Thursday, December 1, 2011

Red and Black

The student run newspaper. It used to be printed everyday. And I used to do the crosswords, at least I would attempt.

But the printed word is dying. And with it the Red and Black. Now its only published on Thursdays. I don't even look at it anymore. I couldn't tell you what the cover picture was for any story this entire year, not a single one. In fact, last night, at the HSBT meeting half the room actually thought that they had gone out of print. And even once they found out it was still in print, the once a day stipulation was kind ofa turn off. Part of me thinks that they realized how little influence the paper had anymore that it wouldn't be worth it at all to spend money on something people didn't know even existed.

Even at the beginning of the year I wondered why they would stop printing daily. I predicted it. I knew that the lack of repetition would only lead to lack of awareness. I understand that their budget has probably been cut but, I think they hurt themselves in the long run. Now on one picks it up and they are still wasting money.

If it was me... I would have maybe cut the print days down to every other day. I never really read the paper, I only did the crosswords but, maybe it would be beneficial to find out what people actually read and then only write those kinds of pieces. And they should probably attempt to come across funds in a different way. I don't really know how they are run and where their budget comes from now but, I think something creative might help. Also, we talked about this in PR but, if the company has a good reputation, they are more likely to survive a crisis without so much as a blemish to their good name. The Red and Black was definitely not able to do that with the reputation that they had before people thought they were extinct.

I have faith in my fellow Grady students but, I feel like they've just stopped trying as far as this paper goes.

Darth Vader

I'm sure that we all remember the Volkswagen Super Bowl ad from last year. Just in case you don't (and just because I absolutely love that ad)

Unfortunately, this ad was highly memorable but no one can really recall the car company. Still, I think I watch it at least once every month. And now, I've started to associate this little Darth Vader with other images I see of Darth Vader.

For example, I recently came across an ad for Lego Star Wars that simply featured a picture of the Lego Darth Vader. And all I could think of was this commercial. Not Star Wars. Not even Lego, the company for which the ad was made. Just this commercial. And then of course I just had to go watch this commercial.

Now that is powerful advertising; when the consumer has your brand at the top of their mind to that extent. If I had been on that campaign, that would have been my pride and glory, my shining moment. I would probably get a screen cap for that commercial printed and placed over my front door.

The most wonderful time of the year

Only if the most wonderful time of the year was about seeing how much stress you can pack into a matter of a couple of days. And I'm not talking about the stress from school now, that's winding down. Now its a whole new batch of stress. Now we're talking about the holidays.

Do you know how much the holidays cost? A lot. Do you know how much money I have lying around for me to spend on the holidays? Not very much at all. True, there are sales that attempt to help out the poor consumer like me, but, for me at least, all such sales do is give me another excuse to buy more things that I probably don't really need. But they're less money now, I should definitely buy at least two! And the ads, is it me or do they just get flashier and fancier and more enticing around Christmas? All I want to do around the holidays is buy stuff and go shopping and order stuff and then buy some more stuff (I suppose I want to eat a lot too, that cost quite a bit of money as well, by the way).

And how am I supposed to pay for all of this?! I know there are plenty of corners in Athens but, its kind of cold outside and I'm not really a fan of prostitution. Darn, advertisers! We do our job to well!

Broke College Student

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Oh how I detest this phrase! I agree that everyone should be entitled to their opinion and that there comes a time when people must agree to disagree. But, there is also a time when you need to set your opinions aside and simply consider something for what its worth, face value.

This was my problem with the Lamar Dodd. I was a graphic design student before I changed sides. I loved, and continue to love, everything about graphic design and art, as far as the curriculum goes. It was really this whole "I like what I like and that's the end" thing that made me want to leave. Long story short, my graphic design teacher didn't love my pieces and I would always get just shy of an A. By the end though, I managed to pull together and A- in the class and so when the portfolio review came around (you know the thing that decides whether or not I can be a graphic design major) I thought, for sure, I'd be able to pass, even if it wasn't with flying colors. I was shocked to find out people who didn't even pass the class could pass the review when I was turned out. It just didn't make sense to me to subjectively judge people. You'd probably miss out on some really great ideas or work or pieces in the future.

I suppose its their loss, though, because now I'm an advertising student and I love how open people are to new ideas, at least I thought they were. Maybe its because I'm dealing with PR people for this class or maybe its just this one TA that needs to be more open-minded. Either way, you know there is a problem when over half the class is distraught, and when I say distraught I seriously mean in tears, over their grade on this last project. By simply looking over people's work I could tell that we all spent a lot of time working on our press packets or event plans. And we are all extremely proud of the finished product. So it doesn't make sense that our grades would not represent that effort.

And when we tried to bring up our complaints to her, the TA's response was to put on her "angry eyes" and get distraught herself. Apparently, we were supposed to completely understand her decision and the fact that we were arguing for our grades was completely unacceptable. Her answers to our questions were always vague and a lot of times she would say "I could have done better" or "I could have thought of more." Well, that's simply not fair. We aren't you. We don't think like you. We probably wouldn't like every press packet or event that you would put together. Your job is to grade us on our ability to take the instructions (incomplete and contradictory as they may have been) and the course content and produce a cohesive and clean project. And if everyone is arguing that you haven't done that, there is a problem.

This is a common theme in the art world, and one reason was I was more than happy to leave. This could slightly be compared to "real world" experience because the client won't always like your idea and it is your job to please them. But, the real world isn't graded. In the real world you would be creating for a client, not a TA. The client is already going to like the subject matter of the campaign or press packet or event because its their product/ service. Our TA did not.

