Ethics 101

December 19, 2008 at 11:28 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Throughout many of our lessons and discussions these past 9 weeks, ethics has been a popular topic. In relation to online direct marketing, permission-based e-mail marketing, web site data capture, and SPAM all address issues of ethics dealing with consumer privacy. In relation to children and youth, advertising towards this age group via TV from food, candy, and toy companies has recently been in heated debates. Finally, in relation to paid placement and paid inclusion search advertising, ethics has been brought up in terms of how knowledgeable the consumer is.

 

Ethical debates dealing with advertising will never become obsolete. There will always be an organization, an advertiser, or a consumer ready to create hostility or cause interruption within society that will address an ethical issue. “People in advertising spend a lot of their time dealing with ethical choices, and those choices are almost never black and white. They’re subtle, shades-of-gray choices, juicy enough for a Philosophy major” (Moore, 2004).

 

Popular ethical issues are among cause-relation marketing, tobacco advertising, alcohol, condoms, children, pharmaceutical advertising, product placement, and subliminal advertising (Moore, 2004). Whether or not people feel a certain celebrity has a “right” to be advertising a product, to a tobacco company advocating anti-smoking campaigns to children, to TV commercials consisting of animated spokes-characters persuading children to nag parents to purchase their product, someone, somewhere will have a problem with it. Others will not.

 

So concluding, advertising is communication to persuade humans to buy or consume a company’s brand.  That will remain to be its goal and the advertising world understands that ethical boundaries will continue to be pushed and damage control (i.e. Public Relations) will be its saving grace.

 

This brings to an end 9 weeks of blogging, creating interesting thoughts and demonstrating my critical analysis of the previous week’s class discussions and lessons. I can honestly say this blog may be abandoned. However, it’ll remain open for public comments and review; should you see an interesting topic you’d like me to post about your comment can be reached through my email.

 

Happy Holidays! Looking forward to a bright and happy 2009

Throughout many of our lessons and discussions these past 9 weeks, ethics has been a popular topic. In relation to online direct marketing, permission-based e-mail marketing, web site data capture, and SPAM all address issues of ethics dealing with consumer privacy. In relation to children and youth, advertising towards this age group via TV from food, candy, and toy companies has recently been in heated debates. Finally, in relation to paid placement and paid inclusion search advertising, ethics has been brought up in terms of how knowledgeable the consumer is.

 

Ethical debates dealing with advertising will never become obsolete. There will always be an organization, an advertiser, or a consumer ready to create hostility or cause interruption within society that will address an ethical issue. “People in advertising spend a lot of their time dealing with ethical choices, and those choices are almost never black and white. They’re subtle, shades-of-gray choices, juicy enough for a Philosophy major” (Moore, 2004).

 

Popular ethical issues are among cause-relation marketing, tobacco advertising, alcohol, condoms, children, pharmaceutical advertising, product placement, and subliminal advertising (Moore, 2004). Whether or not people feel a certain celebrity has a “right” to be advertising a product, to a tobacco company advocating anti-smoking campaigns to children, to TV commercials consisting of animated spokes-characters persuading children to nag parents to purchase their product, someone, somewhere will have a problem with it. Others will not.

 

So concluding, advertising is communication to persuade humans to buy or consume a company’s brand.  That will remain to be its goal and the advertising world understands that ethical boundaries will continue to be pushed and damage control (i.e. Public Relations) will be its saving grace.

 

This brings to an end 9 weeks of blogging, creating interesting thoughts and demonstrating my critical analysis of the previous week’s class discussions and lessons. I can honestly say this blog may be abandoned. However, it’ll remain open for public comments and review; should you see an interesting topic you’d like me to post about your comment can be reached through my email.

 

Happy Holidays! Looking forward to a bright and happy 2009 J

 

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The Truman Show

December 18, 2008 at 9:23 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Have you seen the movie The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey? If you haven’t it’s very funny and I recommend it. This post may not be relavent enough if you haven’t seen it. Trying watching a trailer; if you have seen it you should understand what I’m taking about.

Basically, the premise of the movie is that Jim Carrey’s show was born and raised in an environment of a TV show however we isn’t aware of it. This movie created product placement to the max. As a parady the wife would share her recent purchases on the “show” to Truman and that would be the TV programs way to advertise.

Now, video games are so popular advertisers are getting in on in-game advertising. I discovered a blog title Ad Lab which discusses the future of advertising and its technology.  One post stated 19 tips for in-game advertising. They are as follows:

1) Ask yourself the “why” question. Why are games the medium you wish to advertise through?

2) Set measure objectives. Games are very easy to track and measure.

3) In-game advertising should be viewed as an R&D investment, not a marketing expense. Why? Online commerce is much different than 10 years ago and it continues to evolve.

