Archive | October, 2010

Because everyone loves a good venn diagram

26 Oct

Via TheNumberOfTheBlog


13. How to write a plan, from Creative Strategist John Armato

26 Oct

John Armato, senior partner and Creative Strategist for PR firm Fleishman-Hillard in Sacramento, visited our creative strategist class today with some helpful insight on his beliefs on how to succeed in the media, advertising and PR industry. Fleishman-Hillard is the world’s largest PR firm with over 29 practicing groups. They represent the number one or two brands in most categories. At the Sacramento division, Armato works mostly with food and wines.

Creative Strategist – spurred by an evolution, a choice, an opportunity

Armato concentrated on showing us the one thing he had wished someone had showed him when he first started working, and that is how to distinguish and write a plan. First of all, a plan is not a proposal or a presentation. A proposal has to do with asking for an opportunity to create a plan and a presentation is the way you convey that plan. A plan is an interaction between clients, those in need, and counselors, those who can help.

John Armato’s Steps for Creating a Plan

  1. Adopt a counselors frame of mind. [know where you start and where you are going — don’t guess — do appropriate research — start with a thorough briefing — ask every question you can think of — insist on driving at a simple, clear and concise understand of what success should look like]
  2. Don’t mistake what’s possible for what’s right.
  3. Don’t pander. [expectations are important, but remember to counsel]
  4. It’s the “we believe…” statement. [should reveal insight]

During presentation, Armato spent a great deal of time going over the differences between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. The chart below defines each and shows their places in the planning process. My favorite description  was how he clarified that you have an objective when you can say “We know we’ve been successful when…”

Some helpful tip form John Armato include:

  • Understand it’s not easy and takes time.
  • Test statements against definitions.
  • Use simple, direct language.
  • Beware prepositions, nearly always “by…” or “via…” because it confuses the strategy and the tactic.

The biggest thing I took away from this guest was the concept that you are not stuck in the career that you are training for now. As a young professional I intend to change my mind about what I want to do at least 100 more times. I am learning skills now that will help me not only train me for a career in advertising, but for a career that I enjoy, whatever that may be. I am learning to push myself, grow into new trends and out of old ones. I am using my creativity to spark ideas which, eventually, will lead me to exactly what I want to do. Check out John Armato’s blog.

12. What a difference 20 years can make

25 Oct

Via MakeUseOf

11. A lighter or a spoon?

25 Oct


Created by Jeff Goran

At first glance it is almost impossible to see the switch. The two packages are so similar in color, design and lines that it’s likely someone could miss the swap entirely. This image was created by digital artist Jeff Goran in hopes to provoke some thought on the similarities. This is not the first time someone has “borrowed” or adopted a top selling image. Advertisers and marketers are learning to manipulate the mind in order to create trust and recognition when ordinarily there is none. Campbell’s Soup Company started with a strong image in the mid-1800’s. Marlboro may not have copied their brand image, but there are certainly some un-can-ny similarities.

Gap is attempting to keep up with the times with a new campaign for their 1969 Premium Jeans. They are “reintroducing their core product, denim jeans, with an elaborate campaign notable for its many nontraditional elements” says Stuart Elliot of The New York Times. Their goal is to connect with a demographic that they have had a hard time getting a hold of. With the use of a Facebook page, videos and iPhone apps, they hope to grab the attention of teens and young adults. Gap is even using their new tag line, Born To Fit, as a a website ( that links directly to their Facebook page. The campaign was created to say that Gap has

“…taken our heritage, denim, and re-energized it,” said Ivy Ross, executive vice president for marketing at the Gap division in San Francisco. “It’s like building a new house.”

In an attempt to prove that Gap is still with it, they have created a series of ads to go with their campaign. Look familiar? The advertisements have an almost identical look and feel compared to the minimalistic American Apparel ads. I find it hard to believe that Gap unintentionally used the same “stark white backgrounds, Helvetica headlines and erogenous models,” posted by AdWeek. There is no doubt that Gap definitely has more taste and less suggestive images, but what are they hoping to gain from this? An in on the hipster fashion flooding most college campuses? One thing is for sure, and that is that Gap no longer qualifies as “mom jeans.”

