube videos that open discussion about the definition of beauty in today’s society. The campaign has featured many different approaches to the topic throughout the years, such as sketches of the way someone sees themselves vs. the way strangers see them. The sketches show that nearly every single time strangers see the person much more beautiful than how they see themselves. 

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To read more about how Dove changed their image from just a soap brand to opening a discussion about real beauty, click here

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Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is a very smart business move because the advertisements utilize emotional messages styles that appeal to women, the target audience for Dove products. By Dove taking a stance and saying that everyone is beautiful the way they are, the feeling transfers over to the company. So, women who agree with Dove’s campaign and like it, are more likely to invest in the products.

Similarly, the car company Subaru has recently been promoting their products by featuring adventurous trips and dogs. Subaru did research and found out that nearly all Subaru drivers own dogs and enjoy outdoor activities such as camping. So, their ads cater to this target audience by incorporating these elements into their commercials and prints. 

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The common theme I noticed with these two ad campaigns is the importance of reaching out to a target audience. Both the Dove and Subaru ads were specific and really catered to particular demographics. 

On the other hand, there are ads such as the two below, featuring well known and popular celebrities. Being the face of a brand can draw in a lot of consumers, so it is a very smart move. Unlike the ads above, the ads featuring celebrities do not reach out to anyone in specific. They just say “Taylor Swift drinks our product so you should too!” Or “If it’s good enough to Beyonce, it’s definitely good enough for you!” This works though when the star has a huge fan base.

These types of ads totally work on me. I’m not gonna lie…at the end of the day, I want to drink the same thing as Beyonce. 

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Both means of advertising are successful for different reasons. Though campaigns that are specifically for one or a few audiences can sometimes isolate the product, leaving out possible buyers, it gets the most out of the product. Using famous people to be the faces of brans could also be hindering if the certain star happens to have a controversy in the media which causes his or her fan base to decrease significantly. 

Advertising To Young Consumers – Ethical or Not?

We are bombarded with countless ads on TV, online, on the radio and in print. We see so many advertisements each day it’s almost impossible to keep track of them. These ads are targeted towards many different audiences of consumers to sell certain products, like Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is clearly targeted toward women, and Old Spice is targeted toward men. The commercials aired on TV make it obvious. One of the sneakiest ways the industry makes their money is by advertising to children. But is it ethical?

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From a business’ perspective, it’s definitely smart to advertise to children. Toddlers at home, sitting in front of their cartoons on TV watching commercials for the newest toys can easily persuade their parents to buy it for them. They do not know any better. However, it can be argued that advertisements directed at kids are taking advantage of them. For example, a Disneyland commercial would be irresistible for a young child who has never visited the theme park. I’m sure Disney creates their ads with kids in mind, therefore they use techniques and tools that specifically attract kids. It’s inevitable that they bring up those kinds of ads with their parents.

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 Advertisers know that kids are inherently very trusting of what they see and hear. Children don’t take much into consideration when they are faced with an appealing ad or commercial. Money or need for a product vs. wanting a product are not concepts that they understand. They are the perfect kind of buyers in the eyes of business.

I don’t think that directing advertisements at children is very ethical, however, I don’t foresee any changes in the industry in the future. Companies will always create products for kids, and there will always be a need to market these products so that the public knows about them. Because of children’ nature, I don’t think there is a way to introduce products to them in a way that is completely innocent.

To read more about this topic, click here

 

Public Relations Now vs. Then

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There are some things in the world that will never change. And for now, it looks like Public Relations is necessary for firms, organizations, and even people to gain positive exposure in the world.

The World Assembly of PR defines Public Relations as “the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequence, counseling organization leaders, and implementing planning programs of action that serve both the organization’s and publics interest.”

Years ago, PR was much simpler. Direct mail was used to send off press kits, news spread much slower, press conferences were live and in-person, complete with demonstrations and speeches. Today, with the widespread use of the internet, so many doors have opened that were not possible in the past.

For example, today, news spreads in minutes, even across the whole world. Our technology is much faster and more efficient. Smart phones have Apps which allow for nearly instantaneous access to the internet, and can even notify us when news strikes. Bloggers can spread the word from behind their computer screens, quick phone calls and Skype video chats enable clear and long-distance contact. We even have the ability to stream commercials on the TV based on different geographic regions.

In addition, social media has made an even bigger impact on the PR world in both good and bad ways. With just a clever video on YouTube, word about a film, a cause or an event can go viral, spreading like a wildfire across the internet. This can be extremely helpful, if done right. Of course, there will always be mistakes. For instance, when Dominos workers uploaded a video in which they appeared to be tampering with the pizza, the backlash was huge. The employees in the video were immediately fired, the location of the restaurant was cleaned thoroughly from head to toe, and the CEO of Dominos released his own YouTube video apologizing for the unfortunate incident. This NY Times article digs deeper into the controversy. 

