Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More Images from Mediacom and the Financial Times

Students of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications clap at the end of their tour of Mediacom in London, United Kingdom, on Thursday, July 26, 2012. The students were taken to Mediacom as a part of their Social Effects of Mass Media class, taught as a part of the UGA at Oxford study abroad program. (Photo/ C. B. Schmelter, The Red & Black)

Christopher Grimes of the Financial Times explains the process of how the Financial Times puts out their newspaper in London, United Kingdom, on Thursday, July 26, 2012. Grimes was a former student of Grady College. (Photo/ C. B. Schmelter, The Red & Black)

Back issues of the Financial Times sit on a table at the Financia Times office in London, United Kingdom, on Thursday, July 26, 2012. Students of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications were taken to the Financial Times as a part of their study abroad program. (Photo/ C. B. Schmelter, The Red & Black)

Students listen to Sue Unerman as she talks about truth in advertising at Mediacom in London, United Kingdom, on Thursday, July 26, 2012. Unerman is the co-author of the book "Tell The Truth." (Photo/ C. B. Schmelter, The Red & Black)

The Opening Ceremony

This passed weekend, I watched the Opening Ceremony from my friend's house in London.  Her family is from the United States, but moved to London due to her father's job.  We all watched the Ceremony together and even caught the jets as they flew right over her house.  It was really fun to watch the Ceremony in the same city it was occurring in.  The Ceremony itself was very interesting. It came across as being extremely British, as it should since London is the host city; however, her family and I were discussing that our friends in the United States who were watching were probably very confused about everything going on.  We were watching on the BBC, so even though there was commentary; I do not think they did enough to explain to foreigners in the United Kingdom that might be watching.  I was left a little lost during some parts.  It would be interesting to find out how an American news network such as FOX News or CNN might have presented the ceremony.  Do you think there was more or less explanation to the ceremony?  Do you think the ceremony would have much appeal in foreign countries?  Is it even possible to have an impressive opening ceremony after how amazing the ceremony for the Beijing Olympics was?

Associative Advertising

While I was in London for the Olympic Opening Celebration Concert in Hyde Park, I stumbled across this sign when I was waiting for much needed caffeine. It reminded me what Sue Unerman was talking about when she told us about the "association" advertising with Twix and tea, where the company began to associate eating Twix with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Like tea, coffee is often an integral part of someone's life and so I found it interesting and pretty intelligent of this newspaper to capitalize on the routine people get into when they buy coffee by trying to associate it with buying a newspaper. That being said, do you think it's easier for a product like Twix to make use of this type of advertising? I know I get coffee almost every morning back in the States and even though there are newspapers at the Starbucks I frequent, I never feel the urge to buy one. Maybe that's because I can get The New York Times for free on UGA's campus, but once I graduate I still can't see myself paying for something I can find online for free. I guess maybe if you're buying coffee every morning instead of making it, the idea is that you might be willing to pay for a product you can get for free or cheaper online? Is this association between picking up the paper and your coffee a good idea? I know traditionally speaking people used to read the paper over their morning cup of coffee so maybe it's just me being cheap. Newspapers have to do whatever they can to boost their circulation as far as I'm concerned. Would you be more willing to impulse buy a newspaper whilst waiting for your coffee, more willing to subscribe or more likely to avoid the purchase of a physical paper entirely?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Don't Fly British Airways

While navigating London on the tube this past Friday, I spotted a British Airways advertisement that stated "Don't Fly. The anthem won't sing itself. British Airways Support GB". I was confused as to why an airline company would be telling people not to fly.  After doing a little more digging, I found that British Airways launched an entire campaign based around the statement "Don't Fly" in order to show their support for Great Britain in the Olympics.  The video above is of an advertisement produced by British Airways that aired in June.

I like the idea of the campaign.  It portrays British Airways as a patriotic company that puts country and nationalism before business and profit. Do you think this campaign is effective? What do you think this type of advertising does for the image of British Airways?

