The Fabulous 40’s

The fabulous 40’s brought us many things including the baby boom, Billy Holiday, and television. It also brought a new age of advertising. When the majority of American men went off to war, they opened the door for more women and teenagers to have jobs. With more money to spend, women and children strengthened the economy during wartime but also became a new target audience for advertisers. With the invention of refrigerators and the working mother’s absence during dinnertime, frozen dinners were born. These meals were called TV dinners because kids’ dinnertimes were shifted from the dinner table to the television while their mothers worked. Advertising understood this and began to target working mothers trying to offer their children nutritious meals.  Swanson was one of these brands.

Working mothers weren’t the only new target audience. Teenagers were now part of the employed population and had money to spend. Advertisers realized this and began to create commercials to entice the younger generation to purchase their brands.  Between Band-aid ads featuring playful children and animated popcorn ads narrated by “hip” kid’s voices, a new market of advertising was born.

According to, the first paid-for television advertisement in the United States ran on July 1, 1941. It aired during a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The Bulova ad, which lasted a whole minute, cost only $9.00. That would be extremely cheap in today’s market. According to Skyworks Marketing, today’s ads run between $3000 and $25,000.

Advertising has come a long way since the first Bulova ad. That first simple ad was the beginning of a marketing explosion that continues to grow. We have ads for print, for the Internet, and for everything in between. What will the next generation of marketing and advertising bring us? Hologram images flashing in the sky? Will billboards somehow be customized for the person viewing them? What do you think the next ten years will hold?

- Susan Willetts

Nike Knows How to “Just Do It”

Nike, the leader in manufacturing footwear and apparel has been building and strengthening their brand since their first advertisement in 1982. Currently, Nike has become a household name and can be easily recognized by consumers by their iconic swoosh logo. Before running advertisements on television, Nike promoted their brand based on sponsorships and celebrity endorsements, both professional and college athletes. In order to differentiate their company from their biggest competitor, Reebok, Nike chose to promote their shoes as fashion accessories to consumers. They also began to focus their advertisements on the stories of the people wearing the product, instead of solely on the product.

As their brand was quickly growing, Nike employees decided to sign on with Wieden and Kennedy (an advertising agency) to help promote their brand. The “Just Do It” tagline was created while in a meeting when Dan Wieden (one of the founders) said to the Nike employees, “You Nike guys, you just do it.” With just that one phrase, the history of Nike advertising changed.


When the famous tagline, “Just Do It”, was first brought into their marketing scheme, Nike was trying to regain its position as the industry leader. During the 1980s the aerobics industry climaxed giving competitors an open range of new business development within the sportswear industry. In order to show consumers that Nike was different from its competitors, Nike held a major product and marketing campaign in 1987. The campaign was supported by a memorable TV ad whose soundtrack was the original Beatles’ recording of ‘Revolution.’ From the “Revolution” campaign, Nike then launched a broad yet empowering series of ads with the tagline “Just Do It.” The beginning of the “Just Do It” ads was in 1988 when a commercial airing Walt Stack, an 80 year-old running legend, jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge stating that he runs 17 miles every day. In 1989, Nike’s cross-training business peaked and the brand slogan had regained the position as the industry leader back to its rightful owner and has held this title since.

Nike entered the 1990s decade with a focus on sports players and designing national team uniforms around the world. In the past, Nike has designed apparel and footwear for golf and soccer. Nike decided to expand their sports designs to various sports including basketball, tennis, and football. Nike signed the World Cup winning Brazilian National Team as their uniform designing brand in 1995. Also they signed for the US men’s and women’s national soccer teams as well as many others. Nike also branded its company with by using iconic athletes in their commercials like Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Tiger Woods. In 1996, Nike sponsored the young Tiger Woods a gracious amount of $5 million per year. Tiger Woods proved his golfing abilities to doubtful critics in the 1997 Masters after winning by 12 strokes. “I’ve heard I’m not ready for you. Are you ready for me?” are the final lines of Nike’s obstinate introduction of Tiger Woods. In the 1996 ad titled, “Hello World”, Nike foreshadowed the future dominance the golfing world was about to encounter.

Nike boomed into the 20th century with the introduction of Nike Shox, which was a whole new type of shoe. Shox provide groups of small hollow columns in the middle of the shoe soles. These columns were designed to add an extra comfort factor to the shoe, as well as a spring that gives more power to an athlete. Shox have been one of Nike’s most successful products throughout their history. They also reinforced the idea that Nike truly cares about the comfort of the athlete. Throughout the 2000s Nike continued to improve their products and put time and effort into the advertising of the products. In 2003 Nike was named “Advertiser of the Year” by Cannes Advertising Festival, making it the first company to hold that title twice (the first time was in 1994). The following year their annual revenues exceeded $13 billion. Their obvious hard work was paying off.

