Musings of an Advertising major.

Websites are like Theme Parks

During last week’s class, we learned all about what makes a great website. Eric used the simile that websites are like theme parks and I totally understood. In order for a theme park to be successful they need amazing attractions, warm welcomes, and a simple way to navigate the park. Theme parks also need ask park goers to visit again and make sure they bring home souvenirs. In a way, websites are the same. They need a warm welcome, easy navigation, a simple, yet beautiful layout, great interactive features, a call to action, and a pleasant goodbye (like “thank you for visiting”).

With these traits in mind, I created a simple site map inspired by one of my favorite cosmetic brands. Check it out below!

The site is simple, yet interesting and offers all the information a consumer might be looking for. But, if the intended information is nowhere to be found, the visitor can easily locate the “contact us” button with any questions he/she might have. I placed a welcoming header on top of the website because I believe that makes a site look professional, especially if it includes a call to action. Right under the header is a search box and various buttons that link out to other pages on the website (for different products). This makes the site easy to navigate. Next, there is a section for cool graphics, videos, or popular product pictures and information. Adding videos and graphics to a website turns it into a destination as well as legitimizes it in the eyes of Google and consumers alike. I also placed a newsletter sign up box near the top with a disclaimer that states, “We never give out your personal information.” This is important because it reassures consumers that their email will be kept private and that we are a company they can trust. Finally, located at the bottom of the site there are various links, including “locations, contact, about, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.” This links are incredibly important because they help customers find everything they’re looking for. They also connect customers to the social media pages, which helps grow the company and customer loyalty.

What do you think of this site map? Let me know in a comment below.

PS- If you really want to have some fun, check out the world’s worst website! (Click at your own risk.)


Selena Gomez Invests in Photo-Sharing Start-Up Postcard on the Run

I’d like to begin this post with a confession. I am a huge fan of Selena Gomez. Not only is she talented and incredibly stylish, but she’s also hardworking, smart, and philanthropic. Unlike many of this generation’s celebrities, Gomez puts her fame to good use by working with charitable organizations like UNICEF in order to spread awareness. Partnering with this former Disney star definitely has its benefits considering her Facebook and Twitter pages boast a combined total of 33 million fans respectively. Her reach is ridiculously high and her opinion is taken seriously (and acted upon) by millions of her loyal fans.

With this being said, it’s no wonder Gomez’s first tech investment to help fund the free iOS and Android app, Postcard on the Run, has already been a success. After posting a short blurb on her Facebook page about how much she loves the app, 20,000 people downloaded the app within 24 hours. It is evident that Gomez has humongous influence over her fans among various popular social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram included). Gomez’s earnest love of the app, which allows users to make and send unique (for $0.50 users can add a scratch and sniff feature), hard-copy postcards to anyone with a mailing address, and investment, along with her heavy influence on certain demographics has placed Postcard on the Run in the minds of countless consumers.

Now, I believe celebrity endorsements work and if you don’t believe me, please re-read the aforementioned article. If that still doesn’t convince you then just look at the Justin Bieber phenomenon. Everything he creates, or even mentions on his Twitter, becomes insanely popular. He has huge influence and so does Selena Gomez. Investments like Gomez’s create huge opportunities for well-known and start-up companies alike. It widens their reach and introduces new demographics to their product. Each celebrity has a key demographic that idolizes them, if advertisers were to utilize these celebrities, it could create buzz and excitement for their product. It’s non-intrusive, attractive, and relevant to each celebrities fan base. Not only that, but this form of advertising would definitely bring in a large return on investment, which is very important in this industry.

Overall, I really like this form of social media advertising. It’s effective and benefits celebrities and fans alike.



This week I was inspired by Chris Morata. Here is a 20-something-year-old with an amazing job doing what he loves giving me advice on how to achieve my goals like he achieved his. Morata graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2005 and began working for Magnetic (now Bridgeline Digital) just 2 weeks later. I remember being amazed when he told our small group that. It gave me a boost of confidence to know that someone my age can obtain a great career just out of college.

