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The Quarter Life Calamity

Brittany’s Rant

Well here we are…rock bottom.  Let the meltdown begin!  We’re a couple of under-positioned college grads who thought we were doing everything right until life went naturally wrong.

Obviously at this point, the only thing for a couple of lowly, twenty-something gals to do is blog about our shortcomings.  As the pathetic and conceited western Millennials that we are, we want to share our thoughts, likes and dislikes, failures and everything else in-between with the world.  We want to be known.  We want to be relevant.  But who could blame us?  We were raised in an egocentric society where bulimics with boob jobs are every little girls aspiration, and people wear glasses simply for the aesthetics (are you kidding me?!).  Let me start off by saying, I wouldn’t touch glasses with a ten foot pole had I not been tainted with eyes so terrible that if Helen Keller…

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5 Brands That Really Shouldn’t Have

Some are obvious disasters, others are my opinions of ads that don’t make much sense.  Brands and their ad agencies really strive to be creative and bold.  Most times it works, other times it’s just cringe worthy.  I appreciate their efforts, and they make for good conversations, but these ads aren’t the reason I purchase these brands.  Also, these are “modern day” ads.  Ads from “back in the day” are definitely conversation for a different blog post.

These are my opinion of the Top 5 Flops:

    • Kenneth Cole: So he sent out a pretty insensitive tweet.  This isn’t the only time either.  He must’ve gotten his brand image confused with Ricky Gervais’s?Kenneth Cole tweet
    • Dr. Pepper 10: Uh, I’m sorry, is it 1950?  Has our country’s social evolution over the past 60 years meant nothing to this brand?  I get that they’re targeting men, but don’t blatantly shut out over 50% of the population.  Do you see Tyler Perry advertising that his movies are “not for white guys?”  Nice try, but there are other ways to be bold.dr pepper 10
    • Chanel:  Okay I get it, a beautiful guy, talking some deep gibberish in black and white, getting us women all hot and bothered to wear…perfume? Okay, you got me, I don’t get it.  I really, really don’t get it at all.  I think someone over at Chanel wanted a chance to meet Brad Pitt and said “HEY GUYS! Let’s throw him in our next ad!”
    • Orangina:  These are a couple of print ads for the French campaign.  I’m not sure how the animal-ish figures relate to the brand, or even the tagline for that matter.  I don’t know about you, but this isn’t making me thirsty.  It is, however making me concerned that those into bestiality are getting a bit aroused…Orangina French
    • Dodge: Well guess whose wife won’t agree to buying a Charger because she has 50% of the say on big ticket items and didn’t like the ad? Yours, probably.  I am a sucker for some Michael C. Hall, but let’s not act like a shiny car is a mans reward for being married.  This actually makes men look weak and childish: “Yay, mommy — AHH — I mean wifey.  I did everything I’m supposed to, can I have my toy now?”  Men should probably be more insulted than women.

Really though.  As multi-million/billion dollar companies, you’d think they would know better.  Well, at least they got us talking.  Any publicity is good publicity, right?

Of course there are tons more that I will probably post in the future, but these seem like a good start.  Also, take a look at these other 2012 brand fails and 2013 brand fails from Adweek.  They’re hilarious and epic!  What are some ads you found to be terrible? I want to know!

When Using Social Media For Business, Don’t Be A Broadcaster

My ultimate pet peeve is when a brand doesn’t utilize social media the “right” way.  Many companies use social media primarily to sell their products or services by posting coupons, promotions and discounts.  Ew.  These brands are usually categorized as “Broadcasters” or “Salesmen.”  In my opinion, that’s the last thing they should be using it for.  Social media shouldn’t be an extension of sales.  If should be an extension of brand awareness and customer service.  It’s a unique chance to engage with consumers on a personal level.  Get this right and trust me, the sales will surely follow, and better than that: LOYALTY and RESPECT.

I love when brands “get it” by utilizing social media to post “remarkable” content to their consumers and immediately reaching out to customer service inquiries.  Knowing what their followers like and using it to catch attention is the best service a brand can do to better its image.  These brands are usually called “Conversationalists.”

An example of a brand that busts out remarkable content to their followers without giving the dreaded “pitch” is Whole Foods.  They have an amazing blog and branded social media presence that captures the interests of their consumers without trying to sell them a free frozen turkey with every one hundred dollar purchase.  They make frequent posts across all channels that relate to their brands genre without hassling immediate in-store presence.  This is successful Inbound Marketing.

