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POST #10: Hey Grammar Police, I No Longer Fear You!

I’ve never fancied myself much of a writer (it’s always been more of my sister’s gig). Writing always seemed so painful, especially when I had to use a word processor (that required correction tape to be inserted) when I was a freshman in college. The creation and accessibility to social media was certainly intriguing, as it feels much less strict in application.

At first I was fearful that no one would even interested in what I might have to say on any given topic. But after witnessing what so many people feel free to share via social media it seems a moot point. Through blogging I can be myself; and there are plenty-o-other people out on the interwebs that I can be lost amongst if you don’t like my style. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting older and care less about what others are going to say about me (or to me). I suppose I figure that I’ve struggled long enough with trying to be the right person and to act the “right” or acceptable way, that I understand I’m not everyone’s cup of tea – I don’t even care for tea.

I find writing a blog is far more exciting to me than writing a paper. Now don’t get me wrong I love doing the research on just about anything; but having to accurately articulate what you’ve researched in the “proper way” is what stresses me out.

I’ve never been a strong speller. I think of myself as being a bit like Winnie the Pooh – “Because my spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places” Wikiquote.org. I suppose I thank goodness for spellcheck, because without it I’d be totally screwed! Focus on grammatical errors prevented me from any notion of writing unless it was absolutely necessary. I never even kept a journal or diary for fear that someone might read it and somehow use what was written to humiliate me (not the actual content, but for the messiness and nonsensicalness).

I even had a crazy fear of being requested to fill out Mad Libs (what’s an adverb again?). I was clear on nouns and verbs, but after that it became squishy to me. I would resort to thinking back to the posters hanging on my grade school walls with images to explain each part of speech. To me life was more about the aesthetic appeal that it offered, rather than the right choice of phrasing.

After taking this class (and being forced into creating a real blog vs. micro-blogging like via Tumblr, or Facebook – if that even counts) I’ve found that unless you take the time to write at least 300-500 words you’re not really disclosing a whole lot to folks.

I think there are plenty-o-folks out there on the interwebs and out in the blog-o-sphere who could stand to classy it up, or tone it down for that matter; but I’m glad they’re all there. We need to experience the uniqueness of others to discover more about ourselves—if not only for a bit of inspiration. I’ve finally realized that I should simply just be me. Write what comes naturally and to no longer avoid what others might think is odd. Everyone has something to share that can only come from his or her unique perspective. We all need to have a purpose in what we say/write, what we should be most concerned with is whether or not the purpose of the message we send is understood.

This was inspired by a blog post of a peer from our Integrated Marketing Communications class and from my general fear of public humiliation through writing.

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POST #9: Corporations and Sustainable Living for All?

unilever-proj-sunlight

unilever-proj-sunlight

As I was trying to clear my head by streaming a few shows, I stumbled on an advert for Unilever’s Project Sunlight – a social mission that provides stories and insight for how we can make small changes in our everyday lives. Now I’m all for sustainable living and would like to think I do a small part to make a bigger difference; as I’m sure many of us wish we could do more. So needless to say, this ad caught my eye.

We live in a society whose lines are beginning cross boundaries/countries. Technology has provided access to global and local issues that impact all of us. And it seems during the holiday season that we see an increase in corporate advertising. This could be a result of a more common presence and realization that everyone is struggling; although dependent on where we are in the world, our struggles may vastly differ.

Unilever's Project Sunlight

Unilever’s Project Sunlight

In what Unilever refers to as a “global movement,” Project Sunlight is a campaign created leveraging Ogilvy’s expertise – if you haven’t heard of Ogilvy, they are an amazing international advertising, marketing and public relations agency. Project Sunlight is about establishing a unified belief that “creating a #brightfuture for all children is possible through simple, sustainable choices.” The initial locations launched for Project Sunlight include: UK, US, India, Brazil and Indonesia – all of which can be viewed via the initiative’s media wall.

If you are unfamiliar with their history, Unilever is certainly in a spot where they could use improvement with creating a more progressive brand image. Unilever’s ploy with their video launch of Why Bring a Child Into This World for Project Sunlight is to send a universal message to people from many different backgrounds. Not to mention tug and pull on our heartstrings as effectively in each locale. This global standardization of Unilever’s campaign provides them with multiple benefits – including a brand image refresh.

