One Country Painted Red

With the rapid growth of new products, brand extensions and the blurring of traditional and new age advertising, marketing and advertising to target audiences has reached a new level of competitiveness. Brands now must adapt to this changing environment and contest with competitors to stay at the top of their market and target to audiences in creative, attention-grabbing tactics.

The most iconic brand in the soda market, and throughout the world, is undoubtedly that of Coca-Cola. In the summer of 2011, Coke created an original marketing strategy to run a campaign that would inspire people to connect with the brand both online and offline in order to acclimate to the changing marketing environment. The campaign’s prime objective was to increase consumption of Coke over the summer season and to get people to fall in love with the iconic brand again. Particularly, in Australia, at the time nearly 50% of teens and young adults had never tasted a Coke and this drove the brand to reconnect with the country.

Established in Australia, the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign immediately received positive media attention and consumer responsiveness. The idea of the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was to place Australia’s 150 most popular names on the front of millions of Coca-Cola bottles, simple right? This was the first time in 125 years that Coke had made such a paramount transformation to it packaging, and it was revolutionary.

“We used publicly available data to review the most popular names in Australia and ethnic representation in Australia to ensure the diversity of our multi-cultural nation was represented appropriately.”

- Coca-Cola Spokesperson.

The Coca-Cola brand wanted to initiate conversations by putting Australians front and center and inspire them to connect with people and ‘Share a Coke’. The central theme that gave ‘Share a Coke’ its power was the way a brand so universal could replace its logo with individual names by reaching out to consumers and personalizing its brand to individuals.

“We are using the power of the first name in a playful and social way to remind people of those in their lives they may have lost touch with, or have yet to connect with”

-Lucie Austin, Marketing Director for Coca-Cola South Pacific.

The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign strategically exhibited that when personalization in advertising is done the right way, it can be highly appealing and extremely effective. While Coke got personal, media was buzzing with talk over what the brand was implementing behind the personalization. Coke remained silent until Australia’s highest rated media weekend. The campaign was revealed to the public and aired across the biggest weekend in Australian sport, during the AFL (Australian Football League) and NRL (National Rugby League) grand finals which reached over 30% of the population.

Succeeding the campaign launch, requests for more names were coming in the thousands. Coke was prepared for this boom of requests by setting up kiosks that toured 18 Westfield shopping centers attracting consumers to personalize any name on a Coca-Cola bottle.

Coke wanted to especially reach out to the 50% of young adults that had never tasted a Coke in Australia, and there was no better way to reach this target market than online. Participation and mass allocation was achieved through Facebook by providing consumers with the resources to connect and ‘Share a Coke’ by creating a personalized virtual Coke bottle to share with a Facebook friend. Consumers were tagging friends in pictures with personalized Coke bottles and sharing stories on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Coke consumers also could create their own commercials! With the abundance of requests still pouring in, Coke told consumers to put in a vote of “who do you want to share a Coke with the most?” via Facebook. After 65,000 people voted, Coke bottles with 50 new names were released. “Consumers were invited to SMS a friend’s name, which was projected live onto the iconic ‘Coca-Cola’ sign at Sydney’s King’s Cross. They then received an MMS enabling them to share their friend’s name up in lights, via Facebook and email.”

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The multi-platform communications strategy was implemented to ‘Share a Coke’ with someone you know, or want to know and ultimately gave people the resources to find, connect and share. After 3 short months of running the campaign, young adult Coca-Cola consumption increased significantly in Australia by up to 7%, making 2011 Coke’s most fruitful summer season in history. The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign resulted in 76,000 virtual coke cans shared, 378,000 extra coke cans printed at kiosks, and 5% more people were drinking coke. Coca-Cola had successfully won over Australia and became a part of popular culture again.

-Briana McWhirter

See the USA in Your Chevrolet, or See China in Your Buick

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. That line from this 1970s ad for Chevrolet exhibits the brand’s position as an American icon.