This seems like a good time to post about my positive social media/customer service experience with a brand:

I had a surprisingly positive experience with Optimum.  It was 10 pm on a Sunday, and I had DVRed The Walking Dead.  When I pressed “play” on my DVR, an error message appeared telling me to try again later. …Wait, Whaaa. Later? That can’t happen.  Not with The Walking Dead.  Not when there’s Twitter spoilers.  Not when my friends are texting “OMG OMG ARE YOU WATCHING THIS?!”  Not when Rick and Michonne and Glenn are in danger!  I restarted the box, tried several times to fix the issue with the common troubleshoot solutions, but nothing was working.  This incident had conveniently been happening to me every Sunday for the past few weeks, so naturally, I was frustrated.  It was late, and the last thing I wanted to do was get on the phone and talk to a recording for 15 minutes before I reached a human, only to have him tell me the same things I had already tried.  Instead, irritated and laying in bed unable to find out what drama was happening with The Governor that week, I took to twitter to share my frustration:tweet

Within minutes, to my surprise, Optimum tweeted me back:

tweet 2We communicated via Direct Messaging on Twitter.  I gave them my name and account information and they looked into the problem right then and there.  The problem was fixed within minutes!  I was astounded.  Never did I think my temper tantrum about my trivial cable problem would get noticed and fixed over Twitter.  I was impressed and now, I am a loyal, happy Optimum user.  If they keep it up, they have my business for life.  Oh, and of course, I gave them some much deserved recognition as well:

tweet 3

If a company isn’t monitoring social media on a full-time basis to see what people are saying, what are they waiting for?!  In my opinion, it’s one of the MOST important areas to spend money on.  One way or another, someone is going to mention something and you want to be there, immediately, when they do.  Unlike a phone call or email, this is publicized.  If the right person gets the wrong experience, your company could have a lot of explaining to do.  Better to act quickly than ignore the issue.  Trust me, it’s not going away.

I will, no doubt, be posting a lot more about social media utilization by brands in the near future because it is fascinating to see how they interact with their followers.  Things to always remember when using social media for business are to: stay positive, stay active, stay engaging.  Do these things and you can’t lose!

When Creatively Stumped, Why Not Ask the Consumers?

How about letting your consumers get creative?  It’s great that some brands have embraced the unique approach of trusting their consumers to come up with creative ideas for advertising and product development.

For a brand to trust the consumers, it must have a clear brand identity and excellent follow-through.  Brands must be confident that they have promoted their brand identity in a clear, concise manner, if they are going to entrust this responsibility to the people who utilize the brand the most.  This is a great way to engage with consumers because it’s inviting them to participate in one of the most precious and sacred segments of the marketing process: the advertising.  They feel important and are motivated to really think about, and understand, the brands identity.  Also, Cheap brand exposure can never hurt.

Marketers appreciate participation because they receive user-generated content that they can use for years to come, at a fractioned price.  Many campaigns used the perspective of their consumers, and they rocked! Here’s a few:



This popular porn website has started a contest where people can compete to become a Creative Director for the company.  Pornhub wants to be able to advertise within mainstream media because they want to grow.  So far, they have the same, more or less, diverse following and they want to expand upon that.  Their goal is to create ads that aren’t too lewd so they can achieve maximum reach.  Take a look at the Pornhub Tumblr page and see what you think of these amateur ads.  Despite the content, you can’t deny the creativity.  Also, here’s an article on Adweek discussing this interesting contest.



Lay’s annual “Do Us A Flavor” contest is a little different than creating a campaign because the brand is asking it’s consumers to create a unique potato chip flavor.  This past April wrapped up the 2014 contest entries.  Last year, the three finalists were Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha and Cheesy Garlic Bread.  Cheesy Garlic Bread was the winner.  Now everyone is dying to know who will win this year!



Frito-Lay definitely loves letting their fans run the show.  Who can forget Doritos’ hilarious annual Super Bowl commercials, generated by their devoted supporters?  Honestly, it’s what I look forward to every year during the Super Bowl.  Since 2006, The winner receives $1 million dollars and the exposure of a lifetime.  Check out the 2014 finalists.

As an Advertising student, I was constantly asked to create ideas for brands.  It’s an exciting and challenging process that I’m glad some marketers have been embracing.  Eventually, I will sporadically post some of my campaign ideas that I pitched in school, and those I just did for fun.  So stay tuned!

Chipotle: Can’t Wait to See What’s Next!

I know this is a little delayed, but since this blog is new, I have to incorporate my support and awe for one of the greatest promotional videos by a big-name brand.  I am a huge fan of Chipotle.  Not only do they pump out quality, but they’re so good at making the competition feel like a bunch of soulless corporate murderers.  Oh, and they get HUGE social recognition in the process.