Olympic Games Advertising

Photo Courtesy of Colby Pines

While at the Olympics this past weekend, I noticed something that seems rather unusual. The companies (Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Panasonic, Heineken, etc.) that pay a great deal of money to advertise and be associated with the Olympic Games were not getting their money’s worth. To my surprise, neither event I attended featured advertisements within the arenas, with one minuscule exception. Omega had a very small print of their name above a few of the video boards in the beach volleyball venue. Hardly worth the millions that companies gave to the Olympic Committee.
            One company did seem to rise above the rest though in getting their product out into the consumer’s eye. Adidas sponsored the uniforms of all Olympics workers and they looked fantastic. With the Adidas logo and name all over them, workers were dressed from head to toe in these uniforms. Around 10,000 workers were hired for these Games and even if they weren’t working, they could be seen all over London. Besides looking great, Adidas has found a way to get their product into the view of the consumer. 

Excursion to the Financial Times in London

Our host, Grady Grad (and self-proclaimed Finkster)
 Chris Grimes, gave us a tour
The newsroom
Watching breaking news

Cris Grimes explaining why the paper is pink!

Excursion to Mediacom

Grady students at Mediacon in London
Our hosts were gracious
Our host Sue Unerman, the Chief Strategy Officer
and co-author of "Tell the Truth"
Cool offices!
The Ages of Communication 

Thank you Steven for helping to set up our visit.
AdPR students particularly enjoyed the visit
The Grady gang with Sue Unerman

Audi Connect

        Airports are a mecca for creative and innovative advertising. That makes sense. You've got planeloads of people moving through hallways, sitting in trams, waiting at gates and shuffling through tunnels and into their aircrafts. From baggage claim belts stylized to look like roulette spinners to shoe advertisements placed conveniently in the box you put your shoes in ("Place shoes here, buy shoes at Zappos"), people have rituals at the airport. These rituals are the same for everyone: going through security, picking up your baggage, taxiing, reading departure signs, listening to your ipod, reading a book. The list goes on.
        If there is one thing Bavaria does well, its cars. And wursts. And beer, pretzels, and lederhosen. But cars are king. Why not advertise those cars in the one place through which EVERY Munich visitor or citizen has walked: the airport. Audi. You can see the picture above. You see their ads everywhere. But one stuck out. A single platform in a converging intersection of hallways leading to security. You stand in front of a motion sensing camera, and when it sees you standing in place, you are given to option to choose from other cities around the world in which Audi has placed these interactive camera platforms. Within three seconds I was waving at a guy my age in the Piazza Navona in Rome, one of the largest city squares in the world. The tag line was simple: Audi Connect. The purpose was clear: we are more than just a car company. We are a means by which the world can be connected. With Audi's multi-media driving interfaces, computer controlled cars, and recent collaborations with Google Maps, this is a campaign that will resonate in my mind for a long time.

Available Advertising

An advertisement for Watsons Bistro rests on the roof of its building in Wales, United Kingdom, on Friday, July 27, 2012. The advertisement was placed on the roof so that it could be seen by those walking along the city wall of Conwy. (Photo/ C. B. Schmelter, The Red & Black)

So as I was walking the Conwy City Wall during my Medieval History excursion this weekend, I looked down on the roofs of the buildings below and found something interesting:
An Advertisement.

I just thought this was genius ad placement. While the sign itself is nothing special, but the location was great. Walking the city wall is obviously something that draws people to the area and what better way to minimize cost and maximize space than to smack an ad down on top of the roof of your own building?

I'm no expert on advertising, but I give Watsons Bistro two thumbs up for this one.

What do you think ad people?  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Real Americans?

I went on an excursion with my Medieval History class this past weekend to Wales.  When we were at the Caernarfon Castle in Northern Wales, a little girl ran up to me and two other students and asked if we were American.  I said yes and she begged us to wait there for a minute.  When she came back she had her two siblings with her.  Her brother asked, "You're American?!  Real Americans?!"  We laughed, and I replied that yes, we were real Americans.  After a few minutes of talking to the kids we parted ways, but it made me realize that although there were a large amount of tourists in the area, none were American.