One final observation of this trend: is Pepsi stealing President Obama’s campaign? This past year Pepsi has come out with a new campaign, a new look and the new refresh project. Their “Yes you can!” tag line seems to be ripping directly off of Barak Obama’s famous campaign for presidency. They have even been using his “Hope” images and slogan. Is this strategy brilliant or tacky? There is no doubt that the campaign was successful for President Obama, but it seems like Pepsi is just trying to hang on to the coat tails of its popularity. So the big question is, did Pepsi steal Obama’s message? Washington City Paper noticed that Pepsi tweaked their logo “and has adopted words like ‘hope’ and ‘optimism’ for its bus and TV ads. Only Pepsi spells it ‘optimismmm.’ Or something like that. Cool. I marvel at what Pepsi would have done with McCain’s ‘America First’ slogan.”

Even The New York Times has noticed the popularity of using this campaign to sell products in Inspired by Obama’s Message? Pull Out Your Walled. There is an inauguration hot sauce, a “Hope and Change” necklace at Chico’s and even Ikea’s new slogan is “Change Begins at Home”.

It seems major corporations are attempting to take advantage of the trust we but in brands by creating similar looking logos, ads and packaging. Brand loyalty may not be as important as we thought if it can be used to direct consumers to their competitors. Don’t be fooled.

10. Coolest business card ever

21 Oct

This is an example of LEGO’s new business card. When employees get a card like this they even get to customize it to match their gender, hair and accessories.

This is a great way for LEGO to use their brand and do something original. Handing someone this mini figurine will be both surprising and memorable. I love it!

These are expensive so only a few top executives and PR representatives get them. Found on positive sharing.

9. Is this guy for real?

21 Oct

I believe in the idea of enjoying what you do, but this guy takes “whistle while you work” to a whole new level. Alexander Kjerulf, AKA The Chief Happiness Officer, is one of the world’s leading experts in happiness at work. He speaks and consults at businesses all over the world, including leading organizatons like IBM, Hilton, LEGO, HP, IKEA and many others.

“Because loving what you do is just that damn important!”

Kjerulf is the author of 3 books including Happy Hour is 9 to 5 which is all about how to love your life, your job and kick butt at work. He has a background in computer science and was co-founder of an IT company called Enterprise Systems. Kjerulf prides himself on the fact that his lectures and advice is grounded in science and real-life business cases. He makes a living working with clients and groups on how to be happier. This seems like such a simple concept, and the companies he works with love it.

At his website, Positive Sharing, Kjerulf frequently posts articles and daily advice to help his followers live a jollier lifestyle. Monday advice includes tips like “Give your co-workers a morning surprise” and “Change your to-do list to a could-do list.” I found one of his articles very interesting called 10 seeeeeriously cool work places (he tends to use kitschy slang to draw in his customers). This article was actually inspiring to see all these technologically advanced and generally “happy” places that look like fun to work. Who wouldn’t want to work somewhere with a slide, like Red Bull London?











This guys is able to find the good in everything, and hey, maybe we need more people in this world like that. Alexander Kjerulf seems like the real deal and he has done some great work for companies. I would love to hear him speak and see if he really is all rainbows and sunshine, but for now I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. Keep smiling Alex!

8. An attempt to make Generation Y give a sh*t

20 Oct

For some reason I, and it seems most other voters, believed that the 30 and under crowd had a big part in the nomination and election of President Obama, but this does not seem to be the case. The Next Great Generation makes it painfully obvious in their article Hey Youth Vote! that their was only a 1% increase in votes from voters under the age of 30 this past election compared to one years earlier. They were sure coming out in throngs to register voters and show their support, but were they actually voting? Or maybe it was the same old group voting that were way more excited for this election. Either way, there has to be something we can do about getting more youth participation in elections. It’s our future after all.

President Obama is attempting to rally his once obsessed followers and prove that he is the Obama-nator we all once supported. He is visiting towns and college campuses to do what he does best, talking. His goal is to wake up supporters and prove to them that he is in fact making changes for us and our lives. Hopefully that will spark students to pick up their cell phone/pda/Blackberry/iPhone/Macbook and register to vote in this upcoming election.

TNGG is shouting out to Generation Y to not only fill out their poll directed at young voters, but to create the questions for it. They are going to poll California (because of their large population and economy) and they want the questions to come straight from the youth that they want to hear from. Questions are already being posted on their website including:

Do you support the legalization and taxation of marijuana?

An obvious favorite, and:

Should college debt be forgiven for those who join AmeriCorps or Teach for America?

These questions are straight from the under-30 crowd and will hopefully be used to spark more questions in the minds of young voters. It’s going to be our country in a few years and Generation Y needs to start giving a damn!