Social Media Review – Twitter and Instagram

Myspace was a game changer in the world of social media. It revolutionized the way people – particularly young people – communicated with one another. As Myspace chugged on, another social networking sight was launched that went by the name of Facebook. Since its launch, Facebook pretty much demolished Myspace and it too revolutionized the way people – and this time more than just young people – communicated with one another. Businesses, blogs, television shows all began to use Facebook to connect with their clients, readers and fans. Older people also began using Facebook which, some say, is the reason Twitter and Instagram were able to emerge and capture the attention of younger people. The same way Myspace and Facebook changed communication, Twitter and Instagram have too.

As a young person myself, I have definitely seen people my age and younger gravitate towards Twitter and Instagram and away from Facebook for reasons including getting away from so-called annoying older relatives. If you survey a random sample of adults 40 years of age and older, chances are many of them would not know how to operate “newer” social media such as Twitter and Instagram. Young people realize this and have flocked to these sites. Advertisers too have realized this and are gravitating to these new media.

The advertisement that I usually see on Twitter and Instagram tend to be more pop culture, nationwide ads. I see a lot of Coca-Cola, television shows and blogs being advertised on Twitter. While Twitter’s paid ads are not blatant ads, it is easy for an experienced Tweeter to tell the difference most of the time as Twitter usual a “Promoted Tweet” banner at the bottom of the tweet.

Instagram has just recently announced the addition of advertisements on its users’ feeds, but up until this point, I’ve only seen one paid advertisement on my Instagram news feed. This could be because of negative user feedback – many Facebook users became disgruntled with the ever-increasing amount of ads that appeared while using the site, and even attribute that to their decision to slack off on their Facebook use. Instagram, which Facebook recently acquired, may have decided to heed users’ threats to leave.

I would say that, more than paid advertisement, advertisers and brands use Twitter and Instagram as free advertising. If you can get people to follow you, you have their attention whenever they scroll through their feed. On Twitter, it is usually some witty joke in 140 characters or less. Sometimes it is a “feud” with someone else. CNN personality Piers Morgan is infamous for the Twitter feuds that he instigates and responds too. As a result his Twitter account and his brand have positively benefitted. Through Morgan’s use of Twitter, his amount of followers and reach has increased exponentially. This has not necessarily translated to television ratings as Morgan’s nightly show was very recently canned by CNN for low ratings. Nevertheless, Piers Morgan, everyone’s most hated Brit, is now more well-known than ever in America – at least on Twitter.

It seems that Instagram is a great place to build your brand if you’re a celebrity or good-looking. People seem to crave looking at attractive people. I guess that makes sense. Celebrities use this craving to their advantage by posting selfies that their fans adore. A female celebrity, who shall remain nameless, recently posted what some called a “nude” selfie in which she was in her underwear with a sign held in front of her. Parents became “outraged” because of their children seeing this. While some would see this as negative publicity, a good PR person would tell you that no free publicity is bad publicity when you’re trying to build your brand, which is what this particular celebrity has done.

Twitter and Instagram are definitely a new outlet for advertisers, companies and brands to take advantage of. And a lot of them are doing a good job at taking advantage. However, many brands have a ways to go before they fully master the art of branding on Instagram and Twitter – particularly small businesses and less tech-savvy brands. Regardless, these two social media platforms don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon and advertisers know this and are definitely taking advantage of it.

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Bud Light Presents Real Man of Genius Radio Copy

Bud Light Presents, Real Man of Genius.

–Start music–

Today, we salute you, Mr. Buffet Enthusiast. You and your mound of mashed potatoes with juicy, tender pot roast nestled on top like a baby in a carriage. Your mac-n-cheese and hot fudge ice cream. Your health conscious salad creation with its creamy ranch poured on top like shampoo on a dog.

You put the “buff” in buffet, you handsome, rugged man you.

So, crack open a nice cold Bud Light you perfecter of the buffet. You deserve it.

–End–

Ad Campaign Critique

Walmart is a well-known brand across the United States in the world. They are known for their low prices for a variety of products including food, toys, clothing, auto, home and garden. They are one of the top brands in the nation. With this amount of recognition – everyone knows what Walmart is – one would think that advertising might not be necessary. However, consumers’ tastes are constantly changing in 21st century America across many business spectrums. In retail, people are still looking for affordable prices, but they also want a nice, even upscale feeling while getting these affordable prices.

Walmart is aware of that as it is shown in their new store construction and in the remodeling of their existing locations. Their advertising department has also caught onto this consumer trend, but unfortunately does not always excel in accomplishing positive results, in my opinion.

They have definitely made strides in their latest television ads:

These ads usually feature one “guide” showing a Walmart customer some of Walmart’s low prices. The execution is quite well. The obviously typically feature the company’s nicer stores in the 30-second ad. The roles of the Walmart customer are seemingly middle class families – Walmart’s obvious target demographic. While I believe they are effective in showing their competitive price points, they could do a little to highlight some of the nicer features of the stores. Also, one critique I have always had is that they tend to stay within a racial box. What do I mean by this? Well, every commercial of this style that I’ve seen has had the guide and customer be of the same race; Caucasian guide, Caucasian customer; African American guide, African America customer. I don’t guess it is a huge deal; it’s just something that has always rubbed me the wrong way.

As far as print ads go, I do believe the Walmart branding needs to be modified. To wet the taste buds of an ever-increasing population that desires quality on a budget, Walmart’s print ads need to be given a fresh coat of paint – literally.

