Friday, December 01, 2006

Advertising for Advertising: The Campaign Continues

This final post serves as a reflection on my blogging experience. Initially, I did not understand how one could incorporate the use of Blogger into a writing class. Little did I know that my overall experience would exceed my expectations by far. It turns out that blogging is a very practical tool that everyone can use and can no longer be ignored. Our society is growing more technologically-savvy by the day. As demonstrated in class, a blog serves as a very resourceful tool when done so properly.

I feel that my blog’s title, “Advertising for Advertising” has successfully been demonstrated throughout my posts. My goal was to bring current news within the advertising industry into my blog in an engaging and enriching manner. I feel confident that I have taken my audience on short but meaningful ride into the world of advertising whether it was breaking news about LAX adopting advertising or bringing a prominent figure such as Jay Chiat into the spotlight. As a student, I understand that there is room for improvement. With the said, in the future I think my blog may benefit better with the use of more examples drawn from the internet to strengthen my posts.

As I peruse through all of my different posts, I am amazed at all the things I was able to learn about the field of advertising. The tasks at hand were sometimes challenging when asked to incorporate numerous works but also the more rewarding when accomplished. This blog served as a permanent stepping stone into my anticipated career in advertising. I feel that this experience has opened my eyes into the power I have in exploring the internet in order to be enlightened by the things that interest me the most. For example, my list of related links to the right are now part of my list of sites I frequently visit to keep track of what is going on with advertising. The most important takeaway from my blog is the concrete desire I have in pursuing a career in advertising. The strengthening of this desire will inevitably lead me to endless possibilities to get myself exactly where I would like in the future.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

USC Honorary Degree: Nomination for Advertising's Late Jay Chiat

The central role and mission of the University of Southern California involves “the development of human beings and society as a whole through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit.” In accordance to the role and mission of USC, an honorary degree is awarded annually during spring commencement to individuals. James Freedman, president emeritus of the University of Iowa and Dartmouth College, notes “in bestowing an honorary degree, a university makes an explicit statement to its students and the world about the qualities of character and attainment it admires most.” (117) A nomination for an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters should be considered for Morton Jay Chiat, former advertising guru, in respect to the reputation and goals presented by USC. The specifications of the criteria for an honorary degree are very much alive with the nomination of Jay Chiat though it comes a few years after his death in 2002. Chiat was such an extraordinary figure in the advertising industry that his candidacy for an honorary degree should still hold solid despite the loss to his battle with cancer. Much of what the field of advertising is today can be attributed to the unselfish acts and involvement from Chiat.

Chiat has undisputedly left an unforgettable mark within the advertising community and its respective clients with his sense of craftiness. In 1968, Chiat and Guy Day opened TBWA/Chiat/Day, one of the first advertising agencies in Los Angeles. Despite the trend of agencies being located in New York, Chiat proved that a successful agency could be placed in LA. In part his success can be defined as a distinction of craft with conceptions of expertise, technical skill, theoretical understanding and creativity. Craft is one of the categories used by Mike Martin to instreumentally measure profesional achievement. Chiat may not be a household name for most people, but his list of notable clients that includes Apple, Adidas, Nike, Energizer, and Taco Bell may familiarize most with his brilliant work. Clients continue to choose TBWA/Chiat/Day because of the creative masterminds who were brought up by Chiat himself. The ability to see an agency function outside of its comfort zone or East Coast region naturally set Chiat and his associates a part from competition. This movement has literally shifted the growth and cultivation to the numerous agencies residing in LA today.

Perhaps one of Chiat’s most notable moments was the introduction of the infamous “1984” Apple ad which aired for Super Bowl XVIII on January 1984. The commercial was designed to launch Apple’s then immature line Macintosh which showed a controversial scene, much like George Orwell’s book, with the tagline of how the year of 1984 would not be anything like the actual book. Famed director, Ridley Scott was hired to construct the ad which left an everlasting impression for the public. In 1998, TV Guide named the “1984” commercial as the number one pick on their list of “50 Greatest Commercials of All Time.” This exemplifies Martin’s category of compensation in which Chiat surpassed in the areas of not only recognition but also authority. Despite many corporate marketing authorities who were against airing the ad, Chiat stuck by his team and virtually set the precedent for future Super Bowl advertising events to come. Account manager on the 1984 commercial, Fred Goldberg said, “I had been with an advertising agency for 17 years at that time, but I used to say, and still do, that I joined Chiat/Day to get into advertising." This can be further explained by a quote from Chiat himself who said, “Taking risks gives me energy.” His career was highly driven by his passion for advertising. Shortly after his death, Apple released an ad with the slogan “Think Different” feature a candid Chiat. This served as a tribute to him for the outstanding contribution he has made to the industry. The “Think Different” tagline describes Chiat’s personality and work. In another quote by Chiat, he mentioned he is uncomfortable when he is comfortable simply suggesting that he is never satisfied with the status quo and makes room for improvements.

