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.”


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.


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.


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

Advertising Bans Beautify the City

Imagine one of our biggest cities, such as New York, Chicago or LA. If you were to take a walk down one of the major streets, what would you see? Besides getting bumped into constantly for not paying attention well enough, you would see advertisements. They would go as far as the eye could see! To some people, these ads are creative forms of art and entertainment that bring character to the city streets and help amuse and educate the citizens. To others, these ads may be nothing more than corporate America polluting the city with over the top marketing gimmicks and oversized eye sores. But can you imagine if one of these cities banned outdoor advertising all together? Would it bring the metropolis back to its original architectural beauty? … Or would the ban take all of the residents back into some sort of concrete jungle? This in itself is completely subjective, and really depends on one’s attitude towards outdoor advertising.

Any readers who may want to experience this for themselves are in luck, and have been since 2006. Just head to your nearest airport and hop on the next plane to São Paulo, Brazil! It has been almost 8 years since the Brazilian city had passed the “Clean City Law,” one that outlawed all forms of outdoor advertisements! This included transit advertising, as well as storefront and billboard marketing.  Can you imagine driving into Wilmington and not being able to see the massive billboard letting us know of the 12 McDonalds ready to serve in our location? (Yeah 12 seems a bit Mcmuch huh?)  Either way, the law was passed and is still going strong, regardless of critics. Many feared the law would have devastating consequences on jobs and revenue in the city, and rightfully so. However, São Paulo continues to stand, just as the citizens continue to stand behind the law. A recent survey administered in 2011 found that of the 11 million residents, over 70% were in approval of the ban. It turns out that many of the citizens feel that the removal of all the advertising brought back an architectural magnificence that had long been hidden. We will let you decide though.  Did the city make the right decision in your opinion? And what do you see, a primitive concrete jungle, or a simple but yet beautiful city restored in its original form?

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Following the advertising ban,  “Critics worried that the advertising ban would entail a revenue loss of $133 million and a net job loss of 20,000.” Although a revenue loss has not been reported, and the majority of the city citizens are in favor of the ban, we all must wonder how businesses are surviving. James B. Twitchell believes that  producers “have to advertise or drown in their own overproduction.” However, it seems as though companies in Brazil are doing just fine without massive advertisements on billboards, buses, or other sources of outdoor advertising. 


Many people could argue that advertisements in America are brainwashing citizens, or have various negative effects on people. What about the aesthetics that Brazil has focused? Would NYC be as beautiful and attractive if all of the bright lights and advertisements were stripped away? America thrives on advertisements, so to lose them would probably cause more outrage that being bombarded by advertising through all mediums. According to those who live in Brazil, the “Clean City Law”  was a brilliant change to how the city looks. Bans on billboards exist in other parts of the world, such as Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine in the US, as well as some 1,500 towns. Could America ever go beyond banning billboard advertising and deny advertisers of all outdoor ads in general? This shows how different advertising is between various nations.

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


Grey’s Culture of Creativity

Who knew it was possible to turn a small retail shop into one of the world’s most respected advertising agencies? Larry Valenstein and Arthur Fatt found this was possible when they turned their one-room retail store in the garment district of New York City into what is now known as Grey Advertising Agency, one of the most popular creative advertising agencies in the world. Since being founded in 1917, Grey has established a 96-country network as well as a second headquarter location in San Francisco. Grey is often recognized for the strength of their creative ideas. The agency was recently named Global Agency of the Year in 2013.

So, what is the key to keeping the creative team at Grey inspired? Culture. An official statement from the agency reads, “From where we are and how we work to who we admire and what inspires us, everything at Grey reflects a culture of creativity.” The agency supports a creative culture to encourage creativity among those who work at Grey.

One of the most unique events that Grey holds in their offices is the quarterly distribution of a Heroic Failures award. The award is given to someone who made a miraculous attempt at achieving a creative goal and has failed. Grey promotes the idea that it is better to attempt at doing something incredible and fail rather than not try anything at all. The creative culture embraces failure in order to emphasize the importance of getting back up and trying again and again. Persistence is a key to success.

In addition to the Heroic Failures award, Grey has several other ways in which they express the importance of the creative friendly culture in their agency. For example, on Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. there will be no meetings held during that time. Those three hours are encouraged to be spent doing something new, challenging and creative. Any and all ideas can be posted on a giant corkboard in the office known as “the corkwall” in order to share the creativity with team members.

Other locations at Grey where people may go to conjure up some inspiration include the rooftop terrace, the health and wellness center and even a bed. There is a bed located inside of a glass room in the middle of Grey’s busiest work space. Some people do their best brainstorming while comfortably resting!

Grey works to maintain a creative culture so that people feel inspired to think outside of the box and share their creative ideas. Do you think working in this type of environment would spark your creativity?

- Hannah Turner

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.”

Zimmerman photo of building

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.


“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


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.

FDG_Port_LOGO_br1Ford Design Group

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

FDA Takes on Tobacco

After the discovery of the harmful health effects tobacco products can have on the body, the method of selling and promoting tobacco has sparked many debates. Those in opposition to the advertising of tobacco question how companies can legally advertise their products that have been proven to cause damage to the body. In addition, children, who may not understand the grave danger these products can cause, could potentially view these advertisements and be persuaded to use tobacco products. In order to regulate the advertising of tobacco, Congress began censoring the advertising of cigarettes by banning promotions on television and radio in 1969. The censoring of advertisements continued in 1989 when Congress prohibited advertising directly to children. However, Congress did not stop there. New regulations have been released that further force the censorship of marketing tobacco products.

While some agree to the censorship laws imposed on tobacco advertising, others posit that these regulations encroach on the company’s freedom of speech. Their main argument states that although it is commercial speech, it is still the company’s freedom of speech. Two large tobacco companies have already filed suit against the new laws on grounds of the First Amendment. Those in opposition see this as limiting the company’s freedom of expression by controlling what content they can release, and where. They also see it as the government not trusting individuals to make smart, informed decisions on their own.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued  a broad set of censorship rules that affected the advertising and promotion of tobacco as well a set of new requirements relating to sales distribution of the product.  On June 22, 2010, the chosen rules were implemented into the law.


There are three primary requirements relating to the selling and advertising of tobacco. First, the rule banned tobacco brand names from sponsoring any athletic, musical, social or cultural event. The brand is also restricted from sponsoring a specific athlete or team at such events. Second, any audio advertisements were also required to use only words with no music or sound effects playing in the background. Lastly, the rule prohibits the selling of any items such as hats and tee shirts sporting tobacco brands or logos.

Since the initial rule was issued by the FDA, another requirement was passed. Outdoor advertising on platforms such as billboards is also prohibited. Rules are continuously being presented to the court, attempting to create even more restrictions for tobacco advertising. Most recently, a rule was presented that would limit tobacco advertisements to using only black text with no graphics at all. This rule was denied.

Tobacco sales have decreased significantly within the past 3 years. Do you think this is a result of the censorship laws the FDA imposed on the advertising of tobacco?

- Hannah Turner, Emily Foulke, Briana McWhirter