People’s lifestyles have become increasingly similar (at least in relation to socio-economic background) with the establishment and improved access to the Internet, not to mention social media in particular. So I suppose a certain amount of support for global standardization on the topic of creating a brighter future is not far off the mark.

There will always be critics, cause haters gonna hate. Check out The Daily Banter’s post or the article published for The Guardian for a variety of commentary about this initiative. I can easily state that I’m not brand loyal to Unilever, but I have to commend them on trying to do the right thing. As with many moral dilemmas, I think time will tell (or sell) us on the idea or not.

I suppose the question is this; do we live in a global society who has the same drive for social justice to serve the improvement of all humanity? I for one, hope so!

Additional deets and interesting links that may be of interest…


Partnerships (via the Unilever website)

A brief personal commentary on Unilever’s social media campaign for Project Sunlight (a Twitter bias?)

Unilever has created Project Sunlight somewhat as a social media campaign. So it was weird to me that each social media venue doesn’t connect to the others (e.g., there’s no link to Twitter via YouTube). Even on the Unilever website they don’t provide insight or links to various social media venues – unless you count the media wall, which appears to display selected tweets. Not even when you redirect to Unilever’s main website’s Contact Us page – that’s a sure miss on their part! Yet on their official Facebook page (vs. the one that came up in auto search (another fail)) you can immediately click to either post or tweet. Tweet on!

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POST #8: Flip Out

Image

A little background might be helpful to explain the context of where I’m coming from before I introduce the app selected.

As of October 1, I’ve been with the same company for 12 years. Damn, that’s a long time (longer yet, if you’re in IT;). I like to frame it up as: “I’ve been in IT the whole time. I realize it comes as a surprise. I assure you, it surprises me as much as it does the people I work with (and virtually anyone who knows me)”.

In my role I get to do the fun extrovert-y stuff that most (stereotypical) IT folk are a bit adverse to. In the simplest terms, I help others to communicate effectively to their audiences and market projects and teams within Technology Services to the “business”. If that means nothing yet, that’s cool – stay with me. The beauty of having someone like me in IT (i.e., someone not super technical) is that if I don’t understand what something is, I continue to ask questions until the process or action can be explained simply. Part of my role is to be a “digital advisor” to leaders and peers struggling to understand the available tools and collaborative technologies we use internally and basics of social media available externally.

During a work event – where the specific purpose was to help senior leaders understand new technologies available – I was introduced to Flipboard. DH, a friend of mine (who works in a training department) was projecting his iPad to a digital screen as he provided a visual walk-thru the app to passers-by. He pointed out its attributes and basic gestures for navigation. This allowed folks to ask specific and opportune questions about its functionality.

Flipboard is and online magazine (or magazines) that you create on your own to share or read ones that others have curated. The luxury of this tool is that you can add information from virtually anywhere; making it a one-stop-shop for your news and interest needs. You aren’t prevented from adding any topics or articles from outside venues. I discovered I could add several items in the app, that in the past, I would navigate directly to (e.g., Maddie On Things & All Things D – D = digital). Now I’m almost navigation free with Flipboard!

Maddie_on_Things_Cover

Using Flipboard I can get all of the items I’m looking for using a single/primary app. You get real information you’re genuinely interested in and none of the clutter like you’ll get on Facebook. I have topics ranging from Food to Design to Technology to Best of Tumblr. And I follow other magazines curated by others – like Digital U, a magazine curated on Flipboard by a colleague of mine, Dan Phan. I also make sure to check Flipboard’s Cover Stories to see if anything is on the rise that I may have missed.

Perhaps one of the cleverest marketing tactics Flipboard has used is its explanation of the benefits to all of the possible unique audiences. On the website (available from the website, click Community > Flipboard for You), Flipboard provides a short blurb about the applicability to each audience. Following each blurb is a link to the Inside Flipboard blog that provides a deeper level of information and benefits to that audience. Basically they’ve addressed individual target markets, all via the same venue – clever!

An example of one audience introduction via the Flipboard for You page:

“Flipboard For Corporate Teams

Corporate teams can streamline internal and external communications with easy-to-read, informative magazines that keep employees, clients and customers abreast of company and industry news.

Learn more on Inside Flipboard.”

Although I still have an affinity for paper magazines I’m digging learning more about the app. I’ve since pared down to only one magazine that I continue to receive in the mail (The Atlantic). You could learn quite a bit, I presume, by looking at behavioral habits on this app.