Fast-forward several decades, and General Motors’ Chevy is still an iconic American brand. Meanwhile, in China, the Chevrolet brand is still young. Chevy is China’s seventh-best selling brand, although two models, the Cruze (sold in North America) and the Sail are strong sellers.

While Chevy is still catching on in China, another longtime GM brand from the United States holds popular: Buick.

lugzaoaf2otau1jrolprYou may be asking yourself: Buick? Isn’t that the car for old people? Not so the case in China! In 2013, four times as many Buicks were sold in China than in the U.S.  Nearly 810,000 Buicks were sold in China, compared to over 205,000 stateside.

What explains Buick’s popularity in China? The answer is rooted in the early 20th century when important Chinese government figures such as president Dr. Sun Yat-sen, premier Zhou Enlai, and emperor Pu Yi either owned, drove, or were driven around in Buicks. This historical background adds to Buick’s image of upper class and prestige. Their advertising uses images of success to propel Buick to a high-end brand, such as in this Buick Excelle ad from the 2000s.

Establishing global brand coherence has its difficulties. To contrast, in the United States, Buick is having trouble shaking off the “55-to-dead” demographic, and they tackle that problem in this new ad that features the demographic commonly associated with the brand in the U.S. with the desired target demographic in the driver’s seat of the brand-new 2014 Buicks:

GM isn’t the only American automaker popular with the Chinese. Ford’s sales in China rose 49 percent in 2013, and the Ford Focus was China’s best-selling car that year. NPR interviewed 32-year-old Li Ning, who said he bought a Focus because he likes its muscular American style. In China, Ford is establishing its image as young and trendy.

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Auto China 2014, the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, kicked off on April 20th and runs until April 29th. At Auto China, Ford is introducing a luxury brand familiar to Americans—Lincoln.

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Lincoln’s model of selling cars in China is called “The Lincoln Way” and features luxurious showrooms that feel like a five-star hotel. Lincoln plans to focus on building customer relationships by understanding and fulfilling their needs. Lincoln may bring this style of personal selling to the U.S. based on how it works in China.

Only time will tell if Ford’s effort to introduce the Lincoln brand to China will be a success. Will it become a competitor to Buick, which is already established as a strong luxury brand in China? Are there other ways in which this is an example of globalization?

-Nathan Evers

We Love Our Moms (And So Do Advertisers!)

With just a couple weeks until another one of the biggest card holidays, Mother’s Day, card companies are gearing up their promotions. Last week, American Greetings released their new ad, “The World’s Toughest Job” and with over 14 million views in just one week, it’s safe to say the video has gone viral. This call to action is sure to have you considering whether or not to switch from Hallmark to American Greetings this year.

Prior to this advertisement, American Greetings ads consisted of mainly cute animals – much like the ones you can find on their actual greeting cards. What these ads were missing were what this recent ad captured – emotion evoking concepts – something competitors such as Hallmark have been relying on and capturing for years. See Hallmark’s “Proud Mom” ad below:

Yet, it seems that even Hallmark couldn’t capture the raw emotions that the Mullen Agency was able to evoke from the interviewees – simply starting with a job posting and 24 interview candidates. The finished piece was a compilation of honest reactions that left viewer’s hearts melting.

The American Greetings’ spot isn’t the only ad that has played on the love and appreciation of our mothers this year. Proctor and Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” series showed the mother as much a part of the Olympics as the athletes themselves. Several other companies including British Airways and General Electric have recently produced ads centered on mothers.

So what do these “tribute to mom” ads tell us and why do our hearts warm when we watch them? Understanding how advertising works tells us the answer. Ads tell us what is virtuous and what is our ideal world. These “shout out to moms” tell us what we virtue – the compassion mothers have and the love families have for their mother. In the ideal world, that appreciation would be shown by a card everyday, but since this isn’t the ideal world we hope to make it up on Mother’s Day.

So what do you think about all these ads centered on Mothers? Is it ethical to exploit this relationship that our society holds so valuable? Will you turn to buying an American Greetings card this holiday or stick with Hallmark?