4) Play! It is probably safe to assume that many have not played video games since your Nintendo 64 was popular. Either way, one must be familiar with the current systems in order to understand how to advertise in them.

5) Whatever you do, don’t step off the trail. They are saying not to fit your product into a game if it is not right for it. Search for the perfect match. It’ll be to the advertisers advantage.

6) Create a specific creative message for in-game advertising. You can’t use a radio or TV commercial from the general market.

7) The nature of a gamer is to “do”. Make sure your advertisments allow for them to do just that.

8) Challenge and surprise by offering playings interesting things to do with your ad and let them discover things on their own. It’ll create an excellent word-of-mouth campaign.

9) Don’t twist the players’ arms. Meaning, don’t force them click an ad or paid to subscribe to something just to get to their starting point.

10) Since games are considered mutlimedia, don’t limit your graphics.

11) Take advantage of integrating marketing…an industry buzz-word that makes sense. Create ads through other mediums than games to generate buzz about your product.

12)  By providing the right tools and incentives you can enjoy seeing how consumer-generated content evolves.

13) Word-of-mouth advertising – be ready for it

14) Expect the unexpected. If something goes wrong within the game, be prepared by player discontent. Let your PR manager know in case there are complaints that need to be addressed.

15) Give away premiums items such as a branded t-shirt. They can be worn longer than a player owns and plays a game.

16) Be engaged with your consumers especially in the virtual world. Don’t be an outsider looking in.

17) Don’t mimic the layout of your “real-world” branded spaces – create specific ones for the virtual world catering to their needs and desires.

18) Deal with demographic uncertainty. Audiences can vary widely by genre, size, complexity and distribution channels.

19) Learn from the mistakes of others. Do your research beforehand – remember this is an R&D investment not a marketing one.

-References

Ad Lab (2008), 19 tips for in-game advertising, retrieved December 19, http://adverlab.blogspot.com/

Advertising…meet Editorial

December 17, 2008 at 2:37 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I was surprised to see the topic of advertorials in our lesson this week. Our final lesson discusses ethical lines within new media IMC. Advertorials are a subject of ethics? Honestly, I was recently introduced to advertorials and in fact even more recently faced to writing them! If you are unfamiliar with what an advertorial is, think a cross between an ad and editorial. The biggest factor is that the company, not advertiser, is writing the advertorial and has paid for it to be included (i.e. in a magazine).

 

This quote offers insight into the change in advertising over the years:

Not too many years ago, news was news, ads were ads, and the two met only where the news hole ended and the ad stack began. Our journalism school professors and newsroom mentors preached the importance of separating news and ads. They told us that our credibility was on the line, that advertising should never influence or mix with news, that readers had to be able to distinguish between unbiased information and paid content…Then came advertorials.
— Scott Angus, editor of The Janesville (WI) Gazette & president of the Wisconsin Associated Press editors group

Our lesson describes it as “an ad designed to deliver the experience of reading an article” (Ramos, 2008). But is that unethical? I don’t think I understand where the experts are coming from. Last week I had to write an advertorial for work. We publish a lot of them in niche publications where we have ads running; they are usually an added bonus that the publications sales rep has offered us. This one I referred to a previous advertorial included in the prior year’s issue and referenced other documents internal to my company to write it. We did not include any pictures because of size limitations. Take a look at it. I included it into this post. Does this look unethical? It is an article written by APUS about APUS for consumers to get a better idea of what APUS is; it is a supplement to our ad that may not answer questions the consumer has.

amu-advertorial

Targeting today’s youth

December 16, 2008 at 11:13 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s the holiday time. It’s a week before Christmas and I don’t know why I ventured to the mall this past Saturday. I had no need to go there and no one to buy for there, but my finance and I went anyway. Surpised I was not annoyed by the high volume of cars and foot traffic as well as the low number of children there. There were still a HUGE number of children, but the bulk of them were either at the food courts or children’s play areas and most of them were still too young to vocalize the nag factor to Mom & Dad.

Nevertheless, I wonder despite the way the economy is how much influence advertising was on today’s youth and how many parents gave in. Over the past few weeks on my local radio station, Hot 99.5, the morning show DJ’s have been doing segments called “Making Miracles”. Listeners were allowed to write in and explain their financial situation. Many asked for financial help (to assist in paying bills, money to buy presents) and some for a specific item (a bike for their daughter). The radio station selected their favorites, called them up and aired live the conversation between listener and radio hosts. It was really nice. The radio used their extra budget usually spent on advertising and gave it to deserving people. Of the few I heard, one mother wanted to buy her daughter a new bike. That was the only thing she really wanted for Christmas and since money was tight the mother didn’t think she could afford one. Another women had been helping out her sister because her niece had been diagosned with cancer; the radio gave $2000 to the listener to help get her pay bills since she had quit work to be with her sister.

