Snapchat: A New Social Trend For Brands?

Today, brands dominate social media. It is almost impossible to find a company without a Facebook or Twitter account. Even newer platforms like Instagram and Vine are being taken over, but there is one social network that has yet to be fully explored—Snapchat.


Snapchat is a mobile app that allows one to share pictures and videos. The special component of this network is that the captioned picture is deleted after 10 seconds; this is much different from the “out for the world to see” social media we are used to.

The majority of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-25. This age, as James Twitchell reminds us in his book Lead Us Into Temptation, is the “number one focus of almost every marketer”. Why? Younger demographics are still choosing what brands to align themselves with. A survey sent out by Sumpto, a marketing group that works to gather information about the “most difficult to reach demographic”, found that 77% of college students use Snapchat once per day. Their findings also concluded that 70% of respondents wouldn’t mind adding a brand as a friend on Snapchat if they already followed them on another social network.

So, why haven’t brands jumped onto this platform? Unlike other social media Snapchat is more intimate and personal— like a text message instead of a public wall. This very direct connection leaves brands with a problem. What type of content could they send via snap? Would people be interested in interacting with them this way?, HBO’s TV show Girls and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) have all been using Snapchat in a variety of ways. described in an interview with Mashable that their strategy is to make interactive Snapchat stories that are ridiculous and fun. They see Snapchat as a tool for “opening up more options for brands”. The Girls Snapchat account has been used to remind fans of the upcoming season premiere date and give exclusive insider looks.  ASP says Snapchat is a way to “bring fans closer to the athletes and events”. They also point out there is “lots of room for experimentation and innovation”. Click on the image below to learn more about how Snapchat is being used by companies.


Patrick deHahn from CNN Money stated that Snapchat “has more funding and a higher valuation than Instagram and YouTube when they were at Snapchat’s stage in their startup lifespan”. So it seems Snapchat itself is a viable platform and with a growing 350 million snaps per day, brands should consider its possible benefits.

Would you follow brands on Snapchat? Do you think Snapchat is a worthy social media investment? How do you think brands will begin to use Snapchat?

Caroline Robinson

“Dumb Ways to Die” Campaign—Dumb Enough to Work?

What do you think of when you hear “Australia”? Accents? Kangaroos? The Great Barrier Reef? Wouldn’t it be nice to be there in lieu of the recent frigid weather? I bet two things no one would ever put together is Australia and train safety, but you probably will after seeing the two awareness commercials Australia has recently released for the Melbourne Metro.

In 2012 “Dumb Ways to Die” was launched as a train safety PSA. The three-minute animated spot features personified blobs making outrageously stupid decisions –  setting your hair on fire, eating out of date medicine, using the clothes dryer as a hiding place, selling both kidneys on the Internet. With these demonstrations, comes a catchy song that illustrates each scene as it unfolds. At the 2:24 mark, the audience is introduced to train safety in which the dumbest ways to die are: standing on the edge of a train station platform, driving around the barrier at a railroad crossing, and running across the tracks.

This year, another PSA spot appeared just in time for Valentine’s Day. Titled “Dumb Ways”, the second video – this only ones 30 seconds – features the blob from the original spot who died from selling both his kidneys on the Internet and replicates the format of the first spot with the simplistic design elements, characters, and tune. Even though the new spot has absolutely no correlation with train safety, the advertisement’s copy reads “Be safe around Valentine’s Day*” and in smaller font, “*and trains”.

With the release of the newest Valentine spot, it is obvious that McCann Melbourne realized the success first 3 minute spot reached with over 71 million YouTube views. However, the Valentine Day advertisement is relying on the presumption that the viewer has already seen previous campaign efforts, which include radio, print and outdoor advertising. The campaign even has some interactive media such as a fully functioning website and a mobile phone game app that offers short mini games where you can save the characters from their “dumb” deaths.

There is no denying that the whole campaign is undeniably cute and captures attention, but the question is, is this direction effective?