I started considering why there were not more Americans around and I realized that before this class I had never heard of Edward I and all the castles he had built in his conquest of Wales.  The sites we saw were the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen, and castles that were absolutely amazing.  We saw a total of five castles on our excursion, and I just don't understand why they are not bigger tourists destinations.  I am not sure if there is a nearby airport, but to me these castles were hidden treasures almost.  Do you think the media is involved in our travel choices?  I definitely think so after this weekend.  Travel magazines and commercials almost agenda set for certain places.  We always here about Paris, Cancun, and the Bahamas,but what about all the other places?  I am glad Dr. Archer took me somewhere I would have otherwise never been incited to go because of lack of knowledge and media coverage. 

The Olympics?

Everyone knows the Olympics just began. Well that's what I assumed. After traveling in Ireland this weekend, I discovered that some people actually don't care much for the olympics. To me it seemed everyone in America had there television set on NBC for the 17 day span of olympic events. That was not the case in Ireland. The first night of the opening ceremony, Ashley and I got ready and headed out to a pub to watch the ceremony. This was our first mistake. Not only did we have trouble finding somewhere that actually had them on the television, but most of the pubs had live music that made it impossible to hear. We ended up having to give up and miss the ceremony all together. The next night we decided to skip the pubs all together. We went down to the tv room in our hostel only to find that everyone was watching a movie. None of them were concerned that the swimming finals were taking place at that very moment. I mean this could have just been my devastation that I was missing Ryan Lochte in a speedo, but I don't think this was abnormal for most people. Everyone watches the olympics. I had to get all of my olympic updates from twitter and facebook. I must say I am thankful for these social mediums, but I was appalled. No one in Ireland seemed concerned about the olympics at all. I wonder if this is has a cultural aspect or a history aspect.
We watched the Olympics in Bath this weekend. We watched as Ryan Lochte beat Phelps and won his gold medal. For months the media have been circulating around Lochte. Many of us were cheering for Lochte and were ecstatic when he won. A year ago none of us knew who he was, and last night we were excited he won. The media really set the agenda on the Olympics and who gets what coverage. Usually athletes win and then become well known but the media completely reversed the process. Even though Lochte has won medals in the past he was overshadowed by Phelps. Now we pull for athletes because the media tells us to. I knew the media was powerful but out of thousands of athletes they choose which ones become legacy Olympians.

Smoking Out Another Generation....

Photo Credits:  The picture above was taken by a Terry Student, Brittany Beisner, in The Bulldog Souvenir Shop in Amsterdam.

On a weekend excursion to Amsterdam, some of my friends wanted to stop in a souvenir shop associated with The Bulldog (a fitting image, as Georgia Students).  The Bulldog is Amsterdam’s “First coffee shop,” which is a large leap (conceptually) from American Culture.  However, The Bulldog is much more than a shop that sells novelty items to curious tourists.  It is a brand, comprised of a hotels and coffee shops, catering to a younger generation of travelers. 

Although the brand does not promote what Americans would consider “family-friendly” ideas, they do offer products that cater to all generations, whether it is a ranging size of t-shirts made for men and women or a line of baby jumpers, as seen in the above image.  This was the most striking element, to me—targeting wide ranges, despite the niche audience. 

First, the idea of this type of coffee shop in America would only be imaginable, if it was built in California (and even then, it’s a stretch).  Secondly, the fact that the store was taking advantage of an unspoken public (infants) as a means of promotion was slightly shocking (yet, not unheard of in media). 

Is this lump marketing the most effective use of concentration, if the brand appeals to an audience comprised primarily of young adults?  What potential effects could this form of advertisement have on the generation that is being used as a vehicle for its promotion?  Is this type of marketing ethical?

You Are What You Eat...

Even the most conscientious of calorie counters typically can’t really explain a nutritional label. I certainly can’t pronounce most of the ingredients and I have no idea what’s important beyond the percentages of calories, fat, and sugar.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to come across Pret’s humorous approach to informing consumers on the nutritional values of their products.  

Pret A Manger wanted to ensure you knew what, in addition to how much.

From Pret’s website:
“Often the media gets hung up on calories and fat. Of course, these have to be checked and regulated, but they should also be balanced with a factor that seems to get forgotten in today's fat-obsessed environment: nutrition. We talk about salt, sugar and fat but never anything else.