Before Morata spoke to us, Eric Ritter gave us a tour of the Bridgeline Digital. Bridgeline Digital was founded in 1997 and focuses on Internet marketing, development, and design. What makes Bridgeline Digital unique is that it offers iApps, a product suite that is integrated and geared towards larger clients. This is the only company in Florida that offers iApps, which really gives them a competitive edge. The office is small, but really packs in a lot of creativity. I immediately felt comfortable the moment I walked into Bridgeline Digital. There are small open cubicles, big, comfy couches, and brilliant art hung on the walls. One can really tell that Bridgeline Digital is an easy-going company that thrives on creativity and inspiration.

Overall, I really enjoyed taking a tour of Bridgeline Digital. I especially loved speaking with Chris Morata. Some of the important things I took away from this trip are:

  • I need to make my own website. It looks really professional when I apply for jobs and it really sets me apart from other applicants.
  • If I want a job, I have to go out and find it. A career isn’t going to fall into my lap. Morata actually searched “web design” on Google maps and applied to every business that popped up in the search. He received four job offers and continues to be contacted by employers.
  • Learning is a process that never ceases. Morata dedicates at least an hour of his day to reading articles and blogs posted by leading professionals in his field. Being in the mass communications field, I need to understand that formats, techniques, etc. change frequently. Keeping up to date with these changes will make me an asset to my company.

The Facebook Ad Process

Facebook is the #1 site on the web, so it only makes sense for companies to advertise on it. I created two mock advertisements for KLEENEX tissues. One targeted towards 18-24 year old woman living in the United States, who speak English, and currently attend college. I chose to target women who are interested in both men and woman and I didn’t place a specification on relationship status. I did this because KLEENEX tissues are universal. I linked the advertisement to the official KLEENEX Facebook fan page in order to generate more likes.  My copy states, “A red nose is only cute on Rudolf. Protect your nose this winter with KLEENEX. Click “Like” to learn more.” Here are screen shots of my process:

My next advertisement targets 25-45 year old mothers.  This ad is targeted towards married woman, with no education preference, living in the United States. My copy states, “Soothe your child’s stuffy nose this winter with KLEENEX. Click “Like” to learn more.” I believe this copy will play into a women’s/mother’s nurturing nature and compel them to visit the Facebook page or site to learn more. My goal for this Facebook ad campaign is the same as the first one–generate more “likes.” This advertisement will reach over 1 million targeted Facebook users. Here are screen shots of my process:

CBS Makes Sweeps Week Social

It’s about that time of year again. Beginning Monday, November 5th, sweeps week will be upon us. Now, I’m all for over-the-top action-packed episodes of my favorite shows (mainly The Vampire Diaries); however, I am distraught over the winter hiatus many shows will be taking. This means extreme, make-you-want-to-scream-it’s-so-crazy cliffhangers, which seems to pair nicely with sweeps week (probably not a coincidence).

Next week, while the majority of networks will be doing the usual sweeps routine and broadcasting their most thrilling episodes yet, CBS will be taking it one step further. The major network announced that it will be incorporating social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter into their sweeps week. Starting November 5th, fans following CBS on social media will be given exclusive behind-the-scenes information as “CBS stars will post photos and video links from the set, and answer fan questions and comment on various posts.” CBS has dubbed this event “Social Sweeps Week.”

It’s refreshing to see that CBS realized where their viewers are and has acted accordingly. Their stray from traditional sweeps week protocol in favor of a highly embraced method of communicating with fans while building a community for them presents amazing insight into the future of advertising using a hybrid of traditional and non-traditional techniques. More and more television viewers are flocking to their computers and hand-held devices (iPad, smartphone, etc.) and commenting on what they are watching. Many are even live chatting with strangers all over the world through Twitter while watching the show. As I stated previously, this information provides great opportunity for advertisers to be where their consumers are. A simple tactic like sponsoring Social Sweeps Week for CBS (or the next network to embrace this change) will gain a lot of awareness for a company. This technique is widely used by companies on the radio that sponsor the traffic report. By partnering with another company that also targets the desired demographic, advertisers need only take simple steps to create awareness for their company, brand, or service.

5 Best Practices for Financial Institutions on Facebook

When you think of a bank, the last thing to come to mind would be Facebook. Banks are thought of as stuffy and professional, which is the opposite of Facebook. However, Zoe Fox, a Mashable contributor, says banks can “loosen their neckties” and embrace this social networking giant! (Fox’s 5 pieces of advice can be found in this article.)