When asked about the creation and initial vision of the campaign, John Mescall, McCann’s executive director, said this, “The idea for a song started from a very simple premise: What if we disguised a worthy safety message inside something that didn’t feel at all like a safety message? So we thought about what the complete opposite of a serious safety message would be and came to the conclusion it was an insanely happy and cute song.”


What Mescall is describing is the use of logical fallacy or in our case irrelevant points. Usually the use of fallacies in an argument or message weakens it, but Mescall used it to his advantage, strengthening the impact.

One logical fallacy, argumentum ad baculum, is an argument that uses threats or forces to cause the acceptance of the conclusion. Example: “Do this! Or ____ will happen!” “If you don’t this, ____ will happen!” The Dumb Ways campaign uses this fallacy’s appeal to fear in the explicit form of death – if you do these activities in the ad you will die – to remind people of the need for train safety.

In addition, another logical fallacy is also used – red herring. In this type, a fallacy of diversion is created where irrelevant arguments or information is introduced into a discussion in order to divert people’s attention away from the issue under discussion and towards a different conclusion. No one needs to know all the dumb ways to die; almost all of the scenarios are things that are common sense. Except for the last 30 seconds, none of the scenarios are relevant to educating people on train safety.

Over a year after the original launch of the “Dumb Ways to Die” commercial, the campaign has grabbed the attention of the world, educating all of us on train safety. What do you think of this PSA? Do you think the campaign could have been stronger if the agency had gone in a different direction?

Savannah Valade, Elizabeth Harrington, Caroline Robinson

Paul McCartney’s NEW Publicity Stunt

The digital world of iTunes and social media has given the music industry both high and low notes. While the Internet offers accessibility, it also caters to specificity. Most predominantly, the Internet offers an array of platforms for artists to upload, share, and send their music.  However, while music junkies may be constantly searching for new digs, most people eventually acquire a particular taste for what they choose to send through their ear buds.  Internet music services such as Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio allow users to handpick and listen to an endless variety of artists and genres. This narrowcasting of music leaves artists waging campaigns to try to reach listeners. As a result, clutter prevails.

Like in advertising, clutter has become a big problem in music promotion. As Douglas Rushkoff pointed out in The Persuaders, “The more messages they create, the more they have to create to reach us.”

The more opportunity social media platforms – YouTube, MySpace Music, and most recently Vine – offer artist to share their music, the more competitive and important promotion of music and musician become.

So how does a music artist break through all the online music clutter without breaking budget? The answer is: great music, a little luck, and a publicity stunt.

Not new to the music arena are surprise gigs on rooftops or buses in the middle of big cities, events known in the public relations world as a publicity stunts. This past October, music legend Sir Paul McCartney promoted his recently released album, NEW, by doing just such a thing – performing a surprise concert in the middle of Times Square.

Paul McCartney at performs at the Times SquareTelling fans only hours before – via Twitter – he played a 15-minute long show featuring the single “New”, as well as music from the (not at the time released) album. McCartney was not only able to give NYC fans a concert, but fans from around the world could tune in through Times Square live webcast and watch the performance.

pm tweet nyThe surprise gig resulted in social media buzz and major news coverage, all promoting the NEW album for free. The stunt was so successful; exactly a week later he performed another surprise concert in London.

pm tweet loSir Paul McCartney proved how to conquer the masses. Not only did he succeed in making his fans happy, but also he succeeded in executing a publicity stunt that generated both word of mouth and media coverage that ended up promoting his music at no cost to him.

Caroline Robinson, Savannah Valade 

The Time Has Come

Here we are. Ten days until graduation! The past four years have been the most incredible years of my life. It’s almost overwhelming to think of all that has happened to get to this place.

Growing up in Wilmington, I always said I would go to college anywhere but UNCW. However, when it came time to actually look at colleges, I realized how many opportunities UNCW provided. And at the end of four years, I cannot imagine going anywhere else, even though I tried. After changing by major about three times (because I could not figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life), I decided to try to get into the Sonography (ultrasound) Program at Cape Fear Community College. For three semesters, I took classes at UNCW and Cape Fear trying to figure what I wanted to do. In that last semester, I took COM 105 and absolutely loved it. Dr. Weber sold me on the greatness that is Communication Studies, so I changed my major again. After taking a few COM classes, I decided to fully “recommit” to UNCW and stopped pursuing the Sonography Program.


