An Inspiring Salvation Army Campaign

I have recently spotted several posters around campus from the Salvation Army. I generally enjoy reading and analyzing ads but I was particularly impressed by the advertisements from the Salvation Army. They were very powerful and made a lasting impression on me.

The Salvation Army is doing a campaign that targets a younger demographic. These posters (pdf) are inspired by real life stories. The posters start off with someone describing their life initially. Soon, they are then introduced to something negative (alcohol, drugs, gangs) that lead their lives downhill until they hit rock bottom. Eventually, they find the Salvation Army and they get their life back on track and it becomes a success story as the Salvation Army accepts them regardless and helps guide them to overcome their problems.

This is all visually represented by red text outlining the negative object (bottle, syringe, gun). The rock bottom is actually the bottom of the image. The design is very simple and yet extremely clever. The ad campaign was produced by Grey Canada, the Salvation Army’s advertising agency. I really enjoyed the concept and hope to see more skillfully crafted advertisements in the future!

“Models do not look like real human beings.”

It’s unfortunate that I have been neglecting this blog lately. I have been reading and learning a lot but I just haven’t been posting what I’ve discovered. I recently found an article from the Record (Waterloo Region’s local newspaper) called, Beauty can be a beast and I thought I’d share it. It’s about the media and how it affects the self-esteem and unrealistic expectations of women. I do think the media and advertisement can be a powerful tool, but it obviously has negative connotations and impact as well.

I was particularly surprised when Anne Wilson, a Laurier psychology professor stated that, “The average North American sees upwards of 600 advertisements every day.” I never really thought about how much advertisement I’ve seen in a day… but 600 seems like a massive number. I don’t think it’s an impossible number though. I guess I have never really thought about how much advertisement I’ve been exposed to.

I think it’s important to take advertisements with a grain of salt. Remember not to let them affect your perceptions of yourself.

Google Advertising Programs

I’ve always wondered how Google advertising works, so I looked it up. There is Google Google Adwords and Google Adsense. Google tries to create a win-win situation for both cases.

Google Adwords
This is Google’s advertising tool for businesses that want to advertise their company. Setting up an account is free and they make it extremely easy to use, and even if you do not have a website beforehand, Google gives the option of making a website for free. They allow for flexibility in terms of time commitment and how much they want to spend.

Google also helps businesses be in control of their advertisement. The company can choose keywords, languages, and geographic locations of their target. There are many tools that help the company keep track of the how well the advertising is working and best of all, you only pay when you get results!

Google Adsense
This is pretty much the opposite of Google Adwords. This is Google’s tool for people to gain revenue by advertising online. There is no fee for Google Adsense. You just get paid when people click on the ads that are on your site. You can customize and choose where to put the ads and you can also track how the ads are doing.

Google’s advertisement programs seem so brilliant. They cater to big and small companies and to individuals and groups. They allow for so much flexibility. It’s no wonder that they’re doing so well.

Businesses and Consumer iPhone Applications

Some businesses have making use of mobile applications

I recently bought myself the new 32gb iPod Touch (as Apple decided not to produce a 16gb one this time) and I have been looking at a lot of the iPhone apps. I was almost surprised when I came across a vast number of “consumer applications”. I am unsure if there is a more technical term for this; I’ve tried searching to see if there was one. What I mean is when an established company develops a mobile application. In this case, I’m talking about the iPhone. I downloaded a few of them to see what those applications can offer and some of them are developed very well.

The iPhone has so many features integrated in it that can be utilized by developers and some people have really figured out how to maximize its potential. Some of the features that the iPhone/iPod Touch have that developers have taken advantage are:

  • Geolocation over Wi-fi which identifies where the users are. This makes it plausible for the user to use store locators and item locators right from the application. (I didn’t even know my iPod Touch could do that… I read more about that here for an explanation)
  • Facebook Connect allows users to share reviews and photos of items with their friends.
  • Push Updates allow applications to give users real time information and with retail stores always updating inventory, users can constantly be updated with new items and promotions
  • The touch screen allows for easy navigation when flipping pages or browsing in general
  • The iPhone has a accelerometer that can tell when it has been shaken or moved
  • It allows for personalization. Since the application is on a personal device, users can save their favourites without even having to have an account or log in.

I’ve seen a lot of applications where the company allows for users to post ratings and reviews. That’s another powerful tool. I think users trust other users more than they trust companies sometimes. It’s amazing how those little stars can mean so much.

A lot of these applications have their full catalogs displayed and they can be organized based on type, price, size or colour. Each application is unique in its own way but some of them are more successful than others. I’ve noticed that he applications with lots of information and user interaction seem to have better ratings and downloads than the applications in which you can only browse. It makes sense. It’s something for developers to think about when making applications

I Love the Kindle Commercials

I was just browsing around YouTube when I came across this Kindle commercial. It reminded me a lot of Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie that I recalled seeing a while back. Kindle probably used it as inspiration but I think they implemented it very well. They have several more commercials and I’ll direct you here to their channel if you’d like to see the rest.

I was reflecting on how effective I think commercials are and I have my own thoughts but I’m sure the marketing experts have a much better idea. They have their data and research tools but I know that commercials have definitely influenced my decisions on making a purchases many times before.

It’s unfortunate that I do not have a television in my house right now because I actually enjoy commercials. It’s interesting to see what other companies come up with. The creative ones always get to me the most. I tried to think of all the work that goes behind the scenes of making the commercials and it seemed a bit overwhelming. It probably isn’t that daunting of a task since it’s usually a group of people that get it done rather than a poor soul running around crazily. It’d be interesting to be part of a commercial team.

I digress again, but I just really wanted to note how interested I was in the Kindle commercial. I have been a little infrequent in blogging lately due to school starting again. I’m making a slow but steady transition and hopefully I’ll be right back at learning about marketing rather than just my courses I’m taking!

Paid to be a Walking Billboard

Almost everyone has a t-shirt in their closet that they bought with a giant logo on it. I’m no different. We are all “walking billboards” in some way. We advertise for companies when we use their product. It’s interesting though, because we pay them to advertise for their product. Well, Jason Sadler from I Wear Your Shirt has it all figured out. He realized they could actually make money wearing t-shirts and being a paid walking billboard.

Jason Sadler

Jason Sadler, the founder of I Wear Your Shirt

Starting January 1, 2009, Sadler charged $1 to wear a company’s t-shirt and advertise it for a day. Every day after that, it would cost $1 more, until it would cost $365 for Sadler to wear a shirt for December 31st. In 2010, he started charging $2 for January 1 and he added another t-shirt wearer, Evan White. Needless to say, it has been a total success. They have sold out every day for 2010 already and other businesses are eager to start signing up for 2011.

There’s also the option of being their monthly sponsor. For just $2500, you can be featured on their website and be on their daily social media mentions. Speaking of social media, I Wear Your Shirt does a lot of it. It makes sense; you can’t just wear a company’s shirt and have no one know about it, it would defeat the purpose. They tweet on Twitter, take videos for YouTube, upload their pictures to Flickr, and blog on their I Wear Your Shirt site.

I also find that it’s a little ironic that you can buy an iwearyourshirt.com t-shirt for $15 dollars on their store site. There’s only 100 left, they say. All I can say is: Why didn’t I think of that? It’s okay though, one day I’ll think of something equally as brilliant.