AAF Kent State

Ad Buzz. A place to share industry trends for AAF Kent members.

Food Frenzy: Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Sun Chips Oh My!

Posted By: Rachel Pankiw l  AAF Kent Social Media Director

The holidays are just around the corner and that means delicious, amazing food and more delicious, amazing food! My last post touched on questionable ads, which included KFC’s new bunless chicken sandwich promotion. With food on my mind, I became curious and started looking into other trends within the food industry. It seems that KFC isn’t the only food service that is changing things up. Here’s what I found:

The fast-food chain Wendy’s recently launched a new advertisement featuring founder Dave Thomas’s daughter Wendy. According to an Ad Age article, the promotion is for a new test cheeseburger called Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger, named after Mr. Thomas. The commercial is designed to fit in with the new “You Know When It’s Real” campaign. Test markets for the new ad include Las Vegas, Virginia Beach, and Mobile, Alabama. Wendy’s will determine its next step based on customer feedback. According to the article, the new promotion will focus on measuring sales, customer transactions, and consumer appeal.  

In other fast-food news, McDonald’s is facing some trouble in California as the San Francisco board of supervisors voted to ban the happy meal toy. The veto-proof bill, which passed November 2, will forbid restaurants from giving away toys with meals that have a high caloric, sugar, or fat count. According to a Los Angeles Times article, the ordinance would also require restaurants to provide fruits and vegetables with all meals for children that come with toys.

McDonald’s is obviously upset with the decision and argues that it’s not what their customers want. According to the LA Times article, the ordinance will take effect December 2011. Once it takes effect, restaurants may include a toy with a meal if the food and drink combined contain fewer than 600 calories, and if less than 35% of the calories come from fat.

Companies obviously want to sell products, save money, and above all satisfy their customers, but it seems like they just can’t win. Let’s take a look at what Sun Chips is doing. Sun Chips is known as a healthy brand of chips that gives back to the community so naturally having eco-friendly packaging makes sense. The company launched a line of biodegradable bags in April 2009, but recently scrapped them because customers complained the bags were too noisy. According to a USA Today article, Sun Chips will only keep the biodegradable packaging for its original flavor, while the other five flavors will return to the previous packaging.

It kind of reminds me of when Starbucks launched its Skinny drink line, featuring sugar free syrups and skim milk. Many people complained that their custom coffee creations were too fattening so Starbucks responded by creating a healthier alternative. Needless to say, many people didn’t like the new drinks because they didn’t have as much flavor or taste. Starbucks still offers these healthy options but has limited promoting them.

So what is a food company supposed to do? Over the next six weeks, we will be indulging in delicious food and thinking about all the calories we’ve consumed. Come January 1st, we will be reintroduced to all of the healthy foods out there and figure out a way to have our cake and eat it too. In the meantime, check out the new Wendy’s commercial and tell us what you think!

Wendy’s Commercial Link: http://adage.com/article?article_id=147097

Controversial Ads: How far is too far?

Posted By: Rachel Pankiw, AAF Kent Social Media Director

We’ve all seen ads that were way out there. Whether they were tasteful, they usually got people talking. This dialogue brings press and more dialogue, which results in increased revenue for the advertised brand. Remember PETA? Last year, the animal activisit group created a very sexual “vegetable” commercial supposedly scheduled to air for that year’s Super Bowl. People were so outraged at a preview of the commercial, it never even aired. There’s debate over whether PETA ever intended to air the commercial.

There will always be controversial ads and there are a few that recently caught my eye. They include the KFC promotion and Mike’s Hard Lemonade promoting itself as a pink product that will support breast cancer research.

The KFC promo is taking product placement to a whole new level. The company’s new bunless chicken sandwich (it uses fried chicken instead of bread who would have thought?) is being promoted on the behinds of female college students across campuses. The women are paid $500 and will act as brand ambassadors by handing out coupons on campus. Companies have been branding themselves on clothing for years and consumers have even paid for it. How many girls do you know who shell out cash at Victoria’s Secret for a pair of PINK sweatpants with the logo neatly fastened?

Unusual product placement is one thing, but what about using your product to promote a cause? What happens if there is no apparent connection between the product and its “cause.”

