Trending Topics: Political Campaigns

With the next presidential elections only one year away, political campaigns are in full swing. The republican candidates have met multiple times to debate various topics of high concern to the American people in an attempt to pull voters early. With Obama having only one more year of his term in office, he is also working to attract voters to support him to another four years of Presidency. In fact, his recent announcement of a new college loan plan seems to be another attempt of attracting young voters; the voters who most popularly voted him into office in 2008. However, debating and new Presidential plans are not the only ways these candidates can depend on to win American voters in November of 2012; they also are in need of intensive marketing of the brand they want to represent via various strategies.
The use of traditional and non-traditional marketing tactics will be the primary difference between this election in comparison to those historically. The typical running of television, magazine, radio advertisements will most certainly be used; however these candidates will also need to perfect the art of social media if they are looking to appeal to the younger generational voters. These candidates will only stand out among the competition if they can look savvy to all generations while still maintaining consistency in their messages and vision for our country. The use of social media and non-traditional marketing tactics will not only bring attention to these candidates, but will also give a positive indirect message that they are embracing the advancement of social and technological advancements around them. Building an image, brand through these tactics will be a huge change in comparison to campaigns in the past, allowing their messages to gain momentum faster and build a following of all audiences successfully.

- Jared Sales, Sally Shupe, Oliver Evans

Symbols: The Real Creeper

When we thought of Halloween, many things came to mind: witches, bats, pumpkins, ghosts, and anything black and orange. These things together do not make Halloween, but they certainly reflect and symbolize the holiday. If you came out of hibernation and had no idea what time of the year it was and entered the nearest grocery store to find aisle after aisle of candy, costumes, and spooky decorations, you might get the hint that Halloween is here. Characters, Candy, costumes, and scary décor are some of Halloween’s most notorious symbols. Symbols serve as great resources for allowing the public to recognize a brand, whether it’s a holiday or simply a pair of shoes. Symbols stick in customers’ minds. Think about all of the symbols that most Americans would recognize in a heartbeat; the infamous golden arches (McDonalds), a the check mark on the side of a tennis shoe (Nike), an apple with a bite taken out of it (Apple).  These aren’t just pictures, and they are certainly not chosen at random.  These logos and symbols are not the product itself, but a representation of the brand. So why the overload of spooky sound effects and Dracula fonts around stores and on TV? Because everyone knows it’s almost Halloween, and these symbols are reinforcing this fact and preparing you for tricks and treats whether you realize it or not. Creepy, huh?

-Claire Dillard & LaPuasa

The 31 days of Hallomedia

On a scale of one to fun — Halloween is by far the most-fun holiday of all holidays. Christmas is great, Easter is swell, and Hanukkah has the tendency to get crazy, but Halloween tops them all in terms of an all-around good time. It is such a good time that there is an entire month, “Monstober,” dedicated to it on the Disney Channel! On ABC Family, 13 solid-packed nights of Halloween are sure to get you in the spooky-spirit!

And how could we ever forget the infamous annual hour-long special of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, which airs tonight at 8pm on ABC.  Other holidays are also heavily recognized in the media, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, however, they do not compare to the hype of Halloween and the month of October.

If you think about it, although Christmas is considered a Christian holiday, it is celebrated by a large number of non-Christians as well. The only thing is, Christmas is surrounded by other holidays that “steal its thunder,” if you will. Hanukkah and Kwanza, with New Years’ celebrations shortly after, withdraw some of the attention to Christmas. On the other hand, Halloween has October’s attention-span all to its self!

Every morning in the month of October talk shows across network television showcase all that Halloween has to offer in terms of recipes, decorating, and entertaining. The Today Show with Kathy Lee and Hoda provide you with the tasty treats and monstrous-mixed drinks. LIVE with Regis and Kelly share ideas for how to dress the snazziest at your Halloween event, while The Martha Stewart Show gets you ready to decorate your house in a ghoulish, yet glamorous way.

When else can you convert a fruit or vegetable into a bird! Our own blogger, Jordan, made these adorable Angry Bird-inspired pumpkins.

Later on in the day, while you are prepping your plans for the holiday with all of your newfound knowledge, holiday favorites are featured on T.V. Who doesn’t love seeing the Disney Channel’s Halloweentown and its three other entries, Halloweentown II, III, and IV. Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Casper round out some of the classics featured on television during the month of October. It’s amazing, if you think about it — all of these great movies and shows that are featured each year were filmed many years ago; yet, they continue to market to us and we keep tuning in!

With Hallomedia, we can enjoy the entire month of October with all it has to offer, not just the last day!

– Michela Noreski, Jordan Hill, Ashley Nelson

Some “Scary” Effects of Halloween Marketing

Fall is here and you know what that means- crisp autumn leaves, the weather’s cooling off, and of course Halloween is almost here!  As we look back on our previous years of trick-or-treating, we remember our costumes and of course which houses had the best candy. But when did this tradition evolve from simplistic and childish fun into a marketing frenzy? In 2010, $2 billion was spent in Halloween candy sales, and each American household spent around $22 dollars on candy.  And this amount is only predicted to grow with this coming year. With America’s huge obesity problems, doesn’t this seem to be a lot of money to be spending on candy? Marketers for the big candy companies couldn’t disagree more.

Since there is a lapse between back-to-school shopping and Halloween, there is a rush to fill this space with something. Instead of maybe taking a little break, we are asked to engage in a month and a half long Halloween shopping extravaganza.  Mars, Inc, hosting candy bars such as Snickers, are taking full advantage of the Halloween season, with a Halloween-themed commercial featuring an entire 5 rows of Snickers candy bars. Sure this is great for the economy, but is it great for our health? The average American consumes about 24 lbs of candy per year, most of it in the immediate period of time following Halloween. Although there’s nothing wrong with having a little candy on Halloween, it might be helpful to step back and look at our consumption.