In September 2013, Chipotle and CAA Marketing pumped out an amazing video titled “The Scarecrow” to promote the new free app-based game.  The video, if you remember, was extremely sad and gave a glimpse into the darkness of processed foods.  While promoting the game, Chipotle also promoted their own values by pulling on viewers’ heart strings.  As an avid animal lover who is supportive of the humane treatment of animals of “corporate” slaughterhouses, the video might’ve had more of an effect on me than a “regular” person.  It tore at me emotionally and gave me a different view of Chipotle as a brand.  I found this bold promotional material was a courageous move for the brand.  It was also long overdue for someone to captivate an audience that has been in the dark.  An audience that never sat down and watched the horrors of how the meat they put into their mouths are injected with steroid and hormones, to say the least.

This isn’t the first time Chipotle has created a video highlighting the horrors of corporate slaughter and the mistreatment of animals.  In 2011, they introduced their bold and creative advertising with a hauntingly beautiful animated video.  In the “Back to the Start” video, farmers aren’t really farmer’s at all.  What once was, no longer is.  Farmers of livestock have become industrialized monsters with no remorse.  Chipotle encourages reform and proves it with this heart-felt video.

In this day and age, society as a whole has become more concerned with how animals are treated, mostly because of evolving media.  Blackfish, another eye-opener, shows us the horrors of keeping animals in captivity and training them for human entertainment.  The new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, has shared his concern for horses pulling carriages in NYC.  These are issues that are rising into the spotlight, and you can bet there are more to come.  CAA Marketing’s Jessie Coulter sat with Adweek and talked about how these videos aren’t the end for the Chipotle brand.  They are planning on producing more videos revolving around the same theme, and will incorporate beautifully haunting versions of recognized songs by distinguished musicians. (Read the full interview here!)

Before this video, Chipotle was just another chain to me.  Now I see them as a company with heart.  This is a brand that I have respect for, and will continue to research their success.  If you don’t think these videos are brilliant then you probably work for McDonald’s.  I for one, can’t wait to see what Chipotle brings us next!

My Top 10 “Lovemarks”


We all have those brands that we hold dear to our hearts.  No matter what, we have, and always will, remain loyal to them.

Most are familiar with the term Lovemark; created and popularized by Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi.  This term describes brands that aren’t mere brands at all.  It represents the brands that subsume both our hearts and minds.  These brands have our love and respect.  Roberts says regular “brands” only hold one of the two.  Roberts suggests that Mystery, Sensuality, and Intimacy are the ingredients to making a brand into a Lovemark.  Of course, their are obvious “lovemarks” that we can all agree on: Coca-Cola, Apple and Disney are the obvious few of the many.  These brands, whether you like the actual products or not, demand respect AND love just by their impactful marketing presence alone.  I’m not crazy about the taste of Coca-Cola, but I love the brand because I respect how its carefully positioned identity.

Your personal relationship with a brand ultimately decides it’s fate as a lovemark.  The individual determines the importance of a brand and how it transitions into a lovemark.  My lovemarks are usually determined by nostalgia.  I love brands that remind me of a simpler time.

Here are my top 10 “Lovemarks:”

  1. Haagen-Dazs:  Ever since I was a little girl, my father embedded the idea that, nothing compares to Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  Between my fathers influence and the costly price for a quart, I was – and still am – convinced that nothing else compares.  Also, Haagen-Dazs ice cream markets their ice cream as luxurious with simple ingredients, which only fuels my love and respect for the brand.  My favorite flavors? Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Mint Chip, Vanilla Swiss Almond, Rocky Road, and Raspberry Sorbet. Haagen-Dazs
  2. Hershey’s: Again, I have my father to thank for my loyalty to Hershey’s.  I can’t remember a time in my household when we didn’t have a Hershey’s product in the house.  If this brand ever vanished off the face of the earth, I would not only notice, but I would fight for its re-emergence.
  3. NBC: I know it’s weird to have a network as a lovemark but it’s true; I Love NBC.  Most of the shows I watch are on NBC including my all time, die hard favorite, Law & Order: SVU.  I’ve been watching Law & Order: SVU since I was nine years old with my mother and grandmother.  I cherished those times with them, so every time I watch NBC I think of my grandmother and the intimate moments we shared.NBC
  4. Russell Stover: This brand is the definition of tradition in my family.  Every single holiday, no matter what, without fail, we give/receive these chocolates.  Russell Stover represents family, generosity and tradition; three qualities that give me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
  5. Macy’s: Ahh yes, Macy’s, of course.  Who doesn’t see Macy’s as a Lovemark?  From Miracle on 34th Street, to the festive holiday décor, to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; who couldn’t praise Macy’s all-over presence?
  6. Hostess: I didn’t think this would be a lovemark for me because I haven’t eaten a Hostess product since my metabolism slowed down (so, like 12?).  When the brand went bankrupt in 2013 and all hostess products were taken off the shelves, I couldn’t help but feel somber.  Hostess has been a staple American product since forever.  Let’s be honest, it pretty much defines America – which doesn’t comfort me at all.  I was excited when the beloved/hated brand was brought back to the market.  Only then did I realize this was a Lovemark.
  7. H&M: This is my go-to brand when it comes to clothing.  I can always rely on H&M when I need a last-minute outfit.  I’ve worn H&M clothing ever since I was a little girl.
  8. M&M’s: M&M’s bring me back to when I was a child and my grandmother would attach a package of Mini M&M’s to the gifts she gave my sisters and me.  They were always the best part of the gift.
  9. Dove: I love love love Dove! It all started with that unforgettable “Real Beauty” Campaign.  Whenever I think of Dove I think of diversity and reality.  Plus, I have super sensitive skin and Dove is the only brand I can trust.Dove
  10. Chase: I know what you’re thinking, “Who would have a bank on their list of favorite brands?” Yeah, I don’t exactly get it either.  I think it’s because it has been in my life for a long time.  My parents use Chase for their banking and it was the bank I opened my first checking account with.  I’ve always been pleased with their customer service, security concerns and the way they’ve revolutionized modern banking.  Who knows, maybe it’s just because they’re big, bloated and blue.