Within the past 10 years, Nike has introduced several new types of shoes such as the Air Jordan XX and their eco-friendly Nike Considered line. Currently Nike has developed a 5 year plan with their goal being to reach a $36 billion revenue by 2017. They plan to reach this goal by focusing on the growth of the brand and giving extra attention to their women’s apparel. If there is one thing that Nike has successfully done over the last 25 years, it’s expanded and branded their products effectively.

Nike is a brand that never stops growing and developing. They continuously create goals for themselves as a company and seem know exactly how to keep reaching those goals. What do you remember most about the Nike brand over the past few decades?

- Hannah Turner, Emily Foulke, Briana McWhirter

Big Brother is Watching You FaceTime: 30 Years After “1984”


On January 24thApple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.”

On January 22, 1984, what is widely regarded as one of the greatest television advertisements of all time aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. The one-minute spot is a postmodern representation of George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel, 1984, which depicts a futuristic totalitarian society stripped of all freedom and individualism.

In 1983, Apple and IBM battled for market share as the two giants in the computer industry selling over one billion dollars of PCs that year. In 1983, at his company’s keynote address, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs made clear that IBM is a fierce competitor gunning to dominate the industry.

“Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future…they are increasingly and desperately turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom.”–Steve Jobs, 1983

During his address, Jobs unveiled the ad to an exclusive audience for the first time, to thundering applause. The ad, created by Chiat/Day, ultimately positions Apple and Mac as empowering, liberating, and individualistic, unlike the IBM view that computers are nothing more than tools. IBM is gray, cold, mechanical. Apple is colorful, creative, independent. This ad separated Mac to start the “Mac versus PC debate” that is still relevant today.


Which of these guys do you picture in an office at IBM?

In 2009, Hunch did a survey to analyze personality traits between Mac and PC users. They found that Mac users are more likely to see the existing world as the same all the time and want to be seen as different and unique. They are more apt to call themselves “verbal”, “conceptual”, and “risk-takers”.  The Mac brand is still as relevant today as it was 30 years ago at its introduction, and its consumer base reflects it.

The “1984” ad has also found itself injected into American culture. In 2007, Phil de Vellis used the visuals from the Macintosh ad and made it into “Vote Different”. It uses sound bites and images of 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to put her in the role of “Big Brother”—the role IBM took in the original ad. The woman with the sledgehammer that represented Mac became equated to Barack Obama. The video went viral and is a great example of using appropriation to communicate a message.

From “1984” to “Think different.” to “Get a Mac”, Apple’s advertising for Macintosh has continued to embody the individualism Steve Jobs envisioned for the brand. Now, 30 years after it was introduced, what does the Mac brand mean to you?

-Nathan Evers

Product Placement: Relatable or Repulsive?

Product placement is a very powerful tool that has been used by companies since the late 19th century. Believe it or not product placement was first used in novels, one of which was Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” where shipping companies paid so that they may be mentioned in the novel. Later we see the use of product placement in film and today product placement can even be seen in video games.

It seems like product placement in American films has gone from something companies used to raise awareness about their brand, to movie producers’ main way to generate revenue before the motion picture is even released. This is something that has been going on since the early 1900’s, but has reached new levels of ridiculousness in the past twenty years or so. While it began as subtle background mentions and clever references, many believe product placement to just be too aggressive now. A few years ago, “Transformers” set the record of product placements with over 47 different brands getting exposure throughout the film. Seems a bit much, right? Well box office hit “Man of Steel” has broken the record with over 100 different companies paying for product placements and promotional tie ins. He film had grossed around $160 million before it even hit the theatres!

Here we have a quick and interesting video giving the brief history of product placement in movies. While the video is just a few years outdated, it is very informational and effective in bringing light to this ongoing trend in our media.

One side of the argument would state that this is a great way to keep money rolling through our media channels, and that the more recognizable products we see in our movies or programs, the more realistic and believable those programs are. In a way, the product placement makes the program more relatable for the viewers.

On the other side, many viewers see this as blatant advertising that may very well disrupt the narrative of the program they are trying to enjoy. The last thing someone wants to see in the middle of an intense or intriguing scene is some unashamed reference to a product or service that has nothing to do with the situation anyways.