Ok, now I just need to breathe and move on. Life happens. Its not the end of the world. Its still angers me to no end but, I will survive.

Sport Advertising

Certain things about advertising I think are super creative, other things are simply irritating. Lets take sports advertising, for example. Theres the kind that I think is kind of pointless because it never gets noticed, like brand names on equipment. Its really too small to get noticed by anyone besides the players.

And renaming things, like the Staples Center, or the Tostitos Bowl. That is just annoying! Office supplies have nothing to do with basketball! And Bridgestone has nothing to do with halftime! So I dont understand why they have to flood the sports arena with their names. It makes no sense and, to be completely honest, it makes me never want to support which ever team or event again.

But, then there are those moments of genius where promotional items actually do their job- attract attention and support toward the brand or company. For example, every year, at the Tennessee basketball game, Techron distributes. A shirt was placed on each seat and depending on which side of the stadium the seat was located the shirt was either red or black with Techron written on the back. With everyone wearing the same shirt, there was an atmosphere of unity amongst the fans that they helped create. And even after the game, when the students wear the shirt to their classes, people will see the Techron logo. The cost of those shirts in relation to the return on investment is extremely low because people will continue to wear the shirts, for free. Now that is genius.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I finally got in touch with my group for the student run agency today. And apparently our client has a marketing director that is notorious for being hard to reach. Which is almost a good thing, almost a terrible thing. Its wonderful that I wasn't missing information or meetings that I was supposed to have. On the other hand, its awful that we haven't been able to get any work done because our client has made themselves unreachable.

So today, we had to pull together a presentation. With no information. So we got together and did a little research and managed to put together a little something. It wasn't a Prezi like last time, but it was pretty.

We went first again. But we didn't blow them out of the water like last time. Especially because one of the girls jumped the gun on her part and took mine. I didn't really mind because I don't really like public speaking. But, she realized halfway through that she had taken the wrong part and then preceded to awkwardly stumble through mine. It kind of made me cringe internally. Normally she is such a good speaker but, c'est la vie, it happens to us all.

Other than that meeting, and the impromptu one where we made the presentation, I had another meeting in between them. This one was for a paper for Ad research. Basically we divided the work between each group member and that was about it. 2 hours and that was all we got done. To be honest, I really couldn't concentrate because I had so much on my mind and so little energy left. The Starbucks from earlier had completely worn off. So by time that was over I was pretty dead.

Thank goodness its all over now! All the meetings, the presentations, the decisions. All done!


So I wouldn't really call myself a history buff or really nostalgic (technically, I can only be nostalgic for the early 90s since that's all I've experienced...) but, every once and a while I will watch the History Channel or have a yearning to dress up like a woman from the 40s. I think its a love for learning new things. I'm just so curious (sometimes too much for my own good). I like comparing the "then" to the "now" and seeing how things have changed and grown. And I like imagining that I was a part of the "then". I also consider myself an official judge of which is better, "then" or "now".

Which brings me to this:

This is a timeline. Two timelines really, placed conveniently right next to each other. Granted it doesn't show a large time span, it shows two major competitors. On top of that, look at all the cool fonts! And then the graphics, with the fonts and how they fit together! What could be more perfect? (I suppose a longer timeline would actually be a lot more perfect but, hey, beggars can't be choosers.) 

As I actually read the info graphic, I was kind of disappointed though. The author was obviously biased because their descriptions of the Pepsi cans were mostly negative while Coke received mostly rave reviews. I'm wondering if they even chose the best representations of past Pepsi cans in the last 3 years simply because they wanted to pit them poorly against Coke. Whatever their reason, however, I've chosen to enjoy the infographic for the actual graphics, not the info. 

But I want to take a little time to defend Pepsi. To be honest, I am also a Coke fan but, I don't approve of belittling your opponents. 

First of all, the title of this section says it all: the author doesn't like Pepsi. Therefore, their creative decision will always seam negative to them. However, I think it actually might have been a bad idea to create a new can design every 3 weeks for a total of 35 new cans! That so many changes, so much confusion, and copious amounts of money!

Cheap Labor
Although crowd sourcing truly is cheap labor, its a really good idea. They will get consumer input and bring the consumer closer to the brand. 

Worth it?
If its not broke, don't fix it. Pepsi should have listened to that, in my opinion. But, to be honest, I didn't even notice the different in the logo change until I looked closely at this infographic. Maybe its because I'm a Coke person...

Sweet Nostalgia
I am such a big fan of this one! Like I said, I'm interested in historic things like this, they are just so fascinating! So, its no wonder that this can is my favorite of all the Pepsi ones pictured. The font of "Pepsi-Cola" has so much character and texture. And the contrast it makes with the current font of "throwback" looks really nice, in my opinion. I'm such a dork, I would buy that can just to collect it. Or I even might paint that can in guashe so I can hang it on my wall!

 Not fat
I'm actually I big fan of this can. I like the the tall slender look, its very contemporary and stylish. I understand where the complaints were coming from but, I think there is a point where you need to take the design for what it is, simply a product design, not support for eating disorders. 

Nostalgia Redux
To be honest, I'm not quite sure what their throwback brand is. Do they have two types of Pepsi? Did they permanently change the can design to that of a throwback? No matter the answer, as much as I like the throwback idea, I must say I prefer the other throwback. This one just seams to be too busy. I think the previous design had a much cleaner, and therefore, more attractive look.

So now, that I've attempted to defend Pepsi, I think I'll go back to enjoying the infographic for the designs.