My Advertising Inspiration

10 12 2008

I think it is always interesting to find out why people choose the fields they are in. In my case, I knew my entire life I would go into advertising. My main inspiration was my father, who had a very successful agency for almost 20 years. But there was a specific campaign that always caught my eye growing up and that was with Benetton (I actually ended up working in a store on my college breaks!) Benetton has always “pushed the envelope”. Going on the slogan “The United Colors of Benetton” it was the first ad campaign that I remember that the print ads had nothing to do with the product actually sold.  Their campaign was recognized by how controversial they could appear. These 2 examples show what I am saying:

The first refers to The Cycle of Difference

In this cycle, the word “different” became a close cousin of “controversial.” Benetton learned that dealing with the issue of difference within the process of advertising is not an easy task.  These ads depicted religious and sexual conflict (a priest kissing a nun), and yet another portrayed moral conflict (the stereotypes of good and evil, symbolized by an angel and the devil):

 campaign_history_92 campaign_history_102                                 

By acknowledging these differences and prohibitions, the brand appeared more involved. It took sides, rather than presenting a simple “objective” portrayal of the world. Benetton had a plan: to integrate opposites, to unite differences under a single flag, the flag of its own logo. In this phase, the “product” gradually disappeared from the advertisements.

The second is the Cycle of Reality

In 1991, during the Gulf War, this image was created, a photo of a war cemetery: also

campaign_history_112   campaign_history_121

The photo of the newborn baby girl, Giusy, was intended as an anthem to life, but was one of the most censured visuals in the history of Benetton ads. In the realm of advertising, traditionally occupied by pretense, the eruption of real life caused a scandal. As you can guess, many publications refused to print these. Which raises another question – is all publicity good publicity? Maybe I will save that issue for next time…

-Krista Rodriguez


Careers In a Recession?? Come on board!!

5 12 2008

Yahoo news has a interesting report on careers with solid futures, even during a recession.  Nurse, Engineer and school teacher made the list, which are consistent and expected.  But, internet marketer made the list as well.  As marketing changes, The Impact Group fully understands the needs of online marketing skills, including video-integrated marketing. Hit me up if you agree!

Internet Marketer ($53,000) — from Internet Marketing Specialist ($43,000) to Internet Marketing Life Coach — $203,000

Online marketers, also called eMarketers or Internet advertisers, work in a lively business sector that changes every day. One of those changes, according to the BLS 2008-09 Occupational Outlook Handbook, is continued growth. “Advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales manager jobs are highly coveted and will be sought. … In particular, employers will seek those who have the computer skills to conduct advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales activities on the Internet.”


Be in style with AP Style

5 12 2008

Throughout our schooling as children, we learn the principles of grammar and writing. We learn all the basics from don’t start a sentence with “And” and don’t use a comma before “and” in a series. Over the years, however, we become relaxed about the rules and even debate with others about what grammar rules they learned in grade school. We can sometimes get away with not being correct because most people reading our writing may have forgotten the rules anyway.

 In public relations, there’s no fudging the rules.

 Public relations practicioners use AP Style writing. It’s the style of writing used by journalists who write for magazines and newspapers.

 AP Style can be kind of funky because it uses very specific rules on how to write out specific words. For example, months of the year should be spelled out only when it’s not used with a specific date (i.e. December 2008) and should be abbreviated when a specific date is used (i.e. Dec. 8, 2008). Rules like these fill the 400-plus page AP Style book.

 So, when you’re reading the newspaper or are reviewing a press release, and you see odd-looking grammar, know that the journalist or PR specialist is not educated about grammar. They’re just following the AP Style rules.


Usability is key to web site success

5 12 2008

Have you ever visited a web site with a specific action in mind (finding info, buying something, getting a phone number, whatever), but once you arrived, you spent several minutes just trying to figure out where to even start? I’m surprised that even today, with all the knowledge we have about the web and how people use it, some organizations still forget to consider usability as a major factor in designing a web site.

Even the giants forget sometimes. Just look at Yahoo! and Google, for example. Both, at their core, offer search engine functionality. But, at just a quick glance, Yahoo has so much more going on that you can get distracted (which may very well be Yahoo’s intention).

Another example: Kenton County School District in the Cincinnati area vs. Garfield Heights City Schools near Cleveland. The Kenton site, while offering a wide variety of informational options, doesn’t provide the visitor with any specific direction; instead the home page is a long list of sections within the site. Garfield Heights, on the other hand, clearly addresses the potential audiences who may visit the site – students, parents, staff, alumni and community. In a quick glance, the visitor can choose which area he/she is looking for, and in one click, get to that information.