Does product placement make movies seem more realistic and relatable to you, or is the excessive amount of product placement a turn off from what you watch?

-Austin Johnson, Jade Lester, Jami Rogers, Ty Thomas

Out With The Old, In With The New: Technology Decides It All

Everyday you as a consumer are exposed to hundreds of thousands of brands. Over the decades the shopping industry has exploded with most brands disappearing at the same rate new ones appear, yet some brands have stood the cluttered test of time – one of those is Macy’s.

Created in 1858 by Rowland Hussy Macy the Macy’s store was originally a dry goods store. Macy’s started to gain notable recognition in the 1900s with its holiday window displays and the hiring of Santa Claus for the stores. In 1924 the store moved to its current NYC location, on the corner of Broadway and 34th Street. This year was also the first Macy’s Day Parade, which was organized to celebrate immigrant employees new American Heritage.


In 1944, Macy’s became apart of the Federated Department Stores, Inc., renamed Macy’s Inc. creating the world’s largest department store. Today, Macy’s has 800 stores in the United States and sells merchandise online.

Macy’s isn’t the only iconic retailer – Sears Roebuck ring a bell? Starting in 1886, the mail order company prospered as it was able to provide low cost alternative to farmers. As mail order plants transitioned into stores, Sears found their place in city life and the retailer soon became a retailer giant. Today the store owns 863 mall-based operations and 1200 other locations including hardware, outlet, tire, and battery stores.

sears catalogue

Nowadays Macy’s and Sears are direct competitors, but it seems Sears, the company who invented mail order, can’t quite figure out online order.

Holiday sales account for a large indicator of profit margins and often depict the health of a company. Sears seems to be in critical condition – US stores suffered a 9.2 percent drop. In decline for some time now, and with little to no improvement, some speculate the store could be gone by 2017.

The history of an iconic brand is something that should be cultivated in your identity – it induces credibility, shows longevity, and prompts nostalgia. Yet being historic isn’t merely enough to remain vibrant. Iconic companies remain iconic because they are able to cultivate lasting relationships with consumers – at all time periods – and that means evolving.

Looking at each retailers attempt to reach customers during the holiday seasons could explain Sears 9.2 percent drop in sales. Both have social media accounts, yet social media presence is widely disproportionate. Macy’s Instagram account has 150,00 followers while Sears has two Instagram accounts – “Sears” and “Sears Style” – yet both of the followers combined don’t even reach 8,000. A huge missed opportunity for Sears – Instagram is leading the way in social media, growing faster than Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest combined.

According to Gary Vaynerchuk’s article “The Road to Black Friday: Macy’s vs. Sears”, the use of social media by Sears is lazy. Choosing to ignore the social media culture they have posted irrelevant and uninteresting content such as a link to one of their commercials and an original YouTube video. While Macy’s post content that is culturally relevant, trendy, and formed around pop culture.

Our culture today has switched, as James Twitchell describes it, “In the last generation we have almost completely reversed the poles of shame so that where we were once ashamed of consuming too much (religious shame), we are now often ashamed of consuming the wrong brands (shoppers’ shame)”. In this day in age a brand establishes and remains relevance by relationship cultivation, reinforcement, and engagement forged through technology – the Internet and social media. It seems Sear’s inability to adapt to technology has prevented them being able to participate in the younger crowds culture leading in profit and brand influence. As an American brand we hope Sears can get back into the groove but as they stand now they are the weakest link.

In what other ways do old brands stay new? Can you think of any others that have had a hard time capturing new generations of shoppers? Or others that have done well?

- Caroline Robinson, Savannah Valade, Elizabeth Harrington

A Brand’s Dream World

The ways of marketing have changed drastically over the last 50 years. Brands are now more easily accessible to consumers through social media, they have created interactive campaigns, and more brands seem to be indulging in TV commercials that grab attention. But one thing has remained: nothing says advertising like handing out free things with your logo on it.

Spring break is not an exception to this rule. It has become a hub for expensive and outrageous advertising campaigns. All through March, companies like Unilever and Gillette are infiltrating Daytona Beach and Panama City Beach in Florida with sponsored events, beachfront oxygen bars and ads on everything from the simplest of koozies to even pillow cases and shower curtains. Booths and buses line the street to attract consumers to a free gift bag that undoubtedly exposes them to their logo and their brand thousands of times that week.

Companies are starting to get more creative, however. One New York Times article stated that “Crest has created a tooth-brushing station on wheels that will appear outside nightclubs. Even the Army National Guard has a spring break presence: it is hoping to attract new recruits in South Padre with an obstacle course on the beach and recruitment officers passing out information.”