At Pret, we insist on a kitchen in every shop (apart from some of the tiny ones) where our sandwiches, salads, wraps, baguettes and hot wraps are handmade fresh every day using short shelf life, preservative-free, natural ingredients to ensure that they're nutritionally rich.
  As well as being fanatical about taste, the food team ensure our sandwiches and salads are free from the endless additives that plague modern food. This task is much harder than it sounds. Pret’s suppliers have to go to great lengths to meet our fanatically high standards.”

I hope more chains in more countries will choose to employ these types of standards in the quality of their food and their nutritional education. “Fast food” shouldn’t have to be synonymous with “pre-packaged death.”

An Olympic Distraction

When I was in London this passed weekend, I stayed with a friend from high school.  In order to get the full experience, she wanted to take me to China Town for dinner.  Right in front of the restaurant we went to there was a movie theater.  On the billboard for the theater, the words “FCUK THE OLYMPIX COME SEE A MOVIE,” existed in big bold black letters.  As I looked at this sign, a lot of things ran through my head.  Is that allowed?  Aren’t having the Olympics an honor?  Doesn’t this make the theater look bad?  Who would support a theater that seems to be against one of the greatest cultural events in the world?  While the words on the theater may not have meant to evoke these feelings, it did.  The words were not funny, they were offensive, and I am not even from England.  I wonder how the people who have called London home for many years felt about this.  I think there is a line to be drawn here and this billboard should have been taken down.  Doesn’t this make the city look bad to the millions of tourists that have traveled to London for the Olympics?  My question is, should something like this be allowed as a form of Advertising, or for the sake of the city’s reputation, and the respect of the Olympics should this sign be taken down?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Protesters During a Graduation Weekend... Really?

photo from fanpop.com 

Protesters Collectively Ruin the Vibe of Oxford During a Graduation Weekend...

This past week in Oxford, the town was teeming with graduates and their families in preparation for their graduation on Saturday.  The graduates and their parents migrated from their own specific colleges, to the Bodleian Library, and Christ Church (among many other signature pit-stops of Oxford) to take pictures in recognition of the graduate student and their accomplishment. Among this excitement, there were pro-animal right’s activists all over Oxford, and oddly placed around the town may I add.  Their signs primarily read the message of  “stop the animal cruelty in Oxford,” and were often accompanied by disturbing pictures of animals not being treated right.  While I believe the group had a great cause, I think the group went too far in their display of protest, and altogether defeated their purpose anyways.  I think it is a shame that they chose to protest where they did.    The protesters caused an indefinite negative vibe to the areas the graduates desired to take pictures at. 

The displays made me uncomfortable, destroyed the vibe for the graduates of the areas they were in, and had an altogether negative effect rather then positively educating the public for their cause.

To what extent should disturbing content such as this be able to occupy a given area?

Should these displays be sanctioned to occur at any time or on any day?

Move over Sarah McLaughlin..

The end of sad, sad, turn off your TV when that song comes on, days are here. In class, it seems like "In the arms of an angel.." are the worst words to be heard, being that it reminds us of that tearful ASPCA commercial of broken dogs and kittens that need help. This seems to be the message the US wants to send out to everyone - abuse is everywhere and we need to either send some money or adopt one of these animals. It is a sad commercial and a sad realization, but that marketing tactic seems to work, am I right? Who doesn't get depressed when they see those little beady eyes of the tattered puppy just staring at you, mentally asking you for help? Well, when I was in Amsterdam last weekend, I noticed an ad geared to saving animals in a different light. It was a little Retriever puppy with a graduation cap on with the following phrase (translated): "Adopt a Puppy, and pay it to the guide dog training."
This to me seems like a better way to approach getting a puppy and saving others. It has a cute puppy, graduating from training, happy, not sad. In the end, you also get the satisfaction of knowing that your money is going towards a good cause as well. In my opinion, it's the best way to save lives and be happy - no more sad music please.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Google that

