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.