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“Music is very popular in advertising. You can hear as much music in commercials as you can on some commercial radio stations. In a research study that analyzed 3,456 prime-time television commercials to not only quantify, but qualify the placement of music in advertising: overall, 94 percent of the total advertisements (3,456) and 86 percent of the unique advertisements (715) contained some type of music. Of the unique music advertisements, 14 percent contained popular music, 81 percent used needle drop, and 5 percent utilized jingles. Popular music (primarily pop and rock) was observed more often in automotive, audio/video, and food commercials than any other product category. Popular music was more likely to be relevant to the narrative in the commercial than the product or service. This study facilitated future trending and encouraged further investigation of the role of music in advertising effectiveness.” (Allen, 2008)

 The use of popular music in commercials can/does enhance advertising’s function, but also reaps benefits for the recording industry as well.

 This presentation of music within advertising is going to look at the research behind this technique, as well as propose reflective processing on some advertising examples to allow the reader to better visualize and concept the role in which music plays in the advertising business.

 Music Relevance:

 To give you a starting place for the concept of music in advertising; here’s a video that will show you some of the first attempts of advertising.  While watching this video, consider the context of the message and the music and think about how they play along together.  Is it effective?

 http://youtu.be/h8-avPUxyno

 “Moving away from exclusive concern with music, the issue of the music’s relevance to the product would seem to be an obvious concern in conceiving commercials, but again, relatively little scholarly attention has been paid. It was “identified that the music characteristic ‘fit’ and defined it as ‘the consumers’ subjective perceptions of the music’s relevance or appropriateness to the central ad message.’ It also found that music’s relevance had an equally strong effect on both low- and high-involvement subjects’ attention to the advertising message (Maclnnis/Park).” (Allen, 2008)

 Did you think that Barbie’s music was relevant; did it play along with the product and the message?

 Messaging:

 Now take a look at this video; 2010 Kia Soul commercial with the “talking hamsters”.  But first, consider the Kia brand: what do they represent, what message should they be trying to send, who is their target audience?

 http://youtu.be/BLLv7Asrols

 Is this the right message for the right audience, how does the music relate to this particular message and then the entire company?  Did you thoughts on the target audience change with watching this video?

 “Music’s relevance to the product or its music-message congruency interacted with its attention-gaining value to influence message reception. Assuming that music has attention-gaining value, attention is only the first step in the hierarchy of advertising effects and must lead to memory [which is the ultimate goal of all advertising in general].” (Kellaris, Cox and Cox, 1993)

 This video is for Target; think about your answers to the Kia commercial questions before you watch this commercial.

 http://youtu.be/MpdWz1NJuqQ

 How do you think this represents the Target brand?  Is this congruent with the message that they portray, does this remain with their key message and values?  How did the music in this video affect your thoughts on the brand?

 Staying true to a brand is the most important thing to consider when putting the scene, music and messaging into a commercial, because if everything isn’t consistent, then the brand is lost and the goal isn’t reached.  But when the music goes perfectly along with the message and the brand, it’s harmony for the senses.

 Music choice and placement:

 Some pose the questions of instrumentals versus vocals, original recordings versus new versions of older songs (covers), or silence versus background, generic music beds or needle drop (music that is prefabricated, multipurpose, and highly conventional [Scott, 1990]), jingles (unique, novel lyrics written for a particular ad [Wallace, 1991]), and lyric replacement (changing the original lyrics of a song with new lyrics carrying the advertiser’s message). Roehm argued that instrumentals are more effective in evoking advertising message recall if the song is already familiar; however, absent that familiarity, the vocal version was more effective (2001). AUan found that song vocals, either original or altered, are more effective stimuli of advertising effects than instrumentals or no popular music (2006).