-Lauren Phelps, Jessica Kingman, & Alaethea Hensley

The Spooky Branding Reality of Halloween

What is the most important thing about Halloween?  Your costume!  When we were younger, we thought running around the neighborhood for a few hours trick or treating was the essence of Halloween.  But as college students, we start pondering our costumes weeks or even months in advance, while candy and parties are afterthoughts.  A Halloween costume allows you to express yourself more freely than you can in everyday clothes, and for many college students it is the most important outfit of the year.  Some people spend hundreds of dollars putting together the perfect costume, complete with make-up, wigs and props.  Last year, the costume most searched on Google was Lady Gaga.  This year, the two top searches appear to be Nicki Minaj and Charlie Sheen.  Among other popular searches are Pan Am, Amy Winehouse, Rihanna and Katy Perry.

When we were children, we dressed up as witches, robots, zombies and the occasional super hero.  Today, we dress up like celebrities.  Maybe this indicates that during college, our behaviors are influenced by ethos more than when we were younger.  The fact that many college students transform themselves into their favorite stars for Halloween may correlate with the general spending habits of people ages 18-24.  If many people are buying things to look like celebrities for Halloween, it is safe to assume that they are buying things related to celebrities for everyday items as well.

Being in the headlines helps celebrities promote their brand whether it’s intentional or not.  Halloween gives celebrities the greatest opportunity for celebrities to increase their brand awareness.  Those featured in the news and by other media outlets are getting their brand out there.  The people dressing up as these celebrities for Halloween are ultimately walking advertisements for the celebrity they are trying to imitate.

-Stephanie Bakolia, Claire Outlaw, David Glaubach

Trick or treat..Smell my feet..IMC

To many people, Halloween strictly means candy, tricks, costumes, and monsters. However, Halloween actually has a history rooted in religious conquests and power struggles; a characteristic that most people are unaware of. This national holiday dates back to Celtic pagan festivals that celebrated the end of the harvest season.Druid ceremony They believed that on this day the spirits would come back to earth and roam free; causing mischief and looking for living souls to possess. The people would dress up in frightening costumes, make blood sacrifices and leave food outside of their front doors in an attempt to ward off the evil spirits and appease their appetites. Halloween only fundamentally changed when the Romans took the Celtic lands and forced Christianity among its people. The Romans adopted the Celtic celebrations, infusing their religious beliefs into the concepts, and named it “All Saints Day” in order to honor the saints that did not have a day of their own.  By the 1500s, “All Saint’s Day” had become “All Hallows’ Day”, and the Celtic festival had begun to be known as All Hallows’ Evening, Hallow Evening, and eventually… Halloween. 
This holiday fell somewhat dormant until 1921 when the first citywide celebration of Halloween began in Anoka, Minnesota; followed by New York and L.A. Only about 5% of the American population celebrated this holiday until now, as it has become one of the most celebrated holidays in the US. With this mainstream evolution in mind, many businesses are in debt to the creators of such a day. From candy to costumes, this day turns out to be one of the most profitable of the year, making the importance of marketing efforts vitally important. The goal of the holiday is no longer to ward off evil spirits; but rather to have the best costume and best collection of candy. For one day every year, people feel it necessary to build a costume based on their perception of a person, product, or trend; driving attention to some of the biggest “hits” of the year. Since everyone is now participating in the tradition, the role of marketers is to offer these costumes and candies to every main audience of Halloween: children, parents, teenagers, and young adults, in hope that their variety will be selected as the “hot item” this year.

Jared Sales, Sally Shupe, Oliver Evans

Moogfest 2011

While most of North Carolina will be adding the finishing touches to their Halloween costumes next weekend, Asheville will be jamming out to some of the hottest artists in electronic music.  The second annual Moogfest will be taking place at various venues throughout the north side of downtown Asheville on October 28th-30th.  Although this is only the festival’s second year,  there is a lot of buzz about its highly anticipated lineup of over 70 artists from around the world, including big names such as Flaming Lips, Moby, and Passion Pit, just to name a few.

 The three-day festival was created to honor one of electronic music’s pioneers Bob Moog—the inventor of the Moog synthesizer.  This legendary instrument has changed modern music forever and has been used by hundreds of artists, from legends like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Stevie Wonder, to some of today’s all-stars like Daft Punk, Dr. Dre, and even Michael Jackson. The celebration of Moog’s legacy will even go beyond the music; there will also be visual art exhibitions, film screenings, a costume contest, and some of the wildest installations created from Bob Moog’s own imagination.

 What sets Moogfest apart from other music festivals?  At Moogfest, attendees have the opportunity to interact with some of the artists in panel sessions, and workshops.  There are even workshops that allow festival-goers to actually learn how to play some of the different Moog instruments. This is a perfect example of audience-brand interaction and experiential marketing.  What better way to create brand awareness than to let consumers experience your products?  Or in this case, create an experience for them?

Here’s a little taste of how and why last years artists created that experience at Moogfest 2010

The best part about Moogfest is that there are still tickets available!
For more information about tickets or the festival itself, check out the Moogfest Facebook, Twitter, or website: www.moogfest.com .

To learn more about Bob Moog and Moog instruments, you can visit his website: www.moogmusic.com.

-LaPuasa, Dillard, Reinhardt