It doesn’t matter that money is tight. It doesn’t matter that we are in a so called recession. It doesn’t matter that advertisers are not stopping because sales are down. It doesn’t matter that children don’t understand any of this. It’s the holiday time and parents want to give their children what they want. They don’t want to appear poor to their families and they don’t want to let their children suffer for something they can’t control.

I have even noticed some perfume companies recycling their Christmas TV commercials. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact I think it’s great. It shows that everyone is having tough times but if your extra money you still deserve something new.

Oh the Web we weave

December 9, 2008 at 3:31 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

imcWhat is your favorite product, brand, service? Do they have a website? Most likely. Is that website nice looking? Probably. But do you really pay attention to the details of the web design of any site let alone your favorite one? Not likely….unless you are in Lesson 8: creative considerations in merging media. This week we are discussing how “the Web has grown faster than any electronic medium in history” (Ramos, 2008).  I’m sure we visit a website everyday – heck you are on one now!

 

So what makes a good website? Well, the obvious of products or services suitable to your wants or desires, plenty of information about those products/services, capability to review and purchase those items, contact help (IT or Customer Service) or collect more information, and reasonable prices.

 

But what about visual stimulation? Have you ever thought that if you are visiting a site, browsing around and then decide to leave whether it is because you didn’t like the products offered or something within your didn’t like the design and convinced you to shop elsewhere? I doubt it, but it’s probably happened if you haven’t realized it. That is what this week’s discussion is for.

Ironically, I’m spear-heading a project at work to re-launch our online campus store for our 2 online universities. Fill free to visit our link, scroll to the bottom and click Campus Store (campus store). It had previously been a D priority and I am now in charge of making it an A priority. Our students are increasing and they want to claim our school just as much as others who attend a more well-known brick and mortar school. We need to not only re-design the site but expand on merchandise offered. This class will be well over before it’s finished but this week’s lesson will help me and my colleagues determine the roads to take for our company.  

store

Being bombarded with ads….even while playing video games

December 1, 2008 at 7:19 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I remember one Christmas, my sister and I were so excited to open our Super Nintendo. We did not have the regular Nintendo and wanted to be part of the crowd with the newest game system. Over the many years I have seen Nintendo expand their systems and other companies introduce new and upgrade their systems. I have always thought that letting children play video games was a way to remove them from advertising. TV programs contain so many commericals; aimed at children during target programs and the like. Despite many different views on how video games decreases phsyical activity, it did not have advertisements. That has all changed today.

In-game branding is growing. I found an article that discusses this topic on www.brandingvoodoo.com.  Note this article is date 2006. I will admit I did not realize this has been a popular and growing concept for so long.

Can you hear me now?

December 1, 2008 at 6:56 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

pan_mobilekidsIn our lesson for week 5 (a few weeks back) we dicusses mobile-to-mobile marketing. Below is a brief description of what it is and why it’s important.

What is Mobile Marketing and Why is it Important?
Mobile marketing, which has grown out of the Internet revolution, combines a unique and complicated fusion of technologies, business skills and marketing expertise. Mobile marketing is one of the first completely new marketing vehicles to come along in over 50 years, and it’s quickly becoming a primary means of reaching and building relationships with customers — especially the highly sought after youth demographic.

In recent years, we as a society have become increasingly comfortable with (and reliant on) digital communication technologies like cell phones and iPods. In fact, according to research firm Informa, worldwide cell phone subscriptions recently reached 3.3 billion, which is just about HALF the world’s population! As such, cell phones have become a primary means of communication, not only for voice calls but also for digital services, e-mail and digital photos. Published reports state that more than half of worldwide subscribers are active users of text messages (also known as “SMS Messages”) and, according to the Yankee Group, over 15% of these messages can be categorized as commercial (i.e., marketing).

The objectives of mobile marketing are not unlike those of more traditional marketing vehicles:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating a customer profile opt-in database
  • Increasing attendance to events or visits to a store
  • Improving customer loyalty; and
  • Increasing revenues

Ramos, J (2008) IMC 619 Lesson 5: Can You Hear Me Now? M2M, Advergaming, In-game Branding & RSS feeds

So what does it mean to me? Well, I have never had a phone that could accept mobile advertising or access the Internet all that well. However, I have recently signed up to review text message alerts for my favorite band, Rascal Flatts. I signed up on their fan page to also receive emails regarding tour dates, CD releases, news, etc. The bonus of receiving text messages is that I always have my phone with me so if they send me a text reminding me a new CD is going on sale within a day or so I’ll more likely remember than through email. Also, they send me texts wishing me Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays.

If you are a fan of Rascal Flatts and/or want to join their fan club here is their website: http://www.rascalflatts.com/cma.php Click “Join the community” and you can search several landing pages.