If you haven't been on Google today, go check it out. It completely relates to our topic on stereotyping and how to counter stereotypes in the media.
Google's front page cartoon of the Olympics is very inclusive of many races and genders. There doesn't seem to be a dominant person or a "token" person to make it seem diverse. I think it is a positive attempt to display people from all over the world (since the olympics is a world event).
After seeing this ad, I was also curious if Google's front page would appear differently from country to country. However, this front page appears all over the world and truly represents how diverse we all are.
Because it reaches such a broad audience, this cartoon will additionally help people of all races, ages, and genders fell included since Google is the world's most popular search engine.
While this ad is obviously promoting the Olympics, it made me wonder how the people at Google decide which days and which people to have on its front page. Just the other day it displayed a cartoon of Amelia Earhart in celebration of (what would be) her 115th birthday. Other than birthdays, Google also displays holidays, invention/discovery days, and other significant days in history. 
Displaying these cartoons isn't for advertisement or meant to promote anything. I think Google is simply making an attempt to get people informed and interested in a variety of things. When it was Amelia Earhart's birthday, I was curious about her life and "googled" her. I'm sure there are people from all over that felt inclined just as I did to read about other displays on Google.
I think Google does this 1) for entertainment, and 2) to educate people.

The Tragedy of Robsten

Two days ago, US Weekly released pictures of Kristen Stewart kissing her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders. Two seconds later, the twitter sphere exploded with posts concerning the relationship of Stewart and Twilight co-star and long-term boyfriend Robert Pattinson. Fans of the “Robsten” couple began to tweet like mad.

Now I am a giant fan of Rob Pattinson and find it entirely shocking that Kristen would cheat on him. Have you seen the man? He’s arguably the most beautiful man on the planet. It’s pretty much physically impossible to cheat him because he is just so good looking. But as much as I love and support Rob and granted that is a major event in the celebrity gossip world of Perez Hilton, this is not something to cry over.

And yet “Robsten” fans on twitter are taking the scandal much too personally. Every second there is a new post, and each time the post says something the lines of, “Robsten unbroken” or “We will get through this” or “Please work it out Robsten, you were meant for each other!” @Robstenforever12 went so bold as to tweet 

“I'm done with being sad and desperate I KNOW Kristen didn't do it. Unfollow me if you want but I'm defending her ALWAYS! Robsten is unbroken”

These tweets are utterly ridiculous. The tweeters refer to the celebrities lives directly effect theirs. They give advice as if Rob and Kristen were their best friends, but in actuality they have no earthly clue what Pattinson and Stewart’s relationship is like. They speak as if they are the world’s greatest couple.

So it makes me wonder about the paparazzi and gossip journalism. Are we bombarded with so much celebrity news that we feel like we know these celebrities? Is it the media’s fault for implanting so much celebrity news in our brains that we loose our sense of reality and believe we actually know these strangers?  How can some take what happens in a strangers life so personally? 

Tell the Truth

Yesterday, as part of our excursion, we toured MediaCom and were given a talk by Sue Unerman, the Chief Strategy Officer as well as co-author of Tell the Truth. Tell the Truth proposes the idea that truth is a powerful marketing tool, and the best way to effectively promote a message and brand.  She explained that truth in the advertising world has long been something to ignore or downplay; but in our current time (the Age of Dialogue) “with social media on the ascent,” consumers will decide what’s true and will be more likely to choose a product or service when they feel they aren’t being misled. Unerman mentioned that advertising is more effective when shown a slight “downside” to something: for instance, the beer Stella Artois is marketed as “Reassuringly Expensive.” Consumers are more likely to trust this brand because of Stella’s transparency.

Transparency, by the way, is a huge buzz word in the world of public relations. Although it’s not something to be thrown around casually; transparency should be more of a principal than a marketing tactic. Whether or not this differs from how advertisers utilize truth-telling, transparency is extremely important in PR not only because it helps construct the reputation of a company, but because it is an important tenet in the code of ethics that all PR specialists should adhere to. This is why Sue Unerman’s talk resonated with me—telling the truth will always be your greatest asset. Companies should resolve to be transparent, instead of merely showing transparency. The difference is significant; think of it being as how a company communicates, instead of simply what they communicate.

I think transparency, in all aspects of communication, should be a top priority. Especially in today’s world, with the rise of social media, the best way to build a reputation or reach out to consumers is to respect them and refrain from putting a spin on anything. The most effective message is one that has nothing to hide.

(quote source: sueunerman.com)