In accordance with the criteria for choosing an honorary degree, it is important “to recognize exceptional acts of philanthropy to the university and/or on the national or world scene.” While Chiat excelled in the categories of craft and compensation, he was equally known for his morals and contributions to the community. Over the course of this past summer, I was personally involved with the Multicultural Advertising Training (MAT) Program which was founded by Chiat in 1992. The benevolence of Chiat led him to establish the MAT Program whose mission is to “encourage outstanding minority college students to enter the field of advertising by providing them with internships in agencies” in hopes of “increasing diversity in the advertising community by providing the industry with outstanding and promotable interns.” Chiat’s firm commitment to the community is further demonstrated with the founding of the Advertising Industry Emergency Fund whose “reason to exist is to lend a hand and help people get back on their feet again” for those specifically within the Advertising Industry and facing financial troubles or crises. Consideration for a USC honorary degree is also granted to individuals who have shown “exceptional acts of philanthropy.”

Many students at USC concentrate in Marketing’s Advertising and Promotion Strategy program in hopes of becoming a part of advertising's community and workforce. For example there are organizations such as the Association of Integrated Marketing on campus that would benefit from this candidate. If chosen, Chiat's words at commencement would be appropriate for USC students because he shares many experiences about breaking into the advertising industry and staying on top, a difficult feat. Notably, in 1989 Adweek awarded Chiat with the title “Agency of the Decade.” The task at hand may seem inappropriate considering Chiat’s passing in 2002, but his exuberant qualities as a businessman and philanthropist are exceptional in a manner that cannot be overlooked while considering honorary degrees. After all the USC Honorary Degree is awarded to indivuals who have“made outstanding contributions to the…communities of which they are a part.”

In opposition, others may feel Chiat is not a viable choice and the opportunity should be given to one who will actually be able to deliver a message at commencement. Though the important thing is to have a speaker at commencement, I feel that everyone can learn and listen to Chiat’s trials and tribulations in a way that is inspiring and enlightening. The audience will not face what Freedman described as a possible risks where “the recipient willl turn out… to have been ill-chosen.” Potential words of wisdom coming from Chiat will be tangible in the sense that those who listen will feel empowered to thrive in whatever career path they chose, not limited to advertising. It is especially important to note that any message spoken through Chiat will help to explain the present by putting it in perspective, as seen through the speaker’s spiritual, philosophical, social, political, and economic advice. For example, Chiat’s prior experience within his liftime can provide insight into the current events of the world, such as the shift towards a technological-savvy generation.

Nomination for Chiat comes appropriately for the field of advertising as he is already recognized in the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Fame, one of advertising’s highest honors. Chiat was inducted into the hall of fame for his personal achievement as measured through the standards of Martin. Much like an entrepreneur, Chiat brought new ideas to the table and implemented them successfully. It is only right to nominate Chiat in accordance with USC’s Code of Ethics which “is predicated on two main pillars: a commitment to discharging our obligations to others in a fair and honest manner, and a commitment to respecting the rights and dignity of all persons.” The presentation of Chiat as a viable candidate follows along with their “promise as an institution… who are authorized to speak on behalf of USC”, while “including especially the promises expressed and implied in our Role and Mission Statement.”

In a quote given by Chiat, he said “I have a very simplistic concept for evaluating risk. I first analyze the downside. What's the worst thing that can happen if the project or enterprise fails? How much money can be lost? Image destroyed? Careers shattered? Empires lost? And if the analysis isn't too grim, we proceed.” This exemplified his lack of fear to pursue his visions of advertising as a respectable force within the industry. While touring his agency, his former personal assistants noted that much of Jay Chiat lives on today. Perhaps she initially meant the physical agency itself, but many would probably agree that much of Chiat does live on today in the way that the advertising industry behaves today. For those resons, Chiat continues to play a prominient role within the field of advertising and is a considerably qualified candidate for the USC Honorary Degree. Chiat’s ability to “elevate the university in the eyes of the world” will give a lasting impression at commencement.