According to a USA Today article, Chambord, which markets pink alcohol, is urging people to “pink their drink.” The articles says Chambord stated “by adding a splash of Chambord to any cocktail, you’re supporting breast cancer awareness.” Raising money for breast cancer research is a noble cause, but must it be done through promoting alcohol? We’ve all seen the Yoplait yogurt lids but alcohol takes this connection to another level. I can feel good about money going to a charity, but I have a bad taste in mouth as I think about the people who are making money because of it.

Perhaps I’ve been watching too many episodes of American Greed on CNBC. Either way I look forward to seeing what crazy campaigns will come out next. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I don’t think we’ll have to wait too long.

To be or not to be (Professional that is)

Posted By: Rachel Pankiw, Social Media Director Kent AAF

The past few weeks have been very busy for Kent AAF. We are quickly approaching the halfway point of the semester and students are busy with classes, meetings, work, writing papers, touring agencies and planning ahead. As high school students, we focus on our high school activities and being a prospective college student. Now that we’re college students, we focus on our college activities and being a prospective career person (whatever that means).

Many students struggle with that in-between phase. I’m sure everyone’s been in that situation where you realize you didn’t bring any professional clothes to school and only have sweatshirts, flip flops, and jeans. You have an interview or an agency tour and have to borrow some high heels or take a quick trip to Target. Last week we heard from Mark Szczepanik, a teacher at Kent who also works at Liggett Stashower. He gave us suggestions and we got a taste of “the real world” when we toured his agency last Friday.

Perhaps the hardest thing about professionalism is there is no one size fits all. Each agency is different, but common sense and some guidelines can help you out.

Here’s a quick overview:

Dont show up in sweatpants and flip flops to career fairs. You might be inbetween classes, but these companies are here to hire and speak with students. They don’t care that you stayed up all night and were too tired to look nice. Bring an extra bag with you to change clothes right before.

Do research the company you’re visiting. The worst thing you can say is, “I’ve never heard of your company.” The chances are the company hasn’t heard of you either. Taking just 20 minutes to look over the company’s Website and familiarize yourself with their clients can help give you a feel for the work environment.

Do try to get some experience under your belt and put together a decent resume and book. Kent State requires that all advertising students complete an internship before they graduate. Many of the required classes also give opportunities to put stuff together for a book. Your classes are important but you should be doing something outside of studying. Join the newspaper, do freelance PR for a group on campus, or come to Ad Club. Remember it’s quality that counts not quantity.

Don’t chew gum. Don’t chew gum. Whatever you do don’t chew gum!

Do try to keep up on current industry trends and what’s going on out there in the “real world.” Ad Age, Ad Week, and Brand Week are a good place to start. Even the USA Today features stories related to brands and the media. Kent has many of these available free in the reading room at Franklin. There’s also a lot of good stuff online.

Do ask questions (but not stupid questions). When in doubt check it out. Ask a trusted teacher. Have someone look over your resume, your outfit, your list of questions. All of those little things add up.

Do join Ad Club and come to our networking events! Last week we toured Liggett Stashower. Next week the officers are going to Dallas for an AAF Conference. Tomorrow’s meeting we will be discussing the NSAC competition and surviving the sequence at Kent. Later on we will also have resume critiques, photoshop tutorials, more agency tours, and the chance to work on real campaigns.

We are also working on putting together an internship guide with suggestions on programs, agencies, etc. Stay Tuned!!

I just want my movies!!

Posted By: Rachel Pankiw      Social Media Director, Kent AAF

Remember the good ole days when you went to the local video store, stocked up on your favorite kids’ rentals (in VHS form of course), and curled up on the couch with dunkaroos and gushers? Well I do. It wasn’t that long ago. I remember when we rented our first DVD and purchased a DVD player for around $500 (enough to buy an IPad I know). I still have a bunch of VHS tapes and even watch them on occasion. I have yet to buy a Blu-ray player and find it hard to believe that DVDs are becoming obsolete.  


Our one and only local Blockbuster closed last year and I haven’t been the same since. We have the library and Red Box stations, but they aren’t the same. Blockbuster declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week and is struggling to make ends meet with the digitization of the movie rental business. Why is it that despite all the money I poured into my favorite store, it’s becoming a figment of my imagination? Come in Netflix! 


According to its Website, Netflix is the world’s largest subscription service with 15-million members. Users can receive content by mail or stream movies and TV shows online.  For about $9 a month, you can enjoy endless amounts of entertainment at the click of a button. I remember when Netflix only had mail in service and you had to wait for your DVDs. Blockbuster jumped on board and allowed customers to order rentals online and exchange them in person at any Blockbuster store. The fate of Netflix seemed questionable at best. Flash forward a few years and you have more options than you can imagine for viewing Netflix content. 