- Caroline Robinson, Elizabeth Harrington

So You Want To Be A Media Planner?

Everyday a city dweller is exposed to 5,000 advertisements. With this many advertisements it is amazing that we actually remember some of them. Part of the remembrance is due to the work of media planners.

Media planning is the science of message dissemination. It specifically “refers to the process of selecting media time and space to disseminate advertising messages”. In order to find out more about this division and the work they do our blog group reached out to Zimmerman Advertising Assistant Media Planner Mariel Oweida.

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Oweida, a May 2013 graduate of the UNCW Cameron School of Business, began working for Zimmerman Advertising in December of 2013. She referred to media planning as,

“…finding appropriate media platforms for a client’s brand/product to use by determining the best combination of media to achieve the client’s marketing objective; media could include print, TV, radio, digital, OOH (out of home advertising- billboards, bus wraps, etc.)”

 Media planning begins with a Media Action Request (MAR) and ends with a media buy. Although the media planning division doesn’t actually negotiate the buying, they do work closely with buyers and account executives to make sure the plan is well executed.

Media planning is fast paced. Owieda explains she was surprised at the quick turn around. Having concentrated in marketing as an undergraduate, media planning was a new career path for her. Usually you need specific degree for advertising or experience from another ad agency but, she says, ad agencies look for candidates that are willing to learn and grow with the company.

Specifically, Zimmerman Advertising is a full-service agency that focuses on building national retail brands. Over the past 30 years it has become 14th largest advertising agency in the world and they currently bring in revenue of $100 million a year.

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Recently they moved their headquarters to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Their brand new office is beautifully constructed to promote a more casual, creative, and collaborative environment. Although this brand new building seems friendly and relaxed, it is full of hardworking individuals who go above and beyond to help clients meet their advertising objectives. In a previous interview with Elizabeth Harrington, Oweida described her typical workday as untypical. “You should never expect to go in at 8 a.m. or leave at 5 p.m. [You] almost always end up going in early and leaving later- that extra dedication is unpaid.”

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During her day Oweida works on budgeting clients money, conducting market research, and media placement. Already she has worked on accounts for Ashley Furniture, Boston Market and AC Moore. “The most challenging part of being an assistant media planner is paying attention to detail, executing the plan we provide, and dealing with clients,” Oweida says. “As a media planner it is your job to let clients know why they are spending their money the way you are telling them. It is important to keep up with research from Nielsen ratings, to demographics, income, and even how long people have owned homes. They all help you plan the media and explain the why to the clients.”

So as soon to be graduates we asked for the inside scoop on what to do if you want a career as a media planner. She said work on knowing Excel and basic Excel math, but most importantly have great communication skills. She also told us to be up to date on the newest and important trends in the field, which as of right now are social and digital media.

We would like to thank Ms. Oweida for taking the time to speak with us. If you have any questions or advice about media planning comment below!

- Caroline Robinson, Elizabeth Harrington , Savannah Valade

Wilmington Appreciates Advertising: Local Marketing

In the Wilmington community, local advertising agencies offer their services to all of the town’s local businesses. Our small beach town is filled with local companies that are in need of advertising agencies that are familiar with the area and the target audience. Fortunately Wilmington is the home to several advertising agencies that are willing to go the extra mile to provide effective services for our small businesses in the area.

Colonial Marketing Group is one of Wilmington’s own award-winning advertising agencies. Colonial Marketing provides TV, print and radio advertising for 72 local businesses in Wilmington. Founded and based in our town of Wilmington, this firm aims to develop the relationship between the brand and the consumer for each of their clients. The strategy of their agency can be explained in three words: consult, create and connect. They will first form a close bond with their client so that they will gain a good understanding of the business. Then they will dive into the creative process to convey the company’s brand effectively to the target audience. Colonial Marketing will finish of their process by combining their marketing knowledge and qualitative data to ensure effective advertisements will be executed to reach the target audience. Before a company chooses to work with Colonial Marketing, they have the opportunity to see the firm’s previous work for other businesses. The agency is especially eager to help businesses that like themselves, are Wilmington based.