1. Don’t just talk about banking.

If consumers wanted to know your hours of operation, rates, or policies, they’d head straight to your company’s official website (or at least Google it). Facebook is about connecting with people, so banks need to engage Facebook followers with information that doesn’t seem like a sale pitch. Asking followers questions, giving behind the scenes information on the happenings of your company, etc. will entice consumers into following you. Fox uses Citi Bank as an example for this piece of advice. Citi routinely updates their Facebook page with questions (usually location-based) to create friendly conversations between themselves and their fans. Citi’s tactic works to create a feeling of community, which creates trust for their company.

2. Host contests.

Who doesn’t love winning free prizes? Fox uses HSBC’s student Facebook page as an example for this piece of advice. HSBC hosted a contest that asked students to create a 90 second video clip explaining how they want to change the world. Their contest was incredibly successful and HSBC was able to award 8 students with $15,000. Although contests initially bring in Facebook “likes” solely with intention for winning, they are successful because many users forget (or are too lazy) to “unlike” a company page. Fortunately, those “likes” will remain and turn into fans if the company continually posts interesting, informative, and engaging statuses, pictures, and videos.

3. Offer career advice.

Aspiring business professionals and students often model themselves after professionals in their intended field and look to successful companies for career advice. Creating a community where these information-seeking individuals can receive advice straight for the source will build a relationship between them and the company. JP Morgan routinely posts recruiting tips on their Facebook page and receive a great amount of feedback because of it.

4. Be cool.

Young adults appreciate when a company speaks to them like they speak to their friends. It’s a small personal touch that goes a long way. Wells Fargo routinely posts personal updates about the happenings of their company. Fox used the company’s post that began with “Hey people!” and documented the last Wachovia sign being taken down in North Carolina (as part of their trasition to Wells Fargo) as an example of their personality through Facebook posts. Wells Fargo speaks like our friends do, which is what people are drawn to when it comes to communicating with a brand through social media.

5. Show off your good work.

Consumers appreciate a company that gives back to the community. Facebook is a great place for any company to share their good deeds with fans. Doing so will help build a sense of community and encourage customers to have pride in their bank (or any other business). Fox uses Bank of America’s Building Opporunity Facebook page as an example of this. This page “serves as a forum to discuss community projects, stemming from prompts posted by the bank, such as “What kind of job training programs are in your area?” By giving information and asking fans questions about community service in their area, Bank of America successfully creates a community for its fans to share their volunteer experience and cheer on the company as well.

Email Campaigns

I receive tons of email a day, but that doesn’t mean I read it all. I carefully sift through each email on my iPhone and choose which are important enough to read on my laptop and which to send to the trash.

One of my favorite email campaigns is from I signed up to receive this tips newsletter in an effort to gather more ideas for dinner meals. The emails come about once a week. I actually look forward to seeing an email from Pillsbury in my inbox. The design is simple, colorful, easy to read, and filled with enticing pictures. I like that at the bottom of every email, Pillsbury gives me the choice to unsubscribe. I believe making this button easy to locate is very important in keeping a customer happy. Pillsbury also offers coupons in each email and all recipe links send me to their website.

An email campaign I dislike is for Carrabba’s Italian Grill. These emails have a great design, but I feel as though they are incredibly impersonal. I don’t like reading an email and feeling like I am being sold to, which is exactly how I feel when I read an email from Carrabba’s. If Carrabba’s created an email campaign that was more personable, engaging, and informative (without the sales pitch) then I would enjoy receiving their emails.

My Favorite Viral Ad

There’s something about a good viral advertisement that makes me look forward to seeing the commercial on television over and over again. The advertisement never gets old for me. When The T-Mobile Dance advertisement debuted about 2 years ago, I remember looking forward to seeing it on television over and over. I found something new to love, laugh about, and enjoy each time I watched the commercial.