According to its Website, you can receive DVDs by mail, view them online, stream them through the Xbox 360, Sony’s PS3, Nintendo Wii, Blu-ray players, Tivo, and more. Let’s not forget the smart phone craze and all of the mobile apps that come with it. Hulu recently debuted the Hulu Plus app and Fox Mobile’s Bitbop recently became available on Android devices.  


Both of these are $10 a month and have their pros and cons. Of course many people are wary of spending an extra $10 on top of the $30 a month smart phone service. I don’t blame them. I still don’t have a smart phone because I don’t feel like shelling out an extra $360 a year to have the internet on my phone.  


Technology is changing and patience is decreasing. It used to take 15 months or more for a movie to cycle through the theaters and local rental stores. Now it’s only a matter of months. Movie sales have declined and people aren’t willing to spend the big bucks anymore. Add in the “video-on-demand” providers and it’s no wonder the movie business is mutating.


According to a USA Today article, Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. gave video stores and on-demand providers a 28-day jump before releasing DVDs to Netflix and Red Box. Many film companies found their sales rapidly declining and were reluctant to negotiate deals with Red Box. Ordering on demand movies will bring in more revenue than a Red Box or Netflix pick but people just don’t want to spend the money.


Cash is limited and we want our movies when we want them and how we want them. A $5 weekly rental will cost $240 per year at your local video store. For $40 a month (or $480 a year), you can watch streaming videos on your smart phone device.  For $9 a month, you can get the basic Netflix package.


For $5, you can get an extra large bottle of ibuprofen and a cold drink while you try to figure this whole thing out with me.



Standing Out From the Crowd

Post By: Rachel Pankiw-Social Media Director, AAF Kent

Advertising has been and will continue to be about standing out from the crowd. A good ad grabs our attention, but a great ad captures our hearts and minds. It conveys meaning with words, pictures, stories. I think the purpose of advertising can be summed up in five words, “To do good is difficult.” We see the finished print ad or watch a commercial oftentimes without thinking about the complex machine behind the message. Any journalist or account exec can tell you how many times something has to get proofread before it goes to print. It is when the little extras and footwork get combined, that the hardwork starts to pay off.

I’m currently reading the "5 Giants of Advertising" by Philippe Lorin, which inspired this post and is the source for the following information. In no particular order, the “giants” are Leo Burnett, Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, Albert Lasker, Bill Bernbach, and David Ogilvy. They stood out not only for being different, but also for being able to connect with consumers on personal and socioeconomic levels. Lasker worked on accounts including Palmolive, Lucky Strike, and Sunkist. His slogans include “Reach for a lucky instead of a sweet,” and “Keep that schoolgirl complexion.” He figured out what women desired and wanted.

Leo Burnett opened his agency in the 1930s after the stock market crash. Opening an ad agency in an economic recession is risky, but taking chances is what advertising is about. He is known for creating characters such as ”The Marlboro Man.”

Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet is a founding father of the media conglomerate Publicis. He noticed the importance of radio as a medium for advertising and sought to arrange contracts with radio stations. At the age of 23, he became the sole vendor of radio advertising, for both state and private stations. This brought in more income than the agency’s billed client work.

David Ogilvy worked for three years at George Gallup’s Audience Research Group before opening his own agency. His research background helped him understand consumer behavior and create successful campaigns including The Hathaway Man.

Bill Bernbach is best known for his work on Volkswagen’s "Think Small" campaign. This campaign changed the face of advertising and continues to be revered by both advertising students and professionals alike.

So why am I reading this book and why am I talking about these giants? It is because they have been and will continue to be excellent examples of what advertising is all about. Advertising is about being different, avoiding the obvious, and taking chances. At AAFKent, we provide opportunities for students to network, polish their writing and professional skills, socialize, enter the AAF Student ADDY competition and NSAC competition, work on “real” campaigns for clients, build portfolios, and attend AAF events among other things. We go the extra step so our members can go the extra step. We dig our feet in, work hard, and do lots of the “extras.” Remember my first paragraph? “It is when the little extras and footwork get combined, that the hard work starts to pay off.” This is what we do and will continue to do.

Our first meeting is this Wednesday night, September 8th, at 7:30 on the third floor of Franklin Hall. You should check us out. You’ll be glad you did!