One advertising agency that has been a huge local success is Ford Design Group. This agency has developed into being one of the most utilized ad agencies in Wilmington, North Carolina and their work can be found all throughout the city. Ford Design is a multi-faceted advertising agency that offers a wide range of branding, marketing services, print media, logo design, SEO services, and website design. Ford Design Groups goal is to always exceed their clients’ expectations. Their philosophy proudly states, “We’re only as good as our last project.

“BRAND. MARKET. IMPACT!”.

“Isn’t it interesting how definitions of words have evolved over the years? Each of these words can either be a noun or a verb, and stand on their own totally unrelated to one another. But, for our team at Ford Design Group, they are all equally important to perform best used in conjunction with one another”. -Greg Ford

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Greg Ford, founder of Ford Design Group, began running this agency from his own bedroom as a one-man business in 1992. He graduated with a Communication Studies degree from East Carolina University in 1987. Over the past twenty-two years, Greg Ford has turned his one man firm into a talented team of expert programmers, designers, copywriters, photographers and many more to add to the success of this local business. Ford Design Group has customers throughout the southeast and across the country! Their clientele are very diverse, from small business owners to large corporations.

In the city of Wilmington, Ford Design Group has worked with clients from The Blockade Runner, Hibachi Bistro, Wilmington Development Group, YoSake Downtown Sushi Lounge, to K38 Baja Grill. They have designed logos, print ads, and websites for all of these companies and many more.

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A company that focuses on quality keeps clients happy, and Ford Design Group has done just that. Below are some testimonials from some of Ford Design Groups satisfied clients.

“Greg and his group have been very creative in supplying the designs we need. From web site design to t-shirts, they can do it all.”

-Blockade Runner Resort

“Greg Ford and his team coached us through the whole process including developing a new logo for our 50-year-old company. They were technically excellent, creative and very customer focused. They listened to what we told them about our industry and developed a customized approach; no “cookie cutter” components. I would use them again!”

-John S. Clark Co.,LLC

“Eyecare Center’s corporate identity dated back to the late 1970’s and it looked it.  Ford Design Group took our company into the new millennium with an entire new identity makeover.  Their professionalism, talent and attention to detail were a perfect fit for our company.”

-Eyecare Center

With a plethora of local advertising firms in the port city, small businesses in Wilmington have the chance to work directly with companies that are concerned with their success. Not only do they have the chance to meet in person to be able to communicate their wants/expectations effectively, they also have the benefit of assisting fellow local businesses. These advertising firms depend on the support from local businesses, just as the small companies depend on Wilmington’s firms to market their content. What other benefits do you think small, local advertising firms experience? Do you think the recent economic recession affected their business?

-Hannah Turner, Emily Foulke, Briana McWhirter

FCC Reviews Rules and Regulations

As the final four teams prepare to battle it out in March Madness, it’s a sure bet that sports fan are waiting to see what else the tournament has in store this season. With coverage, updates, and analysis, it’s also a pretty sure bet that these fans are tuning into ESPN – the station that has become the sports authority. But did you know that the testosterone filled station is owned by a company that producers princesses fairytales – Disney? Did you know Disney also owns ABC, Marvel, Pixar, and Touchstone. Part of what’s known as the “Big Six” – Comcast, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS – account for 90% of media ownership across the ­states.

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The process of consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, has led to media conglomerates – few companies owning all of the media outlets.

Many argue that media consolidation hurts competition by blocking out new media companies. According to Senator Wellstone, media give people access to a wide variety of opinions, analyses, and perspectives and it holds concentrated power accountable to people. With only a few companies controlling all the media the two functions of media (listed above) are compromised. Specifically related to advertising, a combination of media also leads to monopoly over audience and advertisers.