The color blue that I have seen recently screams “DISCOUNT STORE” to me. And that is perfectly fine for the Walmart of 10 years ago but times have changed. Take fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle for example. Their claim to fame is quality ingredients at an affordable price. Their stores are typically much nicer than fast-food establishments, and often more trendy and modern looking than casual chains with similar target demographics such as Chili’s or Applebee’s. With this approach, Chipotle is making ground on both fast-food and casual chains. People are getting an “upscale” feel, quality products and affordable prices.

I would say that Walmart should position itself, at least domestically, like Chipotle. And in many ways they are (i.e. the new look their stores are getting as mentioned before), but their print ads need to catch up. Take a recent sales ad that was put out:

Capture

I understand that Walmart’s primary colors have almost always been yellow and blue. I remember as a young kid going into the local Walmart and gazing up at the blue storefront, and getting a sticker from the door greeter that was a yellow smiley face. Blue and yellow are just in their blood. The company has begun getting away from it with the façades of their stores now becoming beige. While I don’t think Walmart’s advertising department should totally get rid of the blue and gold, they definitely need to richen them by altering their shade to a more modern, cool, relaxed and clean feel.

All in all, Walmart is doing a great job advertising and it is showing. Even in the midst of a sluggish world economy, Walmart is still the chain to beat. That takes good business strategy, good management, good products and services, affordable prices, but it also includes a great advertising strategy.

Evaluating My Body Language – TED Talk

After watching the TED Talk, I can definitely see where I can improve my body language. There are times – both in small settings and in large settings, where my body language is not exactly the greatest. I do a lot of public speaking – on a weekly basis – and through this my body language has improved. I now look up from my notes and look into the audience more, move my hands, and walk around a little as opposed to standing still like a frozen Popsicle. My body language still needs a lot of work when I am not on stage – when I am in the audience. A lot of this has to do, I believe, with the fact that we have a nearly infinite amount of information with us in our pockets at all times. Often times, when someone else is speaking, I do not give them my full attention because I am on my phone or tablet or laptop. From that person’s perspective, I look bored, rude and as if I do not want to be there. I also tend to yawn and daydream a lot, sending of bad body language signals.

In conclusion, while my body language is improving when I am in the spotlight, I still have a ways to go for my body language when I am listening to the person in the spotlight.

IMC

Three paths of Integrated Marketing Communications that one of my favorite brands, Chili’s, has is social media, public relations and paid advertising.

Chili’s, in my opinion, has a very successful social media presence. They are constantly receiving large amounts of consumer feedback on the brand’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. Their public relations is heavily utilized on the social media platforms by the account administrator apologizing to customer’s who received a less-than-satisfactory experience at a Chili’s restaurant, and gives them an address to email their concerns to. From personal experience, the response is rapid and they send out vouchers (mine came in the form of two $10 Chili’s gift cards) to the customer to attempt to make amends for the complaint. This is a fine use of public relations – making the unhappy, happy. 

Chili’s also uses more traditional paid advertising in the form of online banner ads through Google AdSense. I am constantly seeing ads appear urging me to try one of Chili’s new menu items. The frequency in which I see these ads tremendously escalates in the hours and days following a visit to chilis.com. 

If I had to add a 4th IMC to Chili’s portfolio, I would ad more large-scale promotions. The company currently offers smaller-scale promotions in the form of weekly coupons for items such as appetizers and desserts, but I would expand on that. It is clear that Chili’s as a solid social media following, good PR and worthy paid advertising, the only thing that would make it better is by partnering with a travel agency or concert ticket agency and offer customer’s a trip to an exotic locale or see a popular band or solo act perform. I have seen other companies do this and it seems to work. People love entering sweepstakes, even though the likelihood of a win is extremely will. Most of the time these sweepstakes appear in my Facebook timeline from friends of mine who have liked or shared the post. I have not once seen Chili’s appear on my news feed because of a customer writing a complaint on their timeline or by one of my friends receiving an email coupon. In short, adding a promotion such as a vacation or concert experience sweepstakes could build on the already solid integrated marketing communications that Chili’s employs. 

C.O.R.E.

What is my creative spirit? Such a question guides one along a path of self-discovery that reaches beyond the realm of creative advertising. Yes, thinking about how curious I am, how open I am, how much of a risk-taker I am and how much energy I have can have an effect on many aspects of your life: home, work, friends, diet, hobbies and more.

In the field of creative advertising, I would define my creative spirit as involving all four parts of C.O.R.E., each in its own amount. I would say that I am pretty curious. I tend to search things out that I want answers too, but I very rarely go way out of my way to fins said answers. Therefore, on a 5-letter grading scale, I would rate my curiousness as a solid B.

I am quite open, but my degree of openness varies with the area of life. In the area of advertising, I am quite open. I like advertising that is out-of-the-box and unorthodox. I’d grade my openness as an A. A+ would be nice, but I’m not certain I’m that open.

Next up, risk. At first I believed that my grade would be identical for openness and risk since I believed they were essentially the same thing. After more thought, I would argue that they are not the same. While I am quite open in my acceptance of diverse advertising, I do not believe I am risky to attempt everything that I am open to. Therefore, I would come in at a C+ in risk.

Last, but certainly not least, energy. I am pretty energetic when it comes to things I am passionate about. I’m not energetic enough to the point where I’ll go shirtless to an LSU game with my body painted purple and gold, but I am energetic nonetheless. I would grade myself as a B in energy.

Overall, my self-evaluation of CORE creative spirit comes in at a B.