Anatomy of a Modern Ad: How Our Purchasing Has Power

I’m going to go ahead and call it: this is the best alcohol advertisement I have ever seen. This may even be the best advertisement I’ve ever seen. Why? 1) It tells a story. 2) It engages the audience emotionally. 3) It promotes positive messages about family and literacy and…. 4) It gives you something (a good feeling/entertainment/ etc) before it asks you to buy the product. I’ve noticed a growing trend lately: companies are not just relying on the traditional “best selling points” (e.g. sex sells). They are using their advertisements and marketing campaigns to promote ideas that improve the world. Whether it is empowering young girls to learn and build (see the GoldiBlox ad below), solving health problems in developing countries, or just telling and celebrating the stories of an increasingly diverse nation. This is in contrast to meaningless Wendell Berry Quote drivel like “Not Normal,” the Mini Cooper ad I wrote about last year. Of course, the main goal of all these brands is to sell product, no doubt about it. And it could be convincingly argued that they are simply responding to the Millennial Generation’s value-based buying habits. But, this is bigger than reaching sales goals. It has power.

Value-based buying habits? According to market research, “U.S. consumers ages 18-34 engage with brands far more extensively than older generation, and they expect their values to be reflected in the brands they purchase.” Like my generation is fed up with the murky waters of politics, we expect to know about the brands we support, and, in the same way we surround ourselves with people with our values, we choose companies who reflect our values. Combine this with the incredible potential of the internet and social media to create real social change, and you finally have a generation holding the reins of big brands, instead of brands choosing the direction of society. To refer back to the above mentioned study, “Social media and mobile devices amplify and accelerate the impact of Millennials’ brand choices and feedback.” We have the power to demand a higher standard of conduct and ideology from even the biggest companies.

I’ve seen this from the consumer point, of course, but I’ve also experienced it from the business side. My mom owns a granite counter top business. When she started her business ten years ago, her goal was to offer a level of craftsmanship and local expertise (versus big box store offerings) that consumers were having trouble finding. But more than that, from the start she was determined to either be successful as a honest business that took care of its employees and cared about its community or to go out of business without compromising her values. Everyone (*cough* male business owners *cough*) told her she needed to just try to be the cheapest, to not offer her customers so much extra help and advice, and especially to not pay her employees so much. But she didn’t listen.

I'm sure you recognize this little girl.

I’m sure you recognize this little girl.

And when I took over marketing for Granite Grannies, my job was easy. I didn’t have to come up with catchy slogans or convince people to buy things they didn’t need. All I had to do was tell our story, and show them our quality work. And you know what? It worked. Business is great at Granite Grannies, and the more the reputation of that brand grows, the more opportunities my mom has to keep supporting local craftsmen, paying good wages, designing home elements to last, and giving to local causes.

So, in conclusion, I hope you recognize how much power you have to change the world, just by the brands you choose to interact with. The recent Meaningful Brands study predicted that companies who aren’t deemed meaningful by consumers will have trouble keeping up in the near future. Their advice to companies: “”Impact people’s lives. Focus on well-being from your product. That’s tough. You have to have that right from the get-go.” So hold businesses to that standard. Don’t settle because you don’t think you have any power to change corporations. Thanks to social media, the individual has a voice and a platform and a chance to create a ripple effect. What ideas do you want to promote in the world? Use your buying power to harness the platform of advertising and encourage the growing practice of using branding to accelerate social change.

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#NYE So Long 2012, You’ve Actually Been Rather Helpful

So long 2012. You’ve been an awful year at first glance, but then again I’ve learned so much this year. I’ve learned about perseverance, about the importance of Christian fellowship, more about the importance of The Fellowship (of the Ring, duh), and the history of Iceland, Norse mythology, and Vikings. I’ve learned how to handle big set backs and feeling directionless. My belief that Will Ferrel is never going to stop being hilarious has been reinforced. I’ve gotten better at understanding my family and trusting my friends. I’ve learned that a good roommate is better than living alone.

Throwing that nasty ring out, cause that's how I do.

Throwing that nasty ring out, cause that’s how I do.

I’ve read so many great books and magazines and articles as well as so many entertaining imaginary texts from imaginary friends when I’m feeling awkward in public. I’ve learned that there are actually some good things about no longer being in college. I’ve gotten better at hanging pictures on the wall. My cooking skills have improved; I’ve added a mixed berry pie and innumerable variations on tofu to my repertoire. I learned about James Bond’s childhood, the fiscal cliff, Schrödinger’s cat, iphonography, and picked up some key geological terms.

While dabbling in gardening, I learned how hard it was. While dabbling in banjo, I learned that I am much better at reading a book and remembering everything in it than learning any skill that requires daily repetition. I have learned that this shortcoming is a big roadblock in exercising, getting better at the violin, being a successful blogger, and keeping acne under control. I have gotten better at exercising self-control at the computer and not binging on netflix (but I reserve the right to put aside this control when a new season of Parks & Rec, Downton Abby, The Office, 30 Rock, Psych, Once Upon a Time,  or HIMYM come out….so basically I’ve only learned self control because I’ve watched everything on Netflix already.) Continue reading

Why Titanic Sucks

What better way to spend a Tuesday afternoon than detailing why Titanic sucks (so help me, if you say the HW word…) ? What better way to spend the time you are spending right now than reading about why Titanic sucks.  I wanted to just try to forget that it was in theaters, but some twisted advertising dude at NBC decided to force online viewers of Community to think about tragedy and stupid teenagers while they/me were trying to watch the show that reminds us/me of our community  college days (yeah, that’s actually how community college is). So without further ado, here’s why you couldn’t drag my dead body to see Titanic in 3D. (Oh, and these reasons as well)

Maybe I’m missing a certain type of hormone, but all I can think during that movie is the other thousand people that are dying miserable deaths, not the two teenagers who think they love each other because they had sex in a car after running around a boat. Obviously they just have a thing for getting it on in various forms of transportation. Thank goodness they lived before airplanes. Continue reading

Getting Down & Dirty With Pop-Culture

Goodness, my last post was so darn serious. Don’t worry, my sweet little blog-reading chiclets, I won’t tax your minds like that again for a while. I’ll try to whip up some tasty little laughs to lower your blood pressure, reduce your chances of heart attacks and strokes, increase your intelligence, and even improve your capabilities to retain and process information (yeah, some people think laughter does all those things! That shit cray!).

Anyways. This week I received the loveliest of compliments from two of my fellow bloggers, Courtney at Millennial Memories and J.D. at Bloggcerto. They created a dialogue with my posts on their own blogs. Besides finally having proof that someone is finally taking my indubitably insightful observations to heart, the neatest thing was how they took a thought or idea of mine and expanded it to a whole new level.

Although I am always in the mood to laugh so hard I am driven to drop to the floor and roll down the halls of The Stamp, I truly enjoy intelligent conversation. Continue reading