Your Digital Addiction

I took a scary step today which I hope will in the long run improve my time management skills. I downloaded RescueTime, an app for my laptop that monitors my Internet usage. It will breakdown for me just how much time I spend Tumbling and stalking friends on Facebook instead of talking with them in the real world.

A recent study conducted by researcher Scott Wallsten of the Technology Policy Institute in Washington D.C. reveals just how much life is being siphoned from us by social media sites on a daily basis. Wallsten states, “a cost of online activity is less time spent with other people.” We’re seeing online interaction as an acceptable form of socialization. We feel chatting with strangers on Plenty of Fish is dating and Skyping our friends is visiting.

plenty of fish

This new trend in human socialization is changing the way we communicate and interact and it may not be for the better. With the younger generations being raised in the land of the internet where no normal social rules apply, it is easier than ever to torment and harass and be able to hide behind a computer screen or phony internet profile. Cyberbullying is all too common among teens these days and is on the rise.

As a write this blog I know my RescueTime is watching me, ticking away the seconds I spend on WordPress.com, judging. Just knowing it’s watching in itself is enough of a motivator to get myself off my laptop and back into reality. I close my computer triumphantly, I look outside my window at the real world…I open the Twitter app on my phone.

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Catalogues in Crisis

This news I’m sure will not hit most people in my age group as hard as it hit me. Sitting in Kathy Paterson’s Integrated Marketing class it was casually mentioned that department store catalogues may be on their way out and online shopping may be the only option in the years to come.

The Sears Wishbook 1996

Boom. It doesn’t surprise you does it?  After all everything is online these days. The concept of a catalogue sent in the mail and then having to call in to the store by to place an order probably seems archaic to most. I’m in a generation where what was once considered science fiction when I was 10 is now reality at 20. I used to live by the tradition of receiving the Sears Christmas catalogue in the mail and excitedly flipping through it’s glossy pages to look at all the toys.

There’s a sense of tactility in books and printed media that we as a society are vehemently moving away from. I was peering at a woman on the city bus yesterday who was scrolling through a novel on her Kindle. “Buy a real book!” I grumbled to myself. I feel as the world pushes towards a digital future I’m the only one pushing back.

It’s not because I’m trying to be “cool” or “hipster” by veering away a little from this technological undertow enveloping everyone. I think it might all just be happening too quickly for me to keep up. Give me my Christmas catalogues. Give me a call on the telephone. Heck, give me a VHS tape. Let’s all slow it down for just a moment.

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The Inspiring of Aspiring Inspirational Ads

Nothing motivates me for a good 5 to 10 seconds like an inspirational quote. I can’t log in to my Tumblr or scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook with drowning in a sea of “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’M POSSIBLE” or “Move on. You are not a tree.”. And whoever is the generator of all these sayings likes to attach them to either Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn, whether they said them or not.

We are a generation obsessed. Try Googling “inspirational quote” now. 39.000.000 results. So naturally seeing this trend, advertisers have caught on. In Crystal Light’s latest ad, girls 18-24 are targeted with this testament to being yourself.

The advertisement celebrates being young, fun and uniquely different. It’s feel-good and showcases the average girl instead of super skinny super models. The voice-over reads likes a long inspirational quote, so girls take away from it that Crystal Light totally “gets” them.

Sporting good companies, sports drinks and energy drinks are big on the inspirational ad front. This one for Nike is done simplistically and it’s in it’s simplicity where it’s genius lies. When I was researching it, a Youtube commenter was so moved they left this message “Great message Nike, I’m seriously gonna buy some Nike shoes because that’s the kind of message everyone needs. Not even kidding or being sarcastic. This is really true and I want to support those who advocate truths like this.”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JnYcuRW_qo

I personally feel from an advertising perspective that this is a great way to market products. While the quotes that plague my Twitter feed may rouse slight inspiration, combining motivating words with images and music can have a powerful impact on people. Whether it inspires a major change, a small feel-good moment of even inspires them to buy your product!

 

Undressing to Sell Salad Dressing

Taking a page straight out of the Old Spice commercial’s Marketing to Women Handbook, the conservative family-oriented company Kraft tries to add some zest with their hunky new face of Italian dressing, Mr. Zesty. Zesty is played by actor Anderson Davis, and the ads feature him shirtless, cooking various dishes with Kraft dressing.

The controversial print ad
The controversial print ad

If these sizzling ads leave you craving more, Kraft takes this integrated marketing campaign one step further with the website getmezesty.com where you can send personalized “Zestygrams” to friends, enter contests and find recipes. If you’re so inclined you can follow Mr. Zesty on Twitter. The campaign is definitely a hit with women. Let’s face it, salad dressing is boring. Salads are boring. And here Kraft has made their salad dressing interesting, interactive and sexy.

The campaign has managed to stir up some controversy from irate moms who feel that certain print ads like the one seen above are just taking things way to far. It’s always beneficial to have people ravenously Googling your company’s ads because there is controversy associated with them. Hey, the more exposure, the better!

All in all I see the ads as genius, whether they have the staying power of the Old Spice commercials or are just a gimmick to create a momentary spike in sales. Personally I hope this campaign is here to stay, and I don’t even like Italian dressing!

Advertising Killed the Video Star

ballgagged

From Robin Thicke enjoying a glass of Remy Martin in Blurred Lines to models being ball-gagged with Beats by Dre in Britney Spears’ latest video, product placement is saturating today’s music videos.

Times have changed since the birth of MTV back in 1981. The network’s original stance on products being displayed in music videos was to have the logos blurred and bleep any time an artist dropped a brand name in one of their lyrics. (Even in my generation I recall Missy Elliot getting dubbed when she said the word “Adidas” like it was a swear)

Suddenly when the music industry saw a decline in record sales and an increase in free digital downloads, it turned to product placement as a money making solution. Product placement can gross huge for both the brand advertised and the artist being paid to promote it.

Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” came under fire for showcasing 9 products in 9 minutes. How effective is this tactic? Does watching Lady Gaga make a poison sandwich to serve up revenge to Beyoncé’s cheating ex boyfriend really sell you on Miracle Whip?

 

There’s no doubt young people watching their favourite rap star drive a sports car ignites a thought that the car is a status symbol of success and coolness. However, constantly bombarding them with stuff to buy can lead to backlash and may just turn them off all together.