 For this next segment of the presentation I want you to watch a few videos back-to-back and then consider the above information, focusing on the importance or effectiveness of vocals, instrumental, no music, etc.

 http://youtu.be/gBNnD5kuHUE

 The ending portion’s music was a very macho, powerful yet instrumental piece; consider its role in the commercial, then that message it portrays about the brand.

 http://youtu.be/oOHBTf-JA54

 This video was similar in that it was all instrumental music, but consider its length, playing throughout the advertisement.  Also, this advertisement holds a key piece of branding; the jingle.  What role does that jingle play in your opinion; do you immediately recognize the brand?

 http://youtu.be/R55e-uHQna0

Consider this brand and then the message that the intense music and unique scene sends to the audience.  Is this effective?  Do you have any considerations for an alternative to the music/message?  Does the unique and unexpectedness of the entire commercial work, does it sell?

 How effective is music in a commercial when you aren’t sure of its relevance to the actual message?  Does irrelevant music throw you off or make you remember the brand, because memory is the goal of all advertising.

 “Music placement in advertising becomes an economic boon in two ways: first, a commercials’ use of music provides a new venue for collecting royalties for the music industry and that artist/record label, and second, the widespread and repeated exposure of commercials provides either for revival of or new interest in the particular songs and/or artists featured—which is music-sales promotion and very much a variation on the phenomenon of product placement.” (Allen, 2008)

 “The use of music as a memory cue is easily implemented. A simple recording of high quality is all that is required. The length of the musical cue need only be sufficiently long for a respondent to process it and search memory.” (Stewart, 1990)

 “The use of a musical cues as either a substitute for or complement to more traditional verbal product-cues and appears to offer considerable promise. Musical cues appear to be more sensitive than verbal cues, both as absolute measures of memory and as a means for detecting changes in awareness over time. A musical cue also appears to elicit rather different types of commercial playback from that obtained with a verbal product cue, where as a musical cue elicits more imagery responses and also suggests that it may be particularly useful for investigations of image-oriented communications.” (Stewart, 1990)

 A perfect example of a music cue-http://youtu.be/dI-xHMM8wXE

 This jingle used to be in my head all the time when I was younger; perfect example of effective use of coinciding brand, message and the right music to complete an entire lasting image package.

 “One in every four or five ‘best commercials’ in 1982 made use of a jingle or slogan,” reported Kingman in 1983. “The frequency with which music is used in advertising and suggested was noted that its use is increasing as advertisers in product categories that have not traditionally used music have found it a useful execution device.” (Alsop, 1985)

 Top Music Picks:

 “A very important observation from a study showed that popular music was more likely to be relevant to the advertisement narrative (91 percent) than the product or service (28 percent). This suggests that popular music is being utilized by some advertisers to provide some type of relevance or perspective to the action in the advertisement for the consumer with the purpose of increasing the consumer’s involvement in the commercial.” (Allen, 2008)

 Do you think popular music is a better marketing technique?  Are you more comfortable with recognizable music?  Consider this advertisement for iTunes by Apple.  (Try not to let the visuals alter your listening abilities, i.e. cool graphics)

 http://youtu.be/dDFkRMNeZo4

 Did the fact that the music was popular, relevant and timely help the commercial?  Did it distract you?  What are your new thoughts on popular music within commercials after watching this?  A lot of commercials today are attempting to find a happy medium with popular music, by including the instrumental version of a popular song and possibly having the artist be acting in the advertisement.  The popular music trend was never a key player in the commercial industry, but it’s interesting the differences it has on difference audiences.

 Secret Message:

 “Studies upon the view that advertisement background music can confer either referential or embedded meanings, which, if either, meaning people discern and use when forming their product perceptions, appears to depend on how intensively they process the advertisement and the resource demands imposed by the verbal advertisement material. When the advertisement is processed non-intensively recipients appeared to be insensitive to either meaning impaired by the background music, but instead, they seemed to base their perceptions on peripheral, execution aspects of the ad message that presumably were more salient and accessible than was the ad music.” (Zhu/Meyers-Levy, 2005)

 The following two commercial videos represent an original message then a recent remake.  Consider the message and the brand, the audience, the music’s role within the message and how the videos play towards the times.  Also, listen to the jingle/catch phrase used in each.