Monday, September 25, 2006

General Electric Geoterra: A World of Eco-Friendly Possibilities

The advertising industry is continually experiencing a demand for products and services that coincide with the ever-changing contemporary values and expectations of society. As of right now, an underlying concern regarding consumer products is taking an environmentally friendly turn. General Electric (GE) has made a commitment to convey a message that addresses the possibilities of “solving tomorrow’s problems today.” Today, GE believes educated consumers will contribute to society’s growing concern about the environment by implementing solutions such as alternative energy. GE has teamed up with BLITZ, an interactive advertising agency, to bring their commitment to life with the introduction of Geoterra. Geoterra is a rich interactive experience that introduces games to enhance the well-being of the island’s environment and encourages a vision of the world driven through environmentally sound practices. This highly GE-branded experience is cultured in a way for users to understand their positive impact on the world through the diversity of GE’s “Ecomagination” products. In 2005, the GE Geoterra website was honored with a WebAwardGE products deemed as part of their “ecomagination." for Outstanding Achievement in Website Development within the Advertising category. The remarkable website achieves high marks in categories such as design, innovation, technology and interactivity but falls short on some other aspects. While the website intertwines great creativity and integration by immersing users with wonderful concepts of a “greener” environment, there is a lack of direction connecting them to the actual

The inexact science of Web critique involves reviewing sites for content. To evaluate this site more appropriately, the Webby Awards criteria will be used in place of the WebAward criteria since it does not offer an extensive description of the judging process. Contrary to what some may expect, content is not limited to text but also includes music, sound or animation. Geoterra displays a variety of components that make up a clear and concise content-filled site to communicate a site’s body of knowledge as described by the judging criteria. The site’s choice of text, music, sound, and animation allure users to experience content that is both engaging and relevant. Text developed for Geoterra is very appropriate for the Web as it practices brevity. Users are not forced to sit through extensive paragraphs to navigate smoothly across the site. Instead, once a link has been chosen, a small blurb will appear with fundamental environmental practices and information in a way that will not intimidate anyone. Take for example, a link to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). A blurb appears on screen explaining that GE’s CFL “will last eight to ten times as long as standard bulbs.” More importantly, Geoterra conveys informative and useful content in part to GE’s commitment to educate consumers with enhancements through fun sounds and animation such as the island’s young inhabitants of surfers. One can also experience the sound of the site and become engulfed in a harmonized state of mind as the music is soothing and relaxing. Animation of the site is done in an aesthetically pleasing manner due to its cartoon-like depictions of an ideal island and energy saving tactics such as the HydroWash System located underneath the Washing Machine Derby link.

According to the Webby Awards judging criteria, content should “always leave you wanting more.” Despite this important aspect of content, I found that the site left me wanting much more than I could actually attain. Overall, the website is great for creating a campaign in hopes of improving our environment, but it may not deliver rapid results. Geoterra prides itself upon the achievement of winning a WebAward in the Advertising category. Link after link, games are introduced to help save our environment in simple terms such as the “Harness the Wind” game. This particular activity illustrates the importance of windmills to produce clean and easily renewable electricity for homes. Other links will introduce the importance of water conservation or alternative lighting methods. It is evident that the only advertising done here is for a greener environment and not so clearly for GE products. I think the site could be improved by creating a series of links that allow users to access a directory of GE products once they complete games. As of right now, the website educates and informs users about how they can think ecologically by completing simple tasks such as replacing old light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.

The website could be much more effective in advertising for GE if it included a pathway for users to view and purchase available products that match up with the game previously played. This can be crucial to achieving the goals from BLITZ who are “motivated to impact sales by getting consumers to make more purchases, shift perceptions faster and most importantly to deepen brand awareness and loyalty.” In the most recent Pew Internet Trend, findings are showing that 67% of internet users buy products online while 68% surf the web for fun. Once Geoterra engages to those 68% who surf the web for fun, they can also draw in the overwhelming 67% of online purchasers to buy GE products as well. If the website does not include a direct link to access various “ecomagination products,” the 67% of online purchases may not include very many GE products at all.

After one visit to Geoterra, one will easily recognize the structure and navigation of the site. Interactivity throughout the site can be achieved by either accessing the links on the island’s landscape or by the quick links offered on the bottom right-hand side. The site’s design is simple and offers quick links so that users can navigate through the different pages more efficiently. Journey throughout Geoterra will mainly showcase its illustrated island as the main page. Across the island is a set of regions that are devoted to act as links in various subjects such as water conservation. Users will form a mental model of the information provided, where to find things, and what to expect when you click as they peruse through the Geoterra landscape. This element reinforces the Web Style Guide’sThe Evolution Locomotive” link which is graphically depicted in the quick links as a set of rails. Visually, users will associate the image with the subject it depicts. The landscape is also navigation friendly because a picture and description will appear once the mouse hovers over a particular region. By choosing the link from the landscape or quick links, users will find out that GE’s Evolution Locomotive Series “produce 60% fewer nitrogen oxide emissions” than trains built 20 years ago. recommendation of “providing your own consistent and predictable set of navigation buttons” in order to allow a “sense of your site's organization and make the logic and order of your site visually explicit.” Following the criteria of successful structure and navigation leaves little room for confusion and simplifies exploration of the site. If the interest of choice is reducing emissions and traffic congestions, one might want to click on “