T-Mobile’s commercial went viral (and made it to #7 in AdvertisingAge’s Top Viral Ads of All Time list) because it’s simple, entertaining, humorous, and novelty. The idea of flash mobs was still emerging as “cool” a couple years ago and I believe T-Mobile was the first to take the trend and employ it into an advertisement. Along with utilizing a new concept, T-Mobile also gave consumers incentive to purchase their product and use their service. Their tagline “Life is for Sharing,” emphasizes to consumers that having a T-Mobile phone plan will allow them to capture life’s surprises and share them with anyone and everyone. Not only was the commercial a novelty idea and informative, but it was also entertaining and humorous. I think the was the appeal that catapulted The T-Mobile Dance into viral fame.


Your Phone Knows More About You Than Your Mom

This article, found on, outlines what the future has in store for smartphones and advertising. The author, Marcus Fischer, compares smartphone capabilities now to what they were just a short time ago. We once only used our phones to communicate and check the weather, but now that seems so Stone Age to consumers. Fischer states that smartphones “could soon rival mom” considering consumers can now use them to “pay bills on the fly, get us through airport security and they’re about to do a whole lot more.” Smartphones will soon allow us to pay a restaurant bill, start a car engine, verify identity, and bump to pay at a cash register. This technology will soon eliminate the need to carry anything but your phone. Having all your information in one place provides promising opportunities for advertisers to target consumers on another platform.

Smartphone Statistics:

  • By 2015, more people will access the Internet by phone than by desktop.
  • By this holiday season smartphone penetration will be at 50 percent.
  • A year from now smartphone penetration will be at 90 percent.

Consumers’ increasing reliance and usage of smartphones, coupled with the technology’s numerous capabilities, shine a light on potential advertising opportunities. Fischer states, “Our phones already know more details than our moms ever will: where we are, who we are with, what we’re saying to them and what we just did (possibly with photographic evidence).” This statement rings true to the majority of consumers in the market today and it is more than likely that the dependence on smartphones and mobile technology will only increase in the years to come. As advertisers, we must take advantage of this shift in media consumption. Our consumers’ lives and priorities have shifted. Gone are the days when consumers heavily relied on desktop computers. Consumers are on-the-go using their smartphones, iPads, and other mobile technology. Our advertising can no longer be solely tied down to media that isn’t portable. We can utilize the wealth of information given through smartphones and create creative, personalized, directly targeted advertisements that will be sent straight into our consumer’s hands. By adapting quickly to this changing technology and shift in consumer patterns, we can continue to successfully advertise to consumers in a way that speaks directly to them.

Living in the Digital Nation

This week in class, Eric introduced us to a facsinating Frontline documentary called Digital Nation. The film examines the various realities, risks, and possibilities that go hand-in-hand with the digital world we live in today. The opening scene of the film shows a mother making dinner for her family. We learn that this mother is one of the researchers in this study on the impact of the internet. Her voice comes through the speakers as a narrator for the film. She describes how her family is sitting at the dinner table while she prepares their meal. Her husband is on his laptop reading the news and her son is on his laptop researching for a school project. Then she realizes, “We were sitting in the same room, but we were in different worlds.” Her statement immediately resonated with me. Not only was it painfully true, but it accurately described our current state in this digital nation. The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool that frankly, many cannot live without. The Internet’s creation has molded us into different people than our parents were at our age.

There was a study in the film that proved this statement with concrete research on students attending MIT. Attendees of MIT are regarded as some of the smartest in the nation, which convinced them that constant multi-tasking while in class or doing homework is okay and encouraged. However, a study done by researchers at Standford University proved that even though the majority of multi-taskers believe they are brilliant, the truth is that most are “lousy at everything that has to do with multi-tasking.” On a whole, our generation’s basic skills are worse today than they were a decade ago. This is due highly in part to our constant need for immediate gratification. If we think of something, we immediately Google it to satisfy our curiosity. Our generation’s mentality inhibit us from thinking about the “big picture.” Now, our thoughts are merely short bursts of brilliance, with little to no connection.

Watching my generation’s shortcomings splattered all over this film was shocking, saddening, and enlightening. I am guilty of multi-tasking and not being fully invested with school work. Watching this film helped me realize that I need to focus my attention on the task. Also, I realize that my opinions on the impact of the Internet sound cynical, but I am in no means anti-Internet. Like an interviewee in the film stated, “Techonology isn’t good or bad, it’s powerful.”