 1993: http://youtu.be/_oACRt-Qp-s

 2010: http://youtu.be/PmrTDZy3f2M

 These videos are basically the same message and scene, with different people.  How did the difference in music affect the commercial’s message?  Did it work towards the brands favor to change the style of music and the jingle?  Was this an effective strategy to remake a classic?

 McDonald’s is on the forefront for commercials, branding, jingles, etc.  These two are interesting pieces to me because they don’t emphasize the brand and the products as much as I consider them to do today.  Secondly, the difference in the sound of the message was a huge talking point.  How has the music changed in those 17 years?  What audience are they targeting now versus the early 1990s?  This difference goes right along with the changing times and the efforts of big companies to stay on the cutting edge of the newest trends and styles to best reach an audience.

 “Music may play many different and complementary roles in advertising.” (Hecker, 1984)  “t may attract attention, actually carry the product message, act as a mnemonic device, or create excitement or a state of relaxation,” said Hecker.  It was also argued that “music can add energy to a message and stimulate the listener.” (Stewart, 1990)  Suggestions that “music might also serve as a particularly effective retrieval cue in coordinated advertising campaigns involving the use of television and radio, meaning, music played in a radio advertisement may serve as a retrieval cue for images stored during prior exposure to a television advertisement.” (Edell/Keller, 1989)

 Hecker talked a lot about the meaning behind the use of music within advertising and its role within the commercial’s message.  Consider this older video and its style.  After you watch it and reflect on the music, think of the brand today and its marketing message.  How has it changed?  Would their public relations team be blown away with the inconsistency of the message or would it go right along with the company values?

 http://youtu.be/OYecfV3ubP8

 The most interesting part of this video is the fact that the message and image of this company has drastically changed.  It’s interesting from a public relations perspective (my specialty) to consider why and how they changed their messaging.  Though music didn’t play a huge role in this video, it’s neat to just see multiple perspectives of the advertising industry and the changing times.

 “Research on the effects of music on affective response has its roots in the literature on the psychology of music.” (Stewart, 1990)  This literature consistently finds links between music and affects.  Thus, it is not surprising that researchers have also examined the influence of music on affective response.  Another researched “the effects of music on attitudes toward the ad, attitudes toward the brand, and behavioral intention. They found that under low involvement conditions music facilitated a more favorable attitude toward the brand and increased behavioral intentions. When consumers were very involved cognitively, music appeared to be distracting, and both brand attitude and behavioral intention were lower than the case for an ad that involved no music.” (Park/Young, 1986) “Some used music as a means for manipulating the mood of consumers after demonstrating that different musical compositions could induce different moods.” (Mitchell, 1988)

 Popularizing/Downgrading the Music Industry:

 “Responsibility for the bulk of the growth of the music industry over the past 50 years can be attributed to popular music, and it is in these genres that the influence of marketing – particularly in terms of branding – has been most in evidence.” (Kubacki/Kroft, 2004)

 Consider this video with a very famous popular music artist.  Does this tarnish a reputation? Is it a publicity stunt?  Does this bother you at all?  Consider your feelings and then think about the overall audience view.  Will this change the music industry or at least have an effect on it?

 http://youtu.be/xH0t4Fwx_o8

 Big name brands often recruit celebrities and artists to participate in their commercials and advertisements, because of their popularity and recognizable face, but one thing people often forget, is they are always trying to get the most return on their investment, so making money is a key player.  I personally don’t think that this type of advertising would tarnish an artist’s reputation or hurt their image or their music, but everyone must make smart decisions.

