12: Website Update

My website address is bryanflaherty.com and I am in the process of completing it. I have a rough home page, only one example of work, a contact page, and a link to my blog. I am currently in the process of updating my resume to put on my website, working on my home page, and finding work that I want to publish. I would love for people to check out what I have and let me know how you feel about my home page. I am open to any criticism or advise. Feel free to comment on this blog post or email me at bflahert@uoregon.edu.

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10: Answering my own question #3: Looking for new trends

  1. 1. Is the reward greater than the risk for Nike to protect its spokespeople through controversial commercials when they are under public scrutiny? How is Nike setting a new trend for dealing with spokesperson problems affecting a brand? (Referring to Tiger Woods and LeBron James commercials)

Golfer Tiger Woods and NBA superstar LeBron James have a lot in common. They are both world-class athletes and along with having their own brands with Nike, they drive a major portion of Nike’s golf and basketball businesses, respectively. However, due to recent events, both athletes made controversial decisions that reflected poorly on their own image as well as Nike’s image. As opposed to dropping the relationship with these spokespeople, which many other sponsors did, Nike used a creative approach to humanize both of the athletes in order to restore their images. After the advertisements were aired, I polled 10 unbiased sports fans who unanimously agree that Nike had helped restore both athletes’ public images. Along with this group, I believe that the risk that Nike took was incredibly creative, well thought out, and professional. It takes courage and confidence to attempt to turn a societal “bad guy” into a human form. These two athletes are so immortalized in pop and sports culture, so it is amazing that a commercial was able to have a lasting effect on the general public’s opinion.

Celebrities and athletes are paid millions of dollars to represent a company or brand. In the past, brands have fired their spokespeople when they are under public scrutiny due to behavioral problems. However, Nike has shown the branding world that they have successfully saved and restored images of their spokespeople while maintaining a strong self-image. I believe that this trend of brand restoration will continue in advertising and branding among strong companies. It not only financially benefits companies but it is morally beneficial to the individual and the individual’s family. With all the scrutiny advertising is under regarding consumerism and child targeting, this is a step in the right direction to restore a positive image of advertising.

9: Answering my own question #2: Understanding strategic planning

  1. John Armato, author of Think inside the box, taught us about the relationship between a public relations strategic plan and an advertising strategic plan. Since branding has meshed the two occupations together. What is your strategic plan for your dream account using John Armato’s model of a strategic plan?

Account: Speedo before the upcoming 2012 Olympics

Goal: For Speedo to encompass and connect people to the swimming experience.

  • Objective 1:  Increase swim team participation by 10% in the 6 months following the 2012 Olympics.
    • Point of View: We believe that Speedo has the opportunity to embody and promote the culture of swimming through a strong branding campaign.
      • Strategy 1.1: Use a “day in the life” of a swimmer approach to teach consumers the feelings one gets when swimming and spark a swimming memory.
        • Tactic 1.1: Send creative team to join a swim team to build understanding.
        • Tactic 1.2: Interview competitive and non-competitive swimmers about their experiences and connections to swimming.
        • Tactic 1.3: Create a three minute multimedia video using research.
      • Strategy 1.2: Use a variety professional swimmers, amateur swimmers, and recreational swimmers to connect non-competitive swimmers to Olympic athletes.
        • Tactic 1.4: Advertise slogan around school pools and swimming venues in order to promote swimming and create brand recognition.

Creative Platform 1: In order to complete this objective we need to think about and understand swimming on a variety of categories or levels. In the multimedia video, we will use three recreational swimmers, three amateur competitive swimmers, and three Olympic swimmers. Its goal will be to connect each viewer to a person in the video and spark memories of past positive swimming experiences.  In order to encompass and connect people to the swimming experience, we will show each swimmer’s journey from putting on the swimsuit to walking away from the pool. I want to show that each category of swimmer has a unique journey but, no matter the journey, all three levels are bound together as swimmers.

Objective 2: Increase awareness of the campaign by 25% more views on social media sites during the time period of the Olympics.

  • Point of View: We believe that swimming is a special experience that is not recognized by the media.
    • Strategy 2.1: Using media to gain awareness about Speedo and swimming.
      • Tactic 2.1: Create a 3 minute multimedia video and put it on YouTube.
      • Tactic 2.2: Broadcast shorter versions of this video on television.
      • Tactic 2.3: Advertise brand and slogan on popular swimming websites.
      • Strategy 2.2: Bring together all competitive swimmers on to one website.
        • Tactic 2.4: Create a website that streams live events and post results of Olympic swimming events.
        • Tactic 2.5: Create Facebook and Twitter accounts linking people to the website, videos and posting results.
        • Tactic 2.6: Create a Twitter feed on this website with tweets from all sponsored Olympic athletes and coaches.
        • Tactic 2.7: Create a visual program on the website showing the physical health benefits of swimming.
        • Tactic 2.8: Create an online database storing all current youth USA Swimming race times. (All competitive swimmers are registered with USA Swimming.)
        • Tactic 2.9: Create an online system to compare youth USA Swimming race times to Olympic athletes in any event using yard-meter conversion system.