Today, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), an independent US government agency responsible for controlling media regulation, will vote to make TV station’s joint sales agreements (JSAs) subject to current ownership rules. The commission will also vote on a rule that prohibits two or more of the top four TV stations in a market from jointly negotiating agreements with pay TV providers.

Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman, cited that the considered changes were motivated by evidence that suggested the rules that protect competition diversity and localism have been circumvented.

JSAs are an arrangement many see as a loop hole around the limits on owning no more than two TV stations in a market. With endorsement from the Department of Justice, the FCC is now moving ahead with the rule “that if the owner of one station in a marketing sells 15 percent or more of the advertising time for another, then it will be deemed to have ownership interest in the station.”

Broadcasters are fighting back. Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, says, “The real loser will be local TV viewers. This proposal will kill jobs, chill investment in broadcasting, and reduce meaningful minority programming and ownership opportunities.”

Stations that do have JSAs will have two years to dismember deals. However, stations can apply for a waiver in which JSAs will be examined on a case by case basis to determine if public interest is served by keeping the agreement.

Additionally, as part of the 2014 review, the FCC will propose to keep the ban on owning more than two TV stations, but question whether the cross-ownership ban between TV, radio, broadcast, and newspapers should be lifted.

However, while the five commissioners of the FCC will all vote on the issue, the ultimate decision may be left in the hands of just one, Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn. The issue has split the five down party lines with the GOP commissioners, Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly speaking out against the proposal. In order to advance the ruling, Wheeler will need the favor of both democratic commissioners.

While the commissioners are deciding, we are left wondering to what degree will these rules affect our media markets? Will Clyburn’s decision trend toward more or less regulation?

Tell us what you think. Should the FCC approve the JSA rule? Are media conglomerates affecting the free flow of information to society? Or has the Internet made possible enough independent outlets?

-Savannah Valade, Caroline Robinson

Banking on Bracketology

Even if you’re not a fan of college basketball, you’ve likely heard friends and colleagues exclaim about their “busted brackets” as of late. The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, billed as “March Madness” runs throughout the month of March and is one of the most popular spring sporting events. The tournament begins with 64 teams and ends with the championship game in April. Part of the fun of March Madness, is Bracketology, the science of pitting teams against each other to predict the outcome of the tournament. It gets pretty serious–billionaire Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway even offered $1 billion to whoever fills out the perfect bracket.

Where does Bracketology intersect with IMC? The answer lies in the “good hands” of Allstate. 2014 is the insurance company’s third year as official sponsor of the NCAA tournament. This year, Allstate’s antagonistic character, Mayhem, is breaking brackets in a series of Tweets, Facebook updates, and Vines. While Mayhem is infamously known for causing car wrecks and burglaries, the Leo Burnett-created “March Mayhem” campaign makes light of Bracketology. Watch as Mayhem breaks, bends, and even blends busted brackets.

March is Mayhem

“March Mayhem” is Allstate’s social media component of its NCAA tournament campaign. During TV coverage of the tournament, the company sponsors the “Good Hands Play of the Game” and is rolling out increased advertising for its homeowners insurance. Pam Hollander, Allstate’s senior IMC director, points out that the campaign goes on as the tournament progresses, taking into account how different teams perform in the tournament. She says the campaign features direct engagement with fans. Mayhem acts as a direct engagement tool to connect and learn more about Allstate’s social media-savvy audience. With Mayhem, interpersonal communication takes place in an ad campaign, personifying the brand’s relationship with the consumer.

Mayhem isn’t the only insurance character with social media presence. Representing insurance companies big and small: the Gecko, Flo, Jake, and J.J. Hightail each interact with their Twitter followers. One of the strong points of the March Mayhem campaign is how it takes advantage of the Bracketology phenomenon to establish a connection with the consumer. Using a popular social trend in a social media campaign exemplifies the personification of brands.

Do you believe using Bracketology in advertising is effective? How have you seen other brands use social phenomena in their advertising?

-Nathan Evers