 “But while sales of popular music have stagnated, one of the great saviors of the classical music industry has been the comparatively recent phenomenon of the mass marketing of classical music. For musicians working in popular music, marketing and personal branding is largely accepted as a fact of life. For a whole generation of classically trained musicians, however, it is a new phenomenon and many feel that they have to discard notions of artistic integrity and start concerning themselves with the marketability of their work.” (Kubacki/Kroft, 2004)

 “Music promoters now develop professional knowledge bases around their products as ‘each genre requires a specialized approach commensurate with the budget and the product potential’.” (Friday Marketing, 2002)

 “The wider relationship between music and marketing has been extensively researched by academics and professionals across a range of disciplines, including economics, music, sociology and psychology. The literature in these fields has certainly informed the work of marketing scholars, whose focus has largely been in two main areas – music in marketing and the marketing of music. Both of these topics, to a greater or lesser extent, can help to arrive at some understanding of the positions adopted towards marketing by musicians.” (Kubacki/Kroft, 2004)

 In conclusion, research proves that music plays a significant role in the advertising, marketing and branding industries.  The ability that music has to change ideas, brands, messages and thoughts on the entire industry is incredible.  Many people probably go through their days never realizing the influence that music has over them, and the power it has just in advertising alone.  The presentation hopefully stimulated your thoughts on the topic, changed your mindset of how you will watch/listen to commercials and gives you a better, more deep understanding and appreciation for music in today’s contemporary American culture.

Works Cited

Alexander, Alison, Louise Benjamin, Keisha Hoerrner, and Darrell Roe. “We’ll Be Back in a Moment: A Content Analysis of Advertisements in Children’s Television in the 1950s.” Journal of Advertising 27, 3 (1998): 1-

 Allan, David. “A Content Analysis of Music Placement in Prime-Time Television Advertising.” Journal of Advertising Research Sept. 2008: 404-417.

Allan, David. “Effects of Popular Music in Advertising on Attention and Memory.” Journal of Advertising Research Dec. 2006: 434-444.

Avery, Rosemary ]., and Rosallina Ferraro. “Verisimilitude or Advertising? Brand Appearanceson Prime-Time Television.” Journal of Consumer Affairs 34, 2 (2000): 217-45.

 Bitner, M.J. (1992), “Servicescapes: the impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees”. Journal of Marketing, 56 (2), pp. 57-71

 Bode, Matthias. “Now that’s What I Call Music: An Interpretive Approach to Music in Advertising.” Advances in Consumer Research Vol. 33 2006: 580-585

 Brooker, George, and John J. Wheatley. “Music and Radio Advertising: Effects of Tempo and Placement.” Advances in Consumer Research 21 (1994): 286-90.

 Croft, R. (1999), “Audience and Envirorunent: Measurement and Media”. In Kitchen P., (Ed.), Marketing Communications: Principles and Practice (pp.lll- 134),London: International Thomson Business Press

 Fiske, James. “The Culture Economy of Fandom.” In The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, L. Lewis, ed.London: Routledge, 1992.

 Friday Marketing (2002), “Music” Accessed: 19/6/2003 online:http://www.friday-marketing.com/article.asp?id_article=WMedia%20Alliances

 IvES, NAT. “The Odd Embrace of Marketing and Anti-Establishment Music.” New York Times, November 6, 2002.

 Krzysztof, Kubacki and Croft, Robin. “Mass Marketing, Music and Morality.” Journal of Marketing Management 2004: 577-590.

 Macinnis, Deborah J., and C. Whan Park. “The Differential Role of Characteristics of Music on High- and Low-Involvement Consumers’ Processing of Ads.” Journal of Consumer Research 18, 2 (1991): 161-73.

 Marks, James. “Shake, Rattle, and Please Buy My Product.” U.S. News & World Report, May 25, 1998.

 Nelson, Michelle R. “When Brands Are Stars—Exploring Consumer Response to Product Placements.” Advances in Consumer Research 30, 1 (2003): 204-9.

 Olsen, G. Douglas. “Creating the Contrast: The Influence of Silence and Background Music on Recall and Attribute Importance.” Journal of Advertising 14, 4 (1995): 29-44.