The imaginary landscape of a harmonized environment is the center of Geoterra’s visual design. Vibrant colors such as grass green and sky blue begin to create a theme that resembles nature in its healthy and stable state. The main purpose of the site is to fundamentally create experiences that challenge, entertain and inspire users to participate positively in the development of the ecosystem. The website is driven by a clear authorship and sponsorship with GE. The logo of GE is embedded throughout the site as seen in the graphic above. The target audience varies from early-twenties to mid-thirties. The aesthetics and game features of the website can fool one into thinking this is intended for young children. The website may possibly be viewed by young audiences just for fun but they will probably not grasp GE’s eco-friendly vision. The website can be drawn to people in their early-twenties as this age group is going through life changing experiences such as moving into a new home or possibly marriage. Life changing experiences such as marriage will create a group of consumers interested in purchasing everyday home appliances and solutions offered by GE. The age group expands up to mid-thirties only because of the complexity of the website’s hypermedia environment. The generation of users familiar with Macromedia Flash and other complex tools is quite young and does not usually extend beyond a particular age group. The purpose of the web site is enforced with the visual design very well as it is “high quality, appropriate, and relevant for the audience and the message it is supporting.”

From the moment the web browser is directed to Geoterra, users are brought to the primary page where they are introduced to the first hints of flash. Loading for flash components can be lengthy and most users decide to skip the introduction. Although the primary page utilizes flash components, it is very quick and painless. The first impressions of the site include a green leaf and its evolution into a full-grown tree signaling users to the environmental contents of the web site. It is very important for websites to provide controls that “give users status information” when multimedia they are present. The transition from one page to another employs flash to occupy one’s imagination with creative images that alert visitors about the progress of the loading content. It is reassuring for users to know if the content is loading and how much longer it may take. Also, the sound can be adjusted from mute to loud with the sound tool located on the bottom.

Geoterra is driven mostly by interactivity from its visitors. The site is designed with a variety of games that allow engagement. This subtly instills an impression for everyone to see that everyone can impact and help improve the ecosystem, whether it starts with education and awareness or perhaps simple games illustrating big ideas. The interactivity of Geoterra is its strongest web site component because “it allows you, as a user, to give and receive.” Mastery of this component accompanies great functionality in Geoterra’s award-winning web site. It is composed of many essential elements such as quick loading, live links, and the technology is “functional and relevant for the intended audience.” The BLITZ agency creatively structured Geoterra to appeal to its target audience to advertise GE’s environmental campaign. The use of Macromedia flash is a great tool for users to engage in interactive games.

Geoterra is a platform that invites users to be informed about what they can do to help save the environment. The overall experience is very welcoming and simplifies complicated issues in an interactive experience that attains user’s interest in their eco-concerns. BLITZ agency took a timely and complicated issue and molded it into what looks like a trivial website. The start and progress of an environmentally-sound world is in high gear as long Geoterra continues to provide useful information about the world around us. The experiences throughout the journey to Geoterra will be able to shape those eco-friendly values that society is and has been demanding. Consumers will gain much insight into what can be done to help and most importantly be less confused about the realities of the world.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Criticism for Ad Agencies: Lack of Creativity

The condition of the advertising industry’s business model is apparently looking unpleasant according to Washington Post’s article, “What Happened To Creative Advertising?” Columnist, Steven Pearlstein urges that these are actually “the worst of times” for the industry as “so much time and money is shifting to the Internet, [and] none of the old rules applies.” In my search of integrating different opinions on Pearlstein’s article, I came across two reputable blogs who each share their personal insights on the direction that the advertising industry is currently moving. In ”Creativity in Advertising - who's the oxymoron now?” Joseph Jaffe believes that the Washington Post article is cutting the advertising business short by portraying an inaccurate image. I felt compelled to comment on Jaffe’s post because I agree that there are other aspects such as rhetoric that should be taken into consideration. The next blog I commented on and found to be of importance was The Intangible Economy with a post by Ken Jarboe. Not only does Jarboe recognize how a technology shift is shaping advertising, but he also points out another key response of “product placement” by the industry.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years later: How Advertisement is Coming to Local Airport's Aid after 9/11 Attacks