Similar to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have also blown up into some of the best ways to spread news and create a huge buzz. Liking, sharing, and retweeting are all ways we can connect with anyone in the world. Unfortunately, when crisis strikes, it is much more difficult for a PR team to clear it up. 

For example, with the use of so much social media, the likelihood of making a mistake that others can see is much more heightened. Almost everyday, we see a public figure or celebrity apologizing for something they inappropriately tweeted. Examples of tweets gone wrong are below:

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In the past, if word about an inappropriate comment got out to the press, a PR expert could claim that the statement was taken out of context or that it was misunderstood. But when someone’s Twitter account directly states something offensive, there is no way to take it back or blame anyone else. 

More recently, Buzzfeed.com posted this interesting collection of the top 5 PR disasters of this year so far, including Justin Bieber’s meltdown that was recorded on video and even an incident in Denmark where a zoo killed a perfectly healthy giraffe in front of park visitors. With the help of internet and social media, word about both of those events spread in moments, causing a quick and disastrous upheaval.

Although there are many differences between PR now and then, some things remain stable. The world always has and always will want the truth from credible, reliable sources in a speedy manor, so even as the world continues to evolve, PR will evolve with it. 

What is News?

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There are two main types of news that we come across in newspapers, online and on TV today. A good portion of the news is hard news, which includes facts that answer who, what, where, when, why, and how, of a news event. There is also soft news, which is better known as a feature story, news feature, or profile.

Hard news stories tend to just give the main information that the public needs to know about an event. There is no fluff, opinion or narrative aspect. A good example that has been discussed in the news recently is this article from Buzzfeed that informs about the teen that was stowed away inside the landing gear of a plane, all the way from California to Hawaii, which is a 5-hour flight. Notice how the article is short and sweet, it gets to the point without giving too many unimportant details. The one and only quote really sheds light on how dangerous and newsworthy this particular piece of news is. 

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While hard news is very informative and easy to read, feature stories are usually more fun by incorporating a topic of human interest into its story. Because it does not necessarily have to be news, it is often called a “Hey Martha” story. Just imagine a husband and wife sitting around the kitchen table on a Sunday morning reading the newspaper. The husband sees this Time article, titled “Beyond Death: The Science of the Afterlife” and finds it interesting, so he says, “Hey Martha, check this out.” Another example of a soft news story seen in the mass media today is this article from CNN talking about Justin Bieber’s recent problems with the law in the US. 

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Is isn’t really possible to do a hard news type story on a soft news topic because soft news isn’t really news at all. Of course, you should still answer the questions: who, what, where, when, why and how. But it would not be interesting without a cool topic, narrative, or a lot of detail and information. Similarly, you cannot really write a soft news story on a hard news topic because it would be too lengthy, making it harder for readers to sift through all the unnecessary fluff to find the most important parts. The distinction between hard and soft news is important and really impacts how we receive news today.

 

The Age of Netflix

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It’s no secret that Netflix has blown up, replacing almost every other movie rental organization out there. It’s so simple: create an account with your payment information and easily access the website on virtually any device, allowing you to enter into a world of entertainment and distraction. Netflix is responsible for anything from “Breaking Bad” marathons to revisiting old favorite movies. All it takes is internet access.

As easy and efficient Netflix seems to be, there are definitely some downsides. First of all, you can only watch the shows and movies that Netflix provides. Unfortunately, that leaves out quite a lot of films and programs. Also, even for shows that are on the site, it takes a while for new episodes to be posted to view. If you like to watch a plethora of different shows without TV, you’d have to subscribe and pay for multiple platforms such as Hulu or Amazon Prime, as well.  However, if you’re lucky enough to find a series you love on Netflix, you’ll know how real the addiction is. One episode easily turns into six, and before you know it, you’ve lost your day.

But Netflix definitely offers more benefits than problems. You can easily watch shows that aren’t played anymore on TV like “Leave it to Beaver,” or even relatively recent shows that have ended, such as the ever famous, “Lost.” Netflix has become so popular and successful, it has even done something unique – creating series exclusive only to Netflix, like “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards” which have both been widely received among audiences.