During this “two-school” phase, I also got engaged and married to the best guy ever! My dream had always been to have a fall wedding, so we got married in October (yes, in the middle of the semester), but it worked out perfectly. Since then, we celebrated our one-year anniversary, got our first dog, Hudson, bought a house, and got a second dog, Winnie. Needless to say, graduating from college is the next step in growing up!


Looking back at all the reasons I changed my major, landing on Communication Studies makes perfect sense. I wanted to be an art major for a while, and Communication Studies requires a huge level of creativity. I wanted to be a business major, and Communication Studies teaches things vital to the business world. I wanted to be a Community Health major, and Communication Studies teaches how to conduct research, how to advocate, and how to effectively present findings. By choosing Communication Studies, I finally felt like I was able to get all I wanted out of my educational experience at UNCW. I have truly enjoyed my courses and have been stretched to learn more and engage in projects that have impacted education. Taking all I have learned in the major I hope work in the field of advertising to combine the aspects research, business, and creativity that I was looking for all along.

With the support of all of my family, teachers, and friends, these past four years have been a wonderful journey. I cannot thank you all enough for the study sessions, wedding festivities, and moving boxes. I am truly excited to move into this next phase of life.

Laura Tippett

This is The End

It is absolutely unreal to be sitting here writing my senior blog post. As of today, I graduate from UNCW in less than 2 weeks. I visited UNCW before my senior year of high school, and instantly fell in love with the place. Growing up ten minutes from UNCC, I was quickly drawn to how different UNCW was, and it was in that moment that I realized where I wanted to be for college. I received early acceptance into UNCW, and I could literally not wait to be here. During my senior year of college, I remember more than anything the feeling of just wanting to get out of Charlotte and see and experience something new. Upon arriving to UNCW/Wilmington, my wish was commanded.

My time here at UNCW has been everything I could have ever wanted and much, much more. I have met so many different kinds of people and gained friends that will surely last for a lifetime. The memories and experiences I have gained here are surely ones that I will never forget and will cherish forever. It is certainly a bittersweet time in my life right now.

When I first arrived to UNCW as a freshman, I was unsure of what to declare as my major. My older brother recommended Communication Studies. I looked further into the major, and I remember thinking that it was the fit I had been looking for in a major. I could not have made a better decision. I have taken a wide range of different courses at UNCW, and without trying to sound biased, I have to say the courses within the Communication Studies major have provided me with experiences and skill sets I just did not receive in other courses. The difference being the experiences and skill sets I encountered within my Communication Studies major will benefit me in many different aspects of my life, not just for my career, and for the remainder of my lifetime.

With all that said, I am forever thankful for the knowledge, experiences, friends, and professors I have encountered during the time I have spent at UNCW. This time period in my life certainly holds a place dear to my heart, and I have become a better person because of it. Here’s to the next chapter!

Callie Fenlon

Reflections on Graduation

When I first started my journey at UNCW, like many other freshmen I was disoriented, puzzled about my future and overwhelmed with what college had to offer.

I have lived in Italy for 16 years and living with two cultures has always been part of my life. The quest I went on when I decided to move to the United States for college and apply to UNCW was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I took more than one risk but I can honestly say that in the end I don’t have any regrets. If risks aren’t taken in life, then it’s truly not worth living. Overall the decision I had to make was not an easy, nor a quick one, but either way I knew that it would be a life changing one. For me, “personal success” is more than just maturing academically, and UNCW has allowed me to achieve this and beyond. I am proud of my dual citizenship and all the pros and cons that have come with it. My experiences and background have helped enhance my experience at UNCW, and it was well worth the journey.