As today marks the fifth anniversary of September 11 terrorist attacks, the airline industry has sought various ways to regain revenues that plummeted as a consequence. According to the Air Transport Association (ATA), "the industry has lost $35 billion between 2001 and 2005, and it took on $26 billion in debt to help cover the losses." Services such as meals and standby flights are now available for a service fee as opposed to the past when they were available for free. In a statement published in Star-Telegram, former American Airlines chairman and chief executive, Bob Crandall notes that although revenues declined following 9/11, "the business was already changing rapidly, and the attacks weren't causative of the changes." In essence there were a series of influences contributing to the decline of airline revenues rather than this single event. Star-Telegram staff writer, Trebor Banstetter draws attention to other causal features for this industry's financial status that include high oil prices and the growth of low-fare airlines such as Southwest.

Even the world's fifth busiest airport, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), suffered a loss from 9/11. The amount of passengers traveling through LAX in 1993 was 47 million passengers and continued to grow remarkably up to 67 million passengers in 2000. Unfortunately the growth came to a halt after 2001 and fell as low as 55 million passengers in the preceding years. In response to finding new ways to re-cultivate LAX's growth, the Airport Commission is allowing advertisement throughout its terminals for the first time in LAX's 78-year old history. By the end of the year, LAX will unveil 365 new advertising displays and additionally Ontario Airport will showcase 31 advertising displays.

Late last week, news broke out that the Airport Commission unanimously voted to award a 6-year contract to JCDecaux, a company that specializes in out-of-home advertising (OOH). JCDecaux is no stranger to OOH and has already penetrated the airport market in advertisements with prominent airports such as JFK International Airport (New York) and Dulles International Airport (Washington). The absence of advertising throughout LAX for the past 78 years was due to concern that the advertisements might get mixed up with signs directing daily traffic and cause confusion among travelers. However, Commissioner Fernando Torres-Gil admitted "outside impressions of our airports are that they are obsolete" and has left JCDecaux the responsibility to improve their image to draw more travelers to choose LAX and Ontario Airports. The contract is expected to rake in $80 million over the course of the next 6 years. Alternatively, talks regarding advertisement for 51 concessions are being delayed as officials look into internal and external effects of existing businesses operating at LAX. Aside from the concessions, the future outlook of airport advertising may include areas outside of the terminals like parking garages and also restrooms.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 New Advertising Platform?

Just when companies thought they had already exploited means of advertising through television, radio, billboards, and more, they came across a new find: Since irrefutably becoming one of the best known and recognizable networking sites, MySpace continues to draw users by the millions. In the month of July alone, Nielson/NetRatings tracked 46 million users to the ever-growing website. Users are logging on and are getting more than just a social networking tool. At their leisure, users can now be engulfed in a world of new marketing tactics and innovative advertising.

As you browse through a user’s list of friends, you may notice not only some mutual friends and some strangers, but some names that really do stick out. Is it really possible for someone to be friends with Zach Braff or Seventeen Magazine? Of course it is! Well, as long as advertising agencies decide to use MySpace as a new platform for advertisement. And that is exactly what they are doing. According to USA Today, iconic figures such as Burger King’s mascot are not being left out of the MySpace race for advertising. “The King” and other celebrities, icons, and brands are now only a click away from becoming your friend.

Some might wonder, why advertise on MySpace? For others it is quite clear. According to Nielson BuzzMetrics, which monitors online buzz, MySpace is a potentially rich demographic with over 100 million different profiles. MySpace’s popularity may due to its user-created content feature which allows an endless array of expression possibilities. This new form of advertising is an alternative to costly and hard-to-get mediums like portal home pages which usually sell out as early as eighteen months in advance.

How exactly does advertising on MySpace work? Under the direction of News Corp. who bought out MySpace last summer, a small segment named Fox Interactive is in charge of selling advertising space on MySpace. The package for advertisers include "fancy features for the page, and the profile is promoted on the site to other users with banner ads and text links. The cost ranges from $100,000 to more than $1 million," according to Michael Barret, Fox Interactive chief revenue officer. At the bottom of the MySpace page, you can find a link to a form that interested buyers fill out so they can advertise accordingly.

Not only are users jumping onto the MySpace bandwagon craze, but so have advertisers and with good reason. Some may be skeptical of this new interactive medium, but it serves as a fun and creative way to reach out to more people. MySpace is just one of many alternatives to innovative advertising trying to connect with millions of people. Other alternatives also include a direction incorporating interactive media such as another fast-growing website, YouTube. Be on the lookout for a future Brand Channel devoted to selling various products and showcasing different sponsorships.