Image

Interested in learning more? Check out these links…

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POST #7: Gloria, and Other “Chicky” Things

chicks2 google images

chicks2 google imagmages

As a student, my remaining non-corporate work hours are chiefly dedicated to: B (my furry child – this includes feeding, walking, vet, and forced-cuddle time); sleeping; homework; attending class; eating/crapping/prepping, laundry and cleaning (think of this as an ingredients list. The stuff at the beginning has a bit more significance). If you know me, you realize how impressive it is for this chick, to have laundry and cleaning last on the list of my life’s recipe.

Needless to write (say? meh-whatever), shopping (though a love of mine) is not something that takes priority at this juncture. Let’s just say that this non-shopping situation very much displeases me. I see myself as having two main options. One, what’s available to me when I’m in downtown Mpls while at work; or online with amazon (this is pretty much the way I roll, with my Prime Student status, I’m gonna be taking advantage while the getting is good).

Amazon Prime is perhaps the coolest thing ever, at least for me. I’ve been in an ongoing relationship with them for years (decades?); and I must admit it’s been quite lovely. I’m pre-Prime and proud of it! The Prime program became more noticeable to me right after I returned to school as I was purchasing all of my books and “extras” from amazon.com. Already I felt I was getting a fabulous deal, but for a mere $39 bucks (versus the $79 annual fee – which still only breaks down to $6.58 a month) you can’t beat the dividends you receive.

BTW – Netflix and Hulu Plus are both $7.99 a month, just for watching stuff that I don’t really have time for anyway – just sayin’. Amazon Prime provides me access to so many of the same “shared” content. In addition to video, I also get 2-day shipping on all of my Prime eligible orders. The other benefit I appreciate is the ease of one-click ordering. Did I mention my elation that one-click ordering is also available via my iPhone?

via amazon.com

Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same by Sloane Tanen via amazon.com

A while back, I was able to hook with my girl Jess, using amazon’s iPhone app. Jess needed a little pick-me-up so I searched the app for something I knew would make her laugh – Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chickens by Sloane Tanen. And just like that, with my one-click ordering, Jess had the book sent to her address in two days. With the ease and setup of their Internet and their application interfaces, amazon.com always provides me with seamless user interface capabilities. This makes my ordering possibilities endless and über easy! For me, this is dangerous territory. The danger lies in my inability to differentiate appropriately between my needs and wants.

Gloria "the chicken purse"

Gloria “the chicken purse”

For example there was the case of Gloria, the Chicken purse. It was Gloria’s (who received her name post-purchase) pop of color that caught my eye in the right-navigation column while shopping for schoolbooks. In my mind she was really a need, not a want. How could you not want this bag? Especially after you check out the amazing pictorial reviews provided by other shoppers.

Oh, and I guess that’s the third best thing about amazon Prime, the reviews! If I’m ever going to check for something I might buy, anywhere, I check amazon reviews. I find them quite reliable, at least more so than other sites that I’ve also checked (e.g., c-net, Target). And there’s almost always a review, not matter the product – just ask Gloria, she’ll vouch for that!

More Luvs for the B

B giving lip

B giving lip

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POST #6: Possessing Ritualistic Ninja Exploring Proficiencies

useonlywhatyouneed

Whist working and attending school, I’m at a loss of actual daylight on most days (sorry, B!), and especially with the recent time change. Yippy for the cooler sleeping weather and all; but I now wake-up and go to work in the dark. This means walking B with a little flashlight before work (cause I’m so cool, or just weird and anal-retentive).

The lack of light was a contributing factor in my inability to take a photo of said, “observed support media,” for this post. But perhaps it was a blessing. Since instead I provided better quality photos and media (the “extra-fancy” kind) by searching the inter-webs for “clever outdoor ads”. There are, most assuredly, some clever advertisements out there. I dug into a few until I decided on the Use Only What You Need (UOWYN) campaign for Denver Water.

My initial thoughts about Denver Water were, “Hey this is pretty cool – an outdoor campaign seems fitting for them, since it’s targeting water usage in the summer and it’s also deeply integrated into people’s day-to-day activities.” When decided on Denver Water, I switched the basic search to continue my mad exploration into the campaign.