Creative Platform 2: In order to complete this objective, I will create an all-encompassing website that ties the creative platform of the video to social and online media. This website will be easy to use and will promote swimming in all three categories. Recreational swimmers will be able to learn about the health benefits and enjoyment that comes from swimming. The health benefits section will be interactive and visually interesting. Users will also be able to learn about competitive swimming and get to know the Olympic athletes. Amateur competitive swimmers (if registered with USA Swimming) can see how their race times rank among the nation. All amateur competitive swimmers will be able to enter their times to compare them against Olympic athlete’s times. Since most amateur swimmers times are in yards, I will develop a conversion system to meters, and vice versa, to see how fast the Olympic athletes really are compared to the website users’ race times. Everything on the website will be interactive and visually interesting, and will relate to the brand image created by the multimedia video.

  • Objective 3: Increase viewership of 2012 Olympic swimming events by 15%.
    • Point of View: We believe we can create a bond between professional swimmers and youth swimmers.
      • Strategy 3: Begin the campaign two months prior to start of the Olympics to get viewers excited for the swimming events.
        • Tactic 3.1: Host Olympic promotional events (pep rallies) in major metropolitan areas’ swimming pools and on college campuses before Olympics.
        • Tactic 3.2: Hire Olympic athletes to attend these events to build excitement and publicity.

Creative Platform 3: In order to complete this objective, I will create excitement in the swimming and sports communities about the upcoming Olympic swimming events. I will create excitement by holding events across the United States bringing together sports fans and swimmers with a “pep rally” atmosphere. I want each event to be focused around USA pride. The goal of these events will be to bring traditional sports fans and swimming fans together at pools to build excitement and meet Olympic athletes. If a sports fan or swimming fan meets a particular athlete, I think that it will create a bond that will increase the viewership of that particular athlete’s races in the Olympics.

8: Answering my own question #1: Consumerism in America

  1. In the early 20th century advertising was blamed for the rise of consumerism culture. Does the new style of advertising, referred to as branding, contribute more or less to a consumer culture society?

There is no doubt that advertising has strongly contributed a consumer-driven society in which people spend beyond their means every day. According to Gary Cross in his book An All-Consuming Century, in the early 20th century  “both advertisers and their critics agreed that consumers were passive and that the function of ads was to manipulate rather than inform” (Cross 35). Ads manipulated consumers into personifying products into what society desired, which was, “a reassuring and inspiring friend… Ads linked material goods to immaterial longings, blending social, psychological, and physical needs” (Cross 38).

For a long time advertising used this strategy to convince people to buy a product or service, until recently when advertising has transformed into a branding focus. Branding combines all aspects of connecting with consumers and developing a relationship with them. Branding’s focus is to instill a lasting positive image of a company in society’s mind. I believe that branding is less demanding on the consumer than past advertising practices, because its focus has evolved. Branding aims to build trust and security between the consumer and company as opposed to showing them how consumer’s lives would be enhanced by a product. I believe that consumers are so entrenched with bad advertisements that they are drawn towards brands that are not shoving products down their throats.

Due to the current economic recession, consumers have changed their consumption habits and are more mindful of the products they purchase. As a result, consumers have developed a better understanding of advertisements and are able to sort through the clutter to find brands that they want to be associated with.  Despite only a small percentage of brands successfully figuring out branding strategies, I believe modern-day branding is a positive step for advertising’s contribution to consumerism.

Cross, Gary S. An All-consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Print.

7: Guest Speaker Scott Bedbury in Creative Strategist Class

Last week, author of the book A New Brand World and brand consultant Scott Bedbury spoke in my class. Scott was the brand architect for Nike and Starbucks and University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication Alumni. Our discussion with him was very insightful and he gave great insight to who he is and what he does. As our discussion took us through his life and career he gave some great advice that made an impression on me. I have listed them with a brief description of how I view it or why I think it is important for young professionals like myself to understand.

  • Take ideas from everywhere
    • He told us stories about presenting ideas or advice to executives that he had heard from his kids. I learned that the best ideas are not always formed from studying brands or sitting in front of a whiteboard. They can be developed and created from real people and real world experiences.
    • Take the ethnographic approach (day in the life)
      • Scott encouraged us to find what matters the most between a customer and consumer. He used the Nike women campaign as an example of how brands can connect with people when they find out how they really feel.
      • Brands evolve or die
      • We may be the Goliath but think like the David
        • This thought process is how successful companies stay successful.  It applies to all forms on competition not just branding.
        • Never acknowledge the competition
          • I feel that if you worry too much about your competition you lose focus on your own brand. This applies companies with a large market share or a small market share.

The final and most important piece of advice that I took from the speech was to be the person that you would want to go to a three hour baseball game with. My professor Deb Morrison always reminds us to be nice and not an asshole, but the way Scott Bedbury said it inspired me.  As I move forward into the profession I will use what I learned from Scott Bedbury to make me a stronger more complete professional.