One more example: Trinity Pension Consultants vs. Third Party Administrators. If I’m a financial advisor or a business owner looking for an organization to help administer my 401k, and I come across these two sites in my search…it’s clear who I would be calling. While Third Party Administrator requires that the visitor read nine paragraphs of content right on the home page, the Trinity Pension Consultants site provides a quick educational video on the home page, along with two distinct options for valuble “Resources.”

These are just a few examples, but you get the point. When designing a web site, the user MUST come first. It’s not about how you can best get all the information you want on one page! It’s about making it simple for the visitor (ie. your customer/prospect/partner/vendor) to find what they are looking for.



4 12 2008

Social media can be difficult to track. So many people are talking in so many different places.

A new service called BackType lets you track blog comments so whenever someone says something about your company on a blog, you get an alert.

It’s a great tool to help clients track what’s being said. Then, they can respond to those comments if there are questions or if there is misinformation being presented.

And not only can you follow comments, you can follow influential bloggers to see what they have to say, which is great for the PR profession. See PR Squared’s post on BackType.

So yes, social media can be difficult to track, but there are free tools out there to help you do it. And it’s worth it.


Image Is Everything!

3 12 2008
Uh, yeah.
Uh, yeah.

 When running for the Senate from Georgia, it is important to uphold a certain image that reflects you as a candidate, and which resonates with your key targeted voters. Mr. Martin, this image has circulated across your state, across the country and, with the aid of the internet, across the globe.

Many of us recall the image of Governor Dukakis in the tank.  Or, more recently, Senator Kerry in the space suit that looked like he just came off the Hollywood set for “Outbreak”.  Or, how about George H.W. Bush throwing up in the lap of the Japanese prime minister??  Image is everything!!
Best of luck in your next career. I am sure the hip hop community will be very supportive of your endeavors.

President-Elect Obama Starts Early, Forever Tied to Bush Administration

2 12 2008

Martin Moleski

I may be young, but I don’t ever recall the United States having two presidents at the same time. In fact, I’m pretty sure our Constitution prohibits it. I am, of course, speaking of the unprecedented action of a president-elect while the current president is still in office. Don’t get me wrong, some of our nation’s problems could probably be better solved with two presidents in office, but I tend to look at things purely from a political perspective.

First off, let’s talk about President Bush.  Am I supposed to feel bad for him at this point? The length of his lame-duck presidency is going on two years. He became somewhat more relevant during the beginning of the fiscal crisis, but it has been particularly difficult to watch him since November 4.  At this point, all he can say is, “I’m sorry,” and hope that his successor can deal with the problems that have happened during his administration. I’m not defending some of the actions his administration made during the past eight years, but I’m still a firm believer that the root of the financial collapse, which included banks giving Americans mortgages they couldn’t afford for houses they didn’t need, started well before he took office. If you don’t believe me, read this article and pay attention to the date. I’m sure you have your own reason for why we are in this mess, but I choose to pay attention to the facts.

Now, on to President-Elect Obama.

By starting his administration two months early, President-Elect Obama is taking a huge political risk. Again, think about it purely from a political perspective. America is in the midst of fighting two wars and a historic financial collapse where billions, soon to be trillions, of American taxpayer dollars are bailing out banks, financial institutions, the auto industry (?) and eventually states, such as Ohio, that are strapped for cash. Obama is walking on a frozen Minnesota Lake….in April. It’s just waiting to crack.

Obama ran a masterful campaign that focused on one word; change. It was the right message for this election, which is why John McCain tried to steal it.  So why on Earth would he try to tie himself in to the problems our nation faces before he even takes office? Obama will be 60+ days into his honeymoon period before he even takes office and Americans will already be questioning his decisions.

Some of those decisions he has made, while good for the nation, are beginning to show how difficult being president really is. For example, the nomination of Robert Gates to continue on as Defense Secretary is the right move for our national security, but it also begins to validate some aspects of the Bush Administration.  I know that may be difficult for some of the readers to comprehend. However, Obama spent two years bashing Bush’s handling of the war and then nominates the current Defense Secretary. While this is just one isolated example, I have to ask if this is the change Obama voters were really looking for?

President-Elect Obama had an opportunity to start fresh. Out with the old and in with the new on January 20. That opportunity is now gone.  The long-term implications of serving as president prior to being inaugurated comes one year from now when we ask ourselves, “Who was president when we learned the United States was in a recession?”  We live in a nation that wants our president to be the problem-solver-in-chief. It is not possible. My gut tells me that Obama will shoulder some of the blame from decisions made by his predecessor. Unlike President Bush, however, Obama will only have himself to blame.