With all of this constant exposure to sunlight and advertising, one would wonder if it makes a difference in the sales of the products that are featured. The demographic of 18-24 year olds are fascinated with getting free things, and getting them immediately. We are not the group you choose to sit down and take a survey and receive something in the mail two weeks later.

One company that has made it its mission to attract spring breakers is Axe, the brand that makes body sprays and shower gels, but is more famous for its provocative commercials and advertising techniques. They have been attending spring break since ’06, in which they first created the “Axe Boot Camp: Spring Break Readiness” campaign to attract young men to buy their products.

That year, Axe also was featured in hotels with room keys stamped with Axe logos and posters in lobbies and elevators. The ads they featured before the week of spring break could’ve made mothers cringe at the thought, but young adult men fantasize about their spring break adventures. One ad offered “rules of engagement” on co-ed showering. Another gave tips on how to successfully proposition a woman in an elevator. Hotel guests were even given customized do-not-disturb signs that read “Mission in Progress.” One thing is for sure, Axe did not leave anything to the imagination for its consumers.

As IMC students, we have a learned disposition to notice all and every advertisement and marketing technique we see, because we know that everything is advertising. The kids on spring break, however, see it as a free bottle of water in 80 degree weather. The companies behind these brands are obviously generating revenue or some sort of positive reinforcement from their time at spring break, but perhaps their real intention is to attract that demographic in hopes of sustaining a long term consumer to brand relationship. Nothing says vacation like a hot budding romance, and who says it can’t be with a brand?

-Crystan Weaver

Students Help Students Travel

Ready to experience the world with exclusive travel discounts and rewards without breaking your college fund? Well we found just the website to make this process and your travels go much smoother. StudentUniverse is a technology company that offers these incentives and many more through their website. The best part? Membership is free! StudentUniverse is the leading student travel agency with almost one-third of all U.S. college students visiting the site every year. The website and blog offered by this company are operated by college students themselves. This team of students creates and spreads the latest trends so you know the destinations chosen are the “hottest” vacation spots this year.

This travel agency also coordinates campaigns to engage students with brands and destinations, gaining their attention and swaying purchase decisions. StudentUniverse sells exclusive airfares from over 60 airline partners as well as sale rates on hotels and tours all throughout the world. The company also writes a blog, likewise conducted by students, which discuss the latest and greatest deals. They offer apps that you can download that release discounts on hotels, tours and more. The blog posts also offer information and tips about the youth travel market and how this industry is growing. Airline deals are also displayed in the blog along with the benefits for international students. StudetUniverse also gives away free round trip flights to a maximum number of students and scholarships to study abroad.


StudentUniverse recently introduced WeHostels, which is a new application for any smart phone that allows users to book hotels or hostels last-minute all over the world. It also features over 200,000 properties listed within the app. The target audience of this app is for students and young budget-conscious travelers between the ages of 18 and 28. WeHostels is currently  one of the most downloaded apps across the globe. It has been called one of the “100 Brilliant Companies of the Year” by Entrepreneur Magazine.

One of the main components of WeHostel’s said brilliance is the emotional appeal of its campaign. Their campaign focuses on the destinations that people would like to travel to before death. This idea heavily utilizes pathos and pulls as the heart-strings of the target audience. WeHostels encourages people to deeply think about where they would love to travel most to before they die by using the hashtag “beforeidie” on Twitter. In turn of promoting the app via hashtag usage, WeHostels has made the promise to send a few lucky travelers on their dream bucket list journey. This is a prize that is sure to be coveted by inspired young travelers.

In addition to promoting #beforeidie on Twitter, WeHostel has also created a video to display their mission of empowering young travelers. The video shows different individuals on the street saying where exactly in the world they would like to go before they die. Once again, pathos is strategically incorporated into this advertisement by providing young dreamers with a sense of empowerment.  In the end of the short video, WeHostels encourages audience members to go to their website to take the next step in making their dreams come true.

The promotions and ideas that StudentUniverse provide are endless and the information is very beneficial for the average college student. StudentUniverse’s mission states, “It’s about getting the most out of your time in school. We believe in the positive effects that travel experiences can have on a person’s character and that having those experiences early on in life is critical in personal development”. They are a dedicated company who value the experience to travel and attempt to make the process a little easier. The company even offers a 24/7 customer support line for any comments, questions, or concerns at your convenience! Do you think that their use of pathos was effective in the overall advertisement of the app?

-Briana McWhirter, Hannah Turner, Emily Foulke