Could it be that Netflix is replacing cable TV? For me, in college without access to a television, Netflix is the holy grail for me, and I’m sure it is the same across college campuses in America. I don’t think it has gotten to the point yet where Netflix is used instead of TV, but I would definitely say that Netflix comes in close second, beginning to pose a threat for cable companies.  To help mediate the tension between cable companies and Netflix, efforts have been made to work together. This article from Time.com talks about how Comcast Internet users recently experienced much faster connection with better quality when on the Netflix site after the two companies came together  to reach a deal.

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Youtube: the new TV?

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Youtube.com is a video-sharing website that allows users to upload media onto the internet for unregistered viewers to see. It’s easy, quick, efficient, and best of all, free. It is not limited to professional filmmakers, making it possible for almost anyone to share their video content. Created in 2005 and owned by Google, Youtube has taken off, and became one of the most popular forms of media today, almost becoming a substitute for a television. The website has had a huge social impact on society. It has become an outlet for people to get discovered for their talents via its partner program in which a user is paid by Youtube to produce video uploads. Many artists, like Justin Bieber, got their starts on Youtube. It is often the source for a hit video that becomes the current fad of the time, such as the “Friday” music video by Rebecca Black. Youtube is the home to beauty gurus, how-to videos, and promotional videos. A lot of big companies also have a Youtube channel to promote themselves.

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Screenshot of BMW Youtube channel taken by me.

There isn’t anything out on the web that is quite like Youtube. Though some sites may feature video sharing, many of them, like Hulu.com for example, offers television content, but it is limited and may require payment. Vimeo.com is another site that is similar to Youtube, but it is targeted more toward professional filmmakers. You won’t find a video of a lady dancing on butter there. 

Although Youtube offers a plethora of useful, an often highly entertaining information, there is definitely controversy over inappropriate content and users’ comments. Because Youtube is such a huge site, it is almost impossible to regulate all of the videos that are uploaded, relying only on other viewers to flag offensive content, such as pornography, violence or any copywrite issues.  But is it safe for everyone? Even children? Luckily, Youtube also requires users to verify they are of age 18 before viewing specific content that could be deemed inappropriate for kids, but there are more problems than that. Cyber bullying and spam are also issues in the comments section of videos on Youtube. With a registered account, any Youtube user can write a message, good or bad, on a video they view. In efforts to better moderate this problem, Youtube now requires a Google+ account to leave a comment. That way, you are held more accountable for your actions and it is easier to block you from the site. 

Some argue that Youtube does not do enough to monitor the information flowing on the site but Youtube believes they are doing the most effective means to police the site. There are “rules” that a Youtube user must agree to follow in order to interact on the site, but could probably easily get away with breaking them unless flagged by another user. Whether you agree with how Youtube handles its gatekeepers on its media or not, it is clear that it has become a major player in the world of media today. With the click of a mouse, virtually any clip of video that has ever been created could end up on Youtube, and you might just become an internet sensation.

Click here to read an article about the Pros and Cons of YouTube. 

Inventing Modern Movies

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Actor. Director. Writer. Producer. Radio personality. Media Celebrity….Inventor of movies?

These are all words to describe the famous Orson Welles. Yes, even the last one. Best for his radio broadcast, War of the Worlds, which is one of the most well known broadcasts in history. Along with the film Citizen Kane, Orson Welles is among the most celebrated media stars of the twenties.

Citizen Kane, a movie about trying to find the meaning behind the last words spoken by Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon. A reporter for the newspaper tracks down many people whose lives intertwined with that of Charles Foster Kane’s in efforts to decipher the riddle of the famous last word “Rosebud.” The movie itself, is entertaining and definitely one of the best, but it is all the theatric elements that differentiate if from other films of the time.

Welles contributed a lot to the film industry. Citizen Kane was his first and most famous movie, which he directed and starred in. In addition, he directed 12 other movies during his career. However, his creative process differed from that of other directors and producers at the time. Welles’ films are unique because they contained, at the time, distinctive features that set them apart from other films, such as straying from usual lighting, such as taking advantage of shadows, or utilizing different camera angles by increasing the close-up shots.These changes really revolutionized the film industry and later on become the new normal when making movies.

Orson Welles was also unique because he had so much more input in his film than other directors/producers/writers had in their’s. Because of how greatly he believed in the movie, a great deal of production cost was covered by Welles himself, and he took control of the whole film, redefining the idea of artistic freedom. Today, we now have a “Steven Spielberg motion picture” or a “James Cameron movie” all because of the original “Orson Welles film.” To read more about just how Orson Welles “invented film,” check out this related article.

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Got Milk? vs. Milk Life

We are all familiar with the tagline “Got Milk?” It’s become a phrase that everyone recognizes from the many printed ad campaigns and TV commercials featuring celebrities wearing the famous milk mustache. The idea was to convey that everybody drinks milk, even Misha Barton who played the beloved character Marissa Cooper on TV show The OC. . . For the past 20 years, this campaign has been constant, however, it is time for a change.

