Honey Maid Gives Us All a Lesson on How to Properly Handle Controversy

We’ve all seen controversial ads, some more blatant than others. Most of them don’t make it on air and find their way to the banned ad section of YouTube. One of the more recent controversies is advertisers’ use of gay and/or interracial couples in their commercials, where they are met with unscrupulous criticism. What I love about these controversial ads, though, is the way the companies bounce back from the wrath of the “haters.” First there was JC Penney with their use of a lesbian couple in their Mother’s Day catalogue. The anti-gay groups protested, so what was JCP’s response? A gay couple for Father’s Day. Then there was Cheerios with their adorable biracial little girl. After the criticism erupted, they not only made another similar ad, they turned it into a SUPERBOWL ad. And now there’s Honey Maid, taking a similar approach with their all-inclusive commercial. (more…)

10 Song Lyrics That Only Bother Grammar Nerds

Notes 2 Border
Based on the overwhelming response to my last post about grammar, I think it’s time to try it again–but this time with music. Both writing and music are popular forms of artistry and expression, so the two have many similarities. We consider ourselves creative and articulate, and we love telling stories through our art form. We understand how passion can drive a hobby into a career–even if we struggle at times during the transition. One difference between the two, though, is that usually the writer tends to be a bit pickier about the grammatical accuracy of words than the musician. To prove it (and perhaps ignite some OCD feelings for those of you who are the most particular about grammar), here are 10 song lyrics that bug us English nerds.


Makeup Brand Uses an Unconventional (and Brilliant!) Method for Latest Ad

As a woman, the topic of makeup is one with which I am all too familiar–along with millions of other females around the world. The cosmetics industry is a behemoth of a business, and all it takes is a simple Google or YouTube search to find piles of makeup tutorials to widen the eyes, smooth the skin, plump the lips, thicken the eyebrows, you name it. Advertisers have long been taking advantage of women’s desire and willingness to buy all these products, but most makeup commercials stick to a standard method of showing a celebrity with flawless skin and gorgeous features to sell the brand. Dermablend, however, took a slightly different approach by letting two people with serious skin conditions explain how makeup has allowed them to show their inner beauty.


Disney’s Unique Marketing Approach for “Frozen”–And Why It Worked

Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly

Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly

It’s official: Frozen won’t be thawing out anytime soon. It’s no secret that it has been smashing records and winning awards and creating a massive fan following since it was released in theaters in November, and it seems as if it hasn’t been slowing down at all since then. While a lot of its success rests on the movie itself (I’m one of those Disney fanatics who watches the movies over and over and over again, and Frozen is definitely one of my favorites), I also think the way Disney marketed the movie was part of its overall achievement.


Walmart’s Latest Ad is Truly Uplifting (Say What?)

How often can you say “Walmart” and “uplifting” in the same sentence without an “is anything but” in the middle? Judging by the abundance of Walmart-hate across the internet: very rarely. Over the last several years the store has consistently won the oh-so-prestigious award of “Best Place to See Questionably-Dressed People, Spoiled Food on the Floor, and Long Lines Rivaled Only By Disney World.” And of course there are always the ongoing debates over how they treat their employees and the topic of outsourcing to think about. Regardless of what you think about the store, though, it’s tough to ignore their latest commercial about overcoming obstacles (See it below)


Soda-Slurpers: More Annoying in the Bedroom than at the Movie Theater

Coke Movie
Whenever I go to the movies, I absolutely can’t stand noisy moviegoers. With their excessive popcorn-munching, obnoxious Twizzler-opening, outlandish soda slurping, or heaven forbid talking or texting, it makes Netflix and Redbox look more appealing with each visit. And to try to curb this annoying behavior, theaters have been doing their part with announcements and trailers to encourage silence (my favorites being the Alamo Drafthouse angry texter and the GEICO camel’s mini ad/PSA). But Coke figured out that the best way to embarrass annoying theatergoers is to stick them in the middle of a sex scene. Who wants to be the one to ruin the mood now? (See the videos below) (more…)

10 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Be a Grammar Nerd

Grammar Irony
As a writer (and avid speaker of the English language) I take my grammar seriously. I’ve long been an advocate of a “Fix Your Grammar” button on Facebook, but I try not to be too harsh on those who may take grammar a bit less seriously than I do. Mostly because I want to keep my friends. I think, though, that grammar nerds tend to get a bad rap when we’re really just trying to help (okay, fine, sometimes I just want to be a troll). But do we really deserve to be lumped together with murderous soldiers who killed millions of innocent people? I think not. So in an attempt to vent my grammar grievances, here are 10 reasons why it sometimes sucks to know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” (more…)

Is Shockvertising Effective? Why Not Happy Endings?

Scare Advertising
Over the last week we’ve had not just one, but two gut-wrenchingly powerful advertisements released that attempt to force viewers into thinking about the unpleasant but everyday problems of the world. First was the UK’s Save the Children ad, using the Second a Day technique to lead us through a year in a young Syrian girl’s shoes. What starts out looking like an uplifting video of a happy girl celebrating a birthday quickly deteriorates into a portrayal of life in a war-torn country, with the intent to inform viewers of the ongoing brutality in Syria over the last three years. Second, we saw the Women’s Day ad released Friday, focusing on the issue of domestic violence through a woman’s (Google Glass) eyes. Similarly, the video started pleasantly enough, yet quickly took a shocking turn. Both videos (which are below if you haven’t seen them) used shock advertising (shockvertising) to get their important message across, and judging by the popularity of these ads it appears that many people have taken notice. But I do have to wonder if all the shocking ads will only make us more immune to them in the future. (more…)

#Can #We #Just #Cool #It #With #The #Hashtags #Please #?

First a disclaimer: I love social media, both from a personal and a business standpoint. It’s transformed the way we connect with friends and family just as much as it’s transformed the marketing and advertising worlds. But just like any great new invention, when everyone uses it (and overuses it) it has potential to defeat the purpose. Raise your hand if you have a friend on any social media outlet (because the hashtag is no longer restrained to Twitter alone) who has to tag #every #word #as #if #they’re #all #of #equal #importance? Annoying, right? While companies may not be quite as blatant about their overuse, it’s still happening in the form of asking consumers to connect with them in any way possible. (more…)

Chicago Advertising Federation Career Day: Learning from Chi-Town’s Best

Chicago Advertising Day
On Friday I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago to attend the Chicago Advertising Federation Career Day to participate in panel discussions with advertising professionals, meet with other college students trying to break into the industry, and network with some of the biggest names in advertising (just a sample of some of the attending sponsors: Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, Microsoft, Digitas, OMD, The Onion, and many more). Despite being a long and tiring day (my introverted self is still trying to recover from all the human interaction), I learned firsthand so much about the advertising industry, and it cemented my desire to work in this field after I graduate. (more…)