Vitaminwater Squabble

Post By: Lauren Gober- Communications Director, AAF Kent

Coca-Cola has recently run into a dilemma with one of its advertising campaigns in Britain. Opponents of its Glaceau Vitaminwater campaign are claiming that the company was encouraging people to call off work even though they are not sick. The Forum of Private Business, the main opponent of the campaign, claims that employee absence costs the U.K $18.5 billion a year. To me, this complaint sounds like a whiny, petty issue. This group cannot honestly believe that a Vitaminwater label is going to influence people around the country to have unwarranted sick days. People who call off without being sick are going to do so with or without a water bottle telling them to. It is widely known that these labels are supposed to be lighthearted, funny, and ironic. True, some people may not get the joke or may not find it funny. However, that does not mean it is necessary to start stirring up trouble for no reason. Does this group honestly want Vitaminwater to change all of its labels in the U.K. because it did not find the joke humorous? That is quite a costly fix. What Coca-Cola should be paying attention to is how this issue is affecting its U.K. consumers. If this joke is turning people away from its products, then this problem should be given some considerable attention. Otherwise, they should just stick with this old saying: You can’t please everyone.  


KFC Coupon Fiasco: Part II

Post By: Lauren Gober- Communications Director, AAF Kent 

Has KFC not learned anything from its coupon disaster with Oprah? Obviously not because history has just repeated itself in China. The company posted downloadable coupons for a few of its products onTaobao.com, its online score. The company was then surprised again when it got more coupons than expected and people got upset when their coupons were turned away. This was a bad move on KFC’s part mostly because KFC is loved by the Chinese and the company disappointed them. The company should have thought twice about putting a coupon online in a country where the piracy rate is one of the highest in the world. Of course people were going to find a way to take the coupon from the site and post copied versions on other sites. KFC is going to have to do some major work to make this up to its loyal Chinese consumers if it expects to continue as one of the most successful companies in the country. These people have a strong relationship with the company, and it is really important to keep its current loyal consumer base, which typically brings in the majority of its profits, coming back. The company also needs to work on its coupon redemption process because obviously the downloadable coupon is not working out so well. I thought KFC would have learned from the troubles it had in the U.S. and would have taken precautions with its next promotion. I guess not, but hopefully third time’s the charm.  


Forget Foursquare: Why Location Marketing Is New Point-of-Purchase

Post By: Lauren Gober- Communications Director, AAF Kent

Marketers seem to think that mobile marketing technologies like Foursquare are just the beginning. This new mobile marketing is said to blur the line between advertising and promotion, as location-based advertising is on the rise. This new technology is predicted to be able to send you ads and text offers when it detects that you are close to specific stores, and these ads are evolving to more than just text to include phone numbers and navigation. Marketers also predict that Facebook and Twitter will be a part of location-based marketing very soon. Consumer use of things like this will greatly depend on what others are doing. Consumers want to be where their friends are. Currently, the projected outlay for mobile marketing is predicted to be $4 billion by 2015. I think this tool can be very useful to marketers because it can help drive traffic into stores that may have not occurred otherwise. One big problem is getting consumers to opt-in. Consumers today are already being drowned with advertising. Do they really want to opt-in to something that will reach them on their phones at anytime and know where they are? Will this take off as marketers’ believe it will? Or will consumers reject this invasive form of marketing because of privacy concerns? Stay tuned…


Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Post By: Kelly Will


This is my current favorite commercial. I usually only watch television with friends. With that, most of the shows I end up watching are geared toward men and the commercials reflect that. I find this ad especially interesting because, even though it’s advertising a product for men, the actor talks directly to women. The ad still captures the attention of men, even though they aren’t being spoken to directly. I literally laughed out loud the first time I saw it.  My boyfriend was cracking up too and told his roommate about it once he came home.  This ad does a nice job appealing to both men and women in a comedic way.

Communications Connection 2010

Communications Connection is coming back! This year it will be on March 3rd from 6-8 p.m. in Franklin Hall. Something different from the previous year is that there will be a one-on-one resume critique with a local industry professional, which you need to sign-up for prior to the event, at 5:30. This is the perfect opportunity for junior and senior-level students to become acquainted with local advertising and PR professionals and get some inside information and tips. It is also a great time to talk about summer internships, especially with the deadlines for those approaching! Make sure to R.S.V.P. by February 26th to CommunicationsConnection010@gmail.com to secure your spot because space is limited!

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