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The company Lowe Campbell Ewald is in charge of the milk ads, and has decided that “got milk” is no longer cutting it. Though the catchy campaign promotes cool famous people drinking milk, consumers weren’t ever really motivated enough to buy it.

“Milk Life” is the new tagline which is replacing “Got Milk?” The hope for this phrase is that it promotes the health benefits and daily achievements of normal, everyday people that milk can provide, rather than using celebrities to lure consumers in. The printed ad depicts a little girl with wings made of milk, making her appear to be strong and brave. Even the wording is promoting the importance of protein that is found in milk.

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Mass communication through ad campaigns really gives us an insight to what society wants and values at the time. It is interesting that the “Got Milk?” campaign was such a success for so long but all of a sudden needs to be replaced. What changed? Having to create new ways to connect to people through ads shows us that perhaps society is valuing celebrity opinion less than before. Maybe there is a shift toward a more positive and healthy lifestyle. Lately, juicing, cleansing, and “eating clean” have all been trends, and this new “Milk Life” ad fits right in. I think it was a huge risk to replace “Got Milk” since it has almost become its own brand. But because people and society are changing everyday, I can understand the need to update forms of communication that no longer appeal to consumers.

Let’s just hope “Milk Life” sticks the way “Got Milk” did for all those years.

Click here to read an article about the 5 lessons executives in the “Got Milk” campaign learned!

Is the radio worth listening to anymore?

As the world progresses toward a more technologically dependent society, it’s difficult to create boundaries for ourselves. With more and more technology advancing each and every day, we have become accustomed to a more fast-paced and efficient lifestyle that revolves around making life more hassle free, whether its with our phones, computers or other machines.

We all know that many machines have replaced factory workers who create the products we use all the time. At the grocery store, it is common to see a self-check out machine, rather than only check-out aisles monitored by a clerk. Examples like this bring out some questions we should ask ourselves. Is all this technology all the time a good thing? When does technology become too much? Where do we draw the line?

We are seeing a new type of technology rising in the radio industry- voice tracking. Essentially, voice tracking is substituting live on-air talk with a pre-recorded sound that can be efficiently sent out across the country and broadcasted miles away from where it was created.

It sounds harmless (and maybe it is) but there is a debate about its ethicality. But first, let’s weigh the pros and cons:

Pros:

-It is cheaper for the radio station to employ only a few DJs who can voice track, rather than keep multiple DJs around the clock for live work.

-It can be used to fill in the radio gaps on holidays, when people should be spending time with family or late hours of the night.

-Emergency situations would allow for quick and easy mass communication of an important radio messages that were ready to be sent.

-It promotes a more modern, technologically advanced society that allows us to do less because machines can do more.

Cons:

-The demand to hire DJs for all hours of the day and night has decreased. Not as many jobs are available due to the efficiency of voice tracking.

-You cannot voice track any radio show that involves people calling in, therefore that limits the use of voice track. It could also encourage the radio industry to decrease the amount of shows that require interaction between the DJ and listeners.

-Essentially, voice-tracking is lying to listeners because they believe that the radio stream is live, happening in a nearby area.

-The station loses that fun, authentic feel of listening to someone who is live.

-If a piece of radio sound is voice tracked in one region and then broadcasted in another, there might be differences between the cultures, accents and other aspects that are dead giveaways of  its real origin.

To see more pros and cons about radio voice tracking, click here)

Personally, I do not prefer voice tracking to the real live radio. I think what has always made the radio unique is that it is a live broadcast in which people can communicate with each other. I also think that DJs require a certain amount of skill to be able to keep a listener’s attention, as well as drawing in telephone callers.

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I believe that voice-tracking can definitely be a useful tool in case of emergency situations when getting the word spread out to large audiences is essential. I also believe that when a very well known DJ, such as Ryan Seacrest, who is loved by many, records something for the whole country, it can be a benefit for people who don’t live in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. But I don’t think that it is necessary in normal day-to-day life with all radio stations. Almost anyone with a computer and an idea can make their own podcast these days. So, what makes voice tracking different from that? I don’t see where there would be a difference in being on the radio, versus just making soundbites in your garage.

I think that there are some things that society should keep, even when technology offers something better. For example, we are losing bookstores left and right to the creation of e-readers. My hope for the radio is it to preserve the live DJs who made the radio what it is today.

Website referenced to write this blog post:

http://radio.about.com/library/weekly/aa081103a.htm