Denver Water’s ongoing UOWYN campaign (2005-2013) was created with the help of Sukle Advertising & Design. For all years prior to 2013, they promoted using only what you need; but heavy droughts endangered their most specific cause – water conservation. The attention getter was in spinning, ever so slightly, their branded tagline. The updated Use Even Less campaign grabs attention (not only to drought concerns; but applicable to the overarching connector with conservation and making smart choices for us and our world). Denver Water still encourages their message to use less water; but also displays a mutual concern for the earth, environment, waste impact, etc. Resulting in a tighter connection with their audience (people living in, visiting, passing through Denver, CO). Or perhaps, only wishful thinking that has the potential to create a new mindset/culture change that melds with the way of life.

It was difficult not to be drawn in by the campaign’s charm – I became addicted. Each medium was considered for what it was, and for its sustainability impact. For those channels not directly related to water conservation the concept was expanded to overall sustainability (conservation, over-consumption…). Thus, confirming my assessment that this was a unique, cleverly delivered, and creatively expressed campaign that heavily utilized support media in its marketing mix (< see what I did here, those are key words from our textbook;). Clearly I could not decide on what specific example to share. So instead, several are provided.

The fruits of my efforts…

denverwater_brokensprinkler_0

Sprinkler Billboard  – Over the course of their multiyear campaign Denver Water has become known for their slick billboards. Additional billboard and bus side tag lines included, CNSRV, GV A DM, and B STNGY. With these, Denver Water encourages their audience to conserve as they would do via text, LOL‼!! (Sorry, I realize I went a little overboard on those explanation points – I‘ll work harder to hold myself back).

denverwater_conveyor_0

Conveyor Belts – You know those little ‘separator sticks’ they have for the conveyor belt at the store? With this campaign, Sukle not only beautified the conveyor belts by making them look like water; they used those sticks too! This tactic might also prompt the client to think about purchasing only what they need, and will actually use.

denverwater_talkbubbles_0

Talk Bubbles – I’d totally have these in my yard (well, if I had a yard to put signs on). It’s a grassroots campaign… Get it? Huh? Get it! This was only one of many that ‘featured’ grass as its star; there’s also a great short video where grass shares the spotlight with Spot!

denverwater_barrels_missing_0

Barrels Use of metal barrels in public places allows people to visualize their overuse/waste. It’s a bit staggering to see in a picture; I can’t imagine walking by and not marinating for a bit and on how much extra-anything I use. Hmm,  where I might cut back a bit (e.g., water > brushing my teeth in the shower, use the dehumidifier repository to water the plants; not water specific > refrain from purchasing unnecessarily overly packaged goods)? Different locations across the city; each proving differing, yet staggering, statistics. Especially creepy, when the numbers are real size – and bigger than you to boot!

Denver Water running toilet

Running Toilet  – This was an exceptionally unique way to get the word out. A tactic of which has proven to be effective for Denver Water beyond the field.

denverwater_showercurtain_0

Elevator Doors – This simply makes me want a new shower curtain. #loveit

DenverWaterHydrants

Fire Hydrants – B’s version of heaven!

About Sukle Advertising & Design

Denver Water kept it local with their agency selection (Sukle is also based in Denver). As a new agency at the time, they were looking  to make their avowal.

I loved the clean minimalist look that Sukle Advertising & Design has for their website. Clearly displaying how, as a design agency, their brand is their clients’ brand – love the example. I don’t think I would have noticed it had we not read about/discussed it for class;/ There is another excellent “feature” on Sukle’s website that’s an added bonus to anyone seeking an ad agency (and a way for the them to advertise itself in a transparent and “clean” manner – I see a theme surfacing). They go the extra step of providing the user everything in the Sukle portfolio – not to mention, clear explanations (listed with a photographed example) as to why and how the medium was used for the campaign. So I guess my “clever outdoor advertising” Google search was a success!

More #amazeballs UOWYN campaign examples are available on Sukle’s website, check it out just for fun.

Additional Items of Interest:
Denver Water’s website (for campaign)
Sukle Advertising & Design website

Kisses from B

Miss B

Miss B

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POST#5: Somewhat more serious and educational

"We create chemistry that makes "wow" love "why""

“We create chemistry that makes “wow” love “why””

The print ad I selected for analysis is for BASF Kids’ Lab, found in the November 2013 edition of The Atlantic (*previously The Atlantic Monthly – but since it is only published 10 times a year, and there’s 12 months in a… I think you know where this is going).