I believe that my education is the first and most important building step towards achieving my life goals, and UNCW has allowed me to do just that. Classes like Capstone and many other I have taken in the Communication Studies Department have not only prepared me for the future but, most importantly, they have excited me about my future. As someone who has lived in the United States for less than five years, I can honestly say it is not only relieving, but also rewarding to know that I am one of the youngest graduates in my class and that I have successfully achieved the same level of academic recognition that people who have lived their whole lives here have.

Throughout the years my family has allowed me to further shape myself into the person that I am now. My parents were in fact the ones that let me take on the most important experience that I’ve had so far in my life. I don’t see graduating from college as the successful termination of a chapter of my life, but rather the beginning of a new chapter in which I prove to my parents that all their support and everything they have done for me has allow me to successfully accomplish my dreams.

The pressures to start my career and succeed in life are two things that have been more and more often on my mind, I’m sure like many others of my fellow college graduates as well. I could not go to the point of saying that UNCW guaranteed me success in my future career, but I can truthfully say that it has given me the confidence and preparation I need to leave the UNCW “nest” and enter the real world; and this is more than I could have ever asked for. Ultimately, part of the post-grad adventure is really trying to figure out who you are and what you value. As I said earlier, for me, graduating from college is the final move (or leap) into adulthood.

It is now 13 days until the day of my graduation and as I am writing this final blog post, looking back on where I was four years ago and where I’ve came from, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

– Sasha De Vecchi


The night has progressed and you are about to make your move when the inevitable question arises, “do you have a condom?” This is the premise that Durex has based their new campaign on. The S.O.S. campaign is an “app powered” one-hour condom delivery service discreetly operating between 4pm and 4am. When one first runs across this ad they may think it is a parody, but this is a service that already exists in certain cities, such as Dubai. The company plans to further expand the campaign to more cities. In today’s busy world, everyone loves a delivery service. How else would we get our last-minute pizzas, packages, flowers…condoms? The new Durex campaign, launched by the Buzzman firm, is ingenious and definitely outside the realm of normal advertising. The unique aspects of this campaign clearly exemplify why this firm has been credited with the development of captivating campaigns in the past. Future endeavors should not be far behind when examining their exciting new usages of message, labels, and systems.

S.O.S. (short for “Save Our Souls”) is globally recognized as a distress signal. Viewing the YouTube commercial on Durex condoms it is evident that the sense of urgency, emergency, distress (if you will) associated with an S.O.S can easily be transferred to something less immediately life-threatening.  It was genius to associate their entire campaign on the premise that this product and service is not only a service people may want, but a good they most definitely NEED!  The name itself alerts potential consumers of this product to the fact that it could be important for their lives.  Buzzman of Paris is the firm credited for the original development of this campaign, which may explain why Paris is the leading city in votes for implementation of delivery service (or is it because Paris is truly the city of love)?  Either way there is definitely potential for geographic growth.


Not surprisingly, YouTube is a vehicle for advertising both the product and service.  Social media is being adopted by most modern businesses as a way to connect with audiences on a personal level which allows them to identify and solve the needs and wants of their target audience. The sensual and provocative usage of filming in the commercial fits perfectly the “edginess” that the campaign strives for, while remaining appropriate to the standards of social media. Not only does this medium provide unlimited amounts of information, it builds brand image and is yet another way to gain valuable information about its consumer.  A win-win for Buzzman,Durex and the customer!

Retailing is the sales of goods and services from businesses to the end users. Durex, in this retail plan, concentrates on its brand image and loyal consumers for selling the product itself (the condom) but this plan furthers the retailing process by integration of a new supply chain of their product.  Rather than purchasing their products by the counter at a pharmacy, or even online, the timeliness and personal service is considered.  Why should pizzas be the only show in town?  Condoms have hit the big time in this retail venture.  It should be interesting to see how this takes off.  The worst-case scenario is that Durex gets people talking, and their condoms “protect” Buzzman’s reputation for fresh ideas.

– Zach AbramoCallie FenlonLauren Habig,  Alexandra HussMichael Nunes,Daniel Schaefer