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Lapiz Leo Burnett created an ad for Charmin that is shown here. It is a print ad and it is everything an ad shouldn’t be, however, it is meant to be useful while in the bathroom taking care of business. Is this pushing it? Yes, it is toilet paper and I appreciate brands that want to be part of the user experience, but as clever as this ad may be, I find it tacky to take the consumer there. In a way the ad can be perceived as embarrassing or awkward. It is challenging to make this topic edgy and creative, but is there a point where brands become overly crass to make a statement? I find this ad a corruption of creativity to gain buzz. Does this make a brand lose or gain value?
Some call me Hispanic, otherS call me “Latino.” I don’t know which is “correct,” but I do cringe a little when I hear the word “Latino.” It makes me feel different, and targeted. After moving to New York from Miami, I became very much aware that I was being targeted. Why is everyone trying so hard to target me? Currently, I am facing the challenge at work. Growing up in a primarily Hispanic environment, I never felt like a minority, nor did I see an advantage to being bilingual. Everyone in Miami is bilingual. In fact, sometimes you will walk into a store or a doctor’s office where the receptionist only speaks Spanish. But young Hispanics want subtle marketing. The majority of Hispanics prefer to be spoken to in English and, although they speak Spanish or may understand it, they prefer speaking English. Trying to target the Hispanic consumer is extremely challenging because it needs to be sensitive and subtle. For instance, I recently came across a new magazine- Cosmopolitan Latina. Cosmopolitan has an English version and a Spanish version, but this is borderline offensive. When I opened the magazine, all the models look like what everyone perceives to be a “Latin” look – dark eyes, dark hair and dark skin. Also, the language in the magazine is in “Spanglish.” The offensive part about it is that “Latinas” can read in plain English, and some are redheads, blondes and brunettes. It is understandable that with the growing Hispanic population, brands want to capitalize on these consumers, however, it is important to understand the consumers’ needs and how they want to be communicated with.
Why Ads Should Be Considered Content
I recently had a meeting with the folks at Facebook – engineers, developers and the marketing team. They asked my team and me to give them feedback on what changes we would like to see within the platform and one of my colleagues asked if it would be possible to separate ads and friends’ content from News Feed. The answer from Facebook was, “No. The ads you should be receiving should be content you want to see.” I am including a link to top viral ad campaigns that was published in AdAge because these are examples of ads that have been shared. These ads are actually of some value to consumers, so much so that they want to pass them along to friends. Ads should be interesting content, and they should blend with what your friends post because, as we have learned, brands should behave like people. In today’s world, it is difficult to distinguish between both.
With the recent election and the outcome, I found that the workplace was possibly the most open forum for people to discuss politics– maybe it’s an industry thing, or maybe it’s a New York thing, but every single person in my office showed adamant hatred for anyone who opposed the current president. Lucky for me, I consider myself very “middle-of-the-road” when it comes to the subject, but had I slightly cared or disagreed, I may have gotten executed by my colleagues. Just a few weeks prior to the election, I had a vendor come meet with my team. After the meeting, as most vendors do, they brought a little gift. The gift was a canvas tote, perfect for lugging around flats, books or magazines around the city. I started using the bag daily, and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I noticed that one side of the bag had a pen drawing of Obama. It absolutely shocked me that a vendor (completely unrelated to politics) would give me a product promoting a political party, especially in the context of my line of work. Have politics now become synonymous with fashion? Or has the Democratic Party been so highly endorsed by celebrity figures that it has become commonplace to tie work with politics?
I wanted to find out, so I bought Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing. It’s required core curriculum reading at NYU’s MFA program for play and screenwriting.
Of the various topics covered here (premise, character, among others), the part on conflict interested me most.
Egri writes that “Conflict is the heartbeat of all writing,” and the book gave me some ideas of how to create tension in writing with simple juxtaposition.
“Cold and heat create conflict; thunder and lightning. Bring opposites face to face and conflict is inevitable,” Egri explained. Some other examples:
An interesting, albeit dense, read.
Buy the used version.
Other opinion on Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing, here.
My mother still pronounces, “rained” with two syllables. After living in the United States for fifty years, she cannot stop herself: “It rain-ed so hard today.”
So for those of you who grew up with a foreign language at home, this source is a miracle. It’s a talking online dictionary. Finally, here’s the ideal, English language role model.
Now if I could only get my mother to use the Internet.