 

Churches accept new technology to keep members connected

November 25, 2008 at 1:25 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

cross_sun-burst2In the past churches have been known to be traditional and holding onto past cultures. However, over the last 10 or so years, many more non-denominational churches have been built and grown to be big parts of local communities. My church, on the other hand, has continued to maintain its older conservativeness and traditions. However, thankfully it’s realized that some advances in technology actually can help the church grow more.

For example, I live in a suburb of Washington, DC. Between busy work schedules, high traffic volume, and person committments many members can not make it to our mid week service (held on Wednesdays) . So, to cater to these members, this past summer our Youth Minister created a podcat that lauches through the web and allows members and anyone on the Internet to access our live broadcast of our service. We sing a few songs, have a prayer and announcements then our pulpit minister shares a lesson with us. People on the web are able to type questions in during the hour and our Youth Minister moniters the podcasts asking those questions when appropriate it.

My finance was traveling for work in September in Hong Kong. Even with the time difference he was able to get onto the Internet and access the podcast at the current time our service was held. He said it was really neat to see people he knew so well while we was so far away. He really helped him stay connected with his faith and family.

Our church is adding additional technologies to help keep members informed quickly. Just last night it was announced that if you wanted to recieve a text message to your cell phone from our church secretary about whether or not any of our services would happen due to inclement weather, lose of power, etc. we now have the capability to do that. Between all our members, young and old, we can receive phone calls, e-mails, or text messages as well as access our webpage (which contains blogs, RSS Feed,  photos, graphics, embedded links, etc.) to get updates.

To .tel or not to .tel

November 18, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I was in a meeting yesterday at work. Before hand we were to read an article titled, How Telnic will revolutionize dialing. The gist of this article was that a new startup company, Telnic, will allow companies and individuals buy .tel domain names (instead of .com or .edu), record contact information and make it accessible to whomever they choose. It would allow consumers and companies alike keep their contact information located in one place and either offer that information to the public (for a company) or private (just for family and friends). One would only have to update this one domain to keep information updated.

 

The example the article provides is for a pizza place. Say, Papa Johns buys PapaJohns.tel. Instead of going to a search engine or directly to Papa John’s site to filter through information to find the closest location, when a consumer goes to PapaJohns.tel, the contact details would pop directly into their phones.

 

This would directly compete with yellow pages and white pages. Telnic speakers say they are striving to become the “Google of online address books” (Schenker, 2008). Below is the link for complete details.

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27338706/from/ET/

 

What does this mean for IMC? I don’t really know. I have yet to completely grasp this concept, but I know that with increasing mobile-to-mobile advertising and enhancements to cell phones that this concept makes sense. How many times do you struggle searching through a company’s website to find the store nearest you just to call for hours or availability of products? Going to a .tel domain eliminates extra steps.

 

It also helps you as an individual. You can keep your personal information updated in one stop and share your .tel domain with family and friends or keep in touch (or get in touch) with old college friends, family and co-workers.

 

My company is seriously considering buying a few domain names (if the price is right) after the public launch in Feb. Who knows if I’ll continue this blog, but should you find this next year and I have not provided an update, fill free to contact me.

 

-Schenker, J. (2008) How Telnic will revolutionize dialing, BusinessWeek.com, retrieved November 14, 2008

Buzz builder

November 13, 2008 at 11:55 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last week we wrote in our paper 3 options that may increase buzz to our blog.

 

The first idea to generate buzz for Unknown Advertising is to conduct a viral marketing campaign.  To do this, I’d create a message in an e-mail describing the purpose of the blog, offering example posts and asking them to post a comment to the blog. Then I’d send that message along with the link to the blog to all my regular contacts. I’d make a simple request to them asking to forward this message and link to 3 additional people in their contacts. Then those 3 people would receive the same message and instructions to forward to 3 of their contacts and so on. Based on how many comments appear on my blog will determine the success of the viral marketing campaign.

 

A second idea to create buzz to my blog, Unknown Advertising, is to simply link my blog link to social networking sites I’m a member of. They include Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. I’d write a few short sentences describing the purpose of the blog and asking to read and reply to posts that interest the viewer. I could add a few fun and entertaining applications such as a poll to entice people to read the blog and response. Offering personal pictures is another way to drive traffic to the blog.

 

The final buzz building idea is to conduct crowdsourcing. By making a semi-anonymous link to my blog via media platforms such as YouTube or Flickr, I can see how many comments come back to the blog.

 

I decided to go the viral marketing option. Right before the email went out, I put a poll up as you can see below to help stem an interactive part of the blog. Throughout the remainder of the course, I’ll be evaluating how many comments and poll responses I receive. So far I’ve gotten quite a bit.

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