View the list of “The Top 200 Lovemarks,” as suggested by Lovemarks.com.

Marketing techniques and family ties influence my “lovemarks.” What are some of your Lovemarks and why? I’d love to know!


Experiential Marketing: It all ‘Depends’

No Matter the Sales Outcome, We Can’t Deny It’s Strengths.

This post is coming after the article, “Just What Is Experiential Marketing, and How Can It Be Measured?” by Shareen Pathak on AdAge.  The article describes the rising popularity of experiential marketing, how it has been a lingering fad for a while, and where sales stand despite the “hype.”  It describes experiential marketing as “messaging you can touch, feel or view in a physical space.”  Creatives love this because the possibilities are virtually endless.  Between the examples of brands who rely on experiential marketing and the actual financial outcome of its use, I more or less agree with the overall tone of the article.  But, being educated in the concepts and creativity around campaigns rather than the financial gain, I can say that experiential marketing brings far more than a mere number can provide.

Imagine this: The lobby of a busy movie theater in the heart of New York City.  In this lobby, out of hundreds of people coming and going, 40-50 of these people are wearing Depends adult diapers over their pants.  On the bums of the diapers are the words “Support Our Elders.”  They’re walking around as they normally would, as if it were a normal, ordinary day.  The people around them, the non-wearers, are taking photos, videos and engaging with those who are wearing the beloved brand.  Why on earth would these people, young and old, humiliate themselves and walk around wearing a diaper like this?  Well, for one thing, heads are turning. Children are laughing.  People are gasping.  It received attention and now, someone in that crowd will most likely post a video about the odd event online that will go viral for the next four weeks.

This video does not exist.  But I think it is a good example of how experiential marketing is extremely important when used the right way.  This idea may or may not be the best idea for the Depends adult diaper brand.  That is certainly up for debate.  But it does have plenty of powerful qualities.  The message of this video is to support the usage of adult diapers by those who need them.  It’s to make the people who wear the product feel comfortable about it by people who don’t need to wear them yet.  This is more or less what the Depends brand wants for their consumers.  They want not only physical comfort but mental comfort as well.  It’s cheap, funny exposure for a brand that lacks imagination.  Of course a negative to producing something like this is the concern of failure to reach the target market.  Since the target market, ultimately, are men and women over the age of 65, it would be safe to say that they wouldn’t see the “viral” video unless it was shown to them by a younger person.

The hypothetical Depends video is symbolic of the culture around Experiential Marketing.  It’s taking an “ordinary” product and creating an extraordinary story.  It’s fun, engaging and creative.  Who knows, maybe it’ll create a few parody videos in the process.  It helps define a brand identity and, if done right, can be cataloged through numerous mediums at no cost to the advertiser.  This type of exposure might not lead to immediate results in sales but it starts a conversation about the brand that can lead to loyalty and future consumers.  Even though some people don’t see themselves using the brand (e.g. Depends), they never really know what the future holds, do they?I Scream for Insidious 2

Yes, if you read the AdAge article, you’ll see examples where experiential advertising didn’t help increase sales.  Hopeful blockbusters turned block-blunders.  I had an experience when I went to Coney Island over the summer.  An Ice Cream truck was brand wrapped in “I Scream for Insidious 2” signage.  The truck was giving out free ice cream to those who shared their free experience on social media.  I shared it but I never saw the movie in theaters.  I wanted the damn ice cream.  Needless to say, these marketing tactics didn’t hurt the cause either.  At the end of the day, the product or brand itself needs to be of great quality.  Only then will this marketing tactic truly work out.

Obviously, I’m no expert on the matter.  I’d like to hear some opinions about how people see experiential advertising.  Which advertisers do you think got it right and got it absolutely wrong?