For those unfamiliar with The Atlantic, it’s a periodical that was founded in 1857 by several literary greats (among them: Stowe, Emerson, Longfellow, et. al. – I assume that you might be able to guess their first names;/). Long known as a literary and cultural magazine, The Atlantic has expanded over the last 150 years to include politics, economics, tech, life, and educational focuses. Its readers are individuals who are identified as ‘thought leaders’ – similar to the magazine’s creators.

As mentioned in the sub headline/signature, BASF is a chemical company; while according to their website they are “the world´s leading chemical company”. I’ve never really known much about them beyond they help make the products we might purchase better. They have several business segments including: chemicals, plastics, performance products, functional materials and solutions, agricultural, oil and gas. So, from my perspective things we likely need, but that I have never been exceptionally interested in – which is probably my loss.

As a female, I was never über intrigued by many of the sciences (or math) while growing up. In school, the most exciting part of science for me was lab. Labs allowed me to actively take part. The best part about chemistry was when I could take notes and draw with brightly colored pencils what I saw through a microscope. I think this is where BASF is on to something here; their use of limited but intense colors draws you in to their ad. Now, it’s probably not kids who are noticing the ad, so much as their parents or educators; but it still works.

It was refreshing to see BASF chose a girl to represent their program for Kids’ Lab; as it relates directly to my current group project for class focused on STEM curriculum for elementary school girls.

BASF Kids’ Labs are described on their www.wecreatechemistry.com website:

  • “We aim to foster science literacy by encouraging children aged 2-12 years old to discover the dynamic world of science and its wonders.”
  • “[Children] explore chemistry through engaging experiments, coupled with interactive Q&A sessions and practical demonstrations.”
  • “[We] harness the wonders of chemistry to captivate the inquisitive minds of younger generations, making them say things like, “wow!” and “awesome!” Science fuels their determination to discover…”

In this century we have moved into a time where so much of everything we do and use is inevitably related to some sort of science or technology. Therefore, it is critical that we generate more excitement about these fields in our children. Likely any fields they choose to go into whether business related or not it will require knowledge in these areas. To learn more about STEM, check out the online version of “A New National Education Imperative” published by The Atlantic on Oct. 9, 2013.

 

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POST #4: Queen Bee and the Red Badge of Courage

Straight from the mouths of babes, we finally have an ad with real words that real girls use. If not another ad ever airs promoting feminine hygiene products with a woman wearing white or a bathing suit to show me how secure I should feel as I’m bleeding like a stuck pig, I would be forever grateful. …Psst, that’s a hint for any of you marketing firms or manufacturers out there (Unilever, Proctor & Gamble) – you know who you are).

“Helloflo was born to deliver just what a woman needs when she needs it.” Targeting girls/women who menstruate, Helloflo is concerned with empowering women. Encouraging us to no longer be embarrassed to talk with each other about our periods.

With over 6,256,034 hits on YouTube, “The Camp Gyno” promotes Helloflo’s discreet tampon and pad delivery service. The advert was originally posted to YouTube on Jul 28, 2013; but it is also accessible via Helloflo’s website and various other blogs and discussion forums, on which its been broadly shared. And it’s no wonder really. I think many folks have been looking for honesty – the hilarity certainly does not detract from its amazingly campy awesomeness! You cannot seriously tell me that, “It’s like Santa for your vagina!” didn’t make you laugh.

What’s fabulous about this ad is that it broaches a topic that has forever been a general source of discomfort with men and women alike. In everyday conversations we speak in code to avoid directly discussing the topic of menstruation. We’ve lived in a society where it is uncouth to talk about something many of us clearly know exists; if not from our own experience, certainly from Health class.

Not only is it extremely refreshing to hear (at least close to) proper terminology; but also to have it coming from a young girl’s point of view.  And just in case anyone reading this was thinking that girls don’t talk about things like their periods or use words like this, you are sadly mistaken. As a previously young girl myself, I can assure you they do – I’d be happy to provide vouchers upon request.

Many thanks “Joan” or The Camp Gyno! My arc is waiting.

Final Notes:)
You can learn more about Helloflo’s Story, or check out Period Hacks, their Tumblr blog.
The song “QUEEN BEE,” featured in this video, was written/produced by: Stelios Phili, Jeff Luppino-Esposito, Pete Marquis and Ryan Campbell. You can download the song here.
Just on the off-chance there are folks out there who happen to be unaware, Tampax offers step-by-step instructions for How to Use a Tampon.