 Payne, J. (2000), “Music Industry Futures: likely developments over the next 10 years”. Cultural Trends, 38, pp.41-42

 Reilly, Patrick M. “TV Commercials Turn Obscure Songs into Radio Hits.” Wall Street Journal, October 9, 1998.

 Roehm, Michelle L. “Instrumental vs. Vocal Versions of Popular Music in Advertising.” Journal of Advertising Research 41, 3 (2001): 49-58.

 Serafine, Mary-Louise, Robert G. Crowder, and Bruno H. Repp. “Integration of Melody and Text in Memory for Song.” Cognition 16, 3 (1984): 285-303.

 Scott, Linda. “Understanding Jingles and NeedleDrop: A Rhetorical Approach to Music in Advertising.” Journal of Consumer Research Vol. 17 Sept. 1990: 223-236.

 Stewart, David; Farmer, Kenneth and Stannard, Charles. “Music As a Recognition Cue in Advertising-Tracking Studies.” Journal of Advertising Research Aug./Sept. 1990: 39-48.

 Stratton, J. (1982), “Between two worlds: art and commercialism in the record industry”. The Sociological Review, 30, pp.267-285

 Sullivan, Gary L. “Music Format Effects in Radio Advertising.” Psychology & Marketing 7, 2 (1990): 97-108.

 Unger, Lynette S., Diane M. Mcconocha, and John A. Faier. “The Use of Nostalgia in Television Advertising: A Contest Analysis.” Journalism Quarterly 68, 3 (1991): 345-53.

 Zhu, Rui and Joan Meyers-Levy. “Distinguishing Between the Meanings of Music: When Background Music Affects Product Perception.” Journal of Marketing Research August Aug. 2005: 333-345.

As Earth Day 2011 approaches this coming Friday, I couldn’t help but write my last entry around this sustainability-driven day.  Earth Day was founded back in 1970 by a group of college-aged citizens then called “hippies” but this group is responsible for creating an annually recognized awareness day that’s in its 41st consecutive year.  Though our world and nation is now where at the level of sustainability that this group of citizens would have hoped to be, but without them, think about where we would be.

 On a different note, when browsing news leading up to this Earth Day a company caught my eye, not only because of my personal ties, but also because of their continued efforts for the environment and that company is Starbucks.  The company is utilizing its social media sites to advertise their efforts for this coming Earth Day in which they will provide a free cup of regular coffee to anyone that brings in their personal mug.  This campaign is really targeting the digital age public through each of their social media sites.  The message that Starbucks is trying to send is that people should be conscious of their use of the products they supply, so they are encouraging people to be environmentally minded and for that they reward with free coffee.

 Starbucks is also doing a campaign via social media for Earth Day 2011 where they ask people to make a picture of their travel mug their profile picture for Earth Day, and invite their friends to come get their free cup.  What message does this send?  Starbucks throughout the past four years has really been trying to emphasize their focus on spreading the word and educating society on their efforts for the environment and within sustainability.  When the company closed more than 500 stores across the US back in 2007-2008 they had to take a blow to their ego, and learn to slow down growth and don’t get too bold in their powers.  Since this ego blow, the company changed focus; they wanted people to understand that they were no longer all about growing and making money, and that is apparent with their numerous free coffee days like Election Day 2008 and the happy hour for frappacinos where all frozen drinks were half off for two weeks between the hours of 2pm and 5pm last summer.  Does this send that message?  I think so… I believe that Starbucks has done a great job with its Public Relations to better portray itself as a company focused on quality and social responsibility, rather than making money and growing as a corporate structure.  The company has utilized its PR department numerous times throughout the past four years to re-brand itself as a CSR focused company.

 This campaign on Facebook is not the first of its kind for the company, but what intrigues me most is their focus on spreading the message that they are focused on engaging their publics, and they achieve this engagement by spreading this message.  The company also has an extensive environmental and social engagement focus on their website, through the responsibility tab on their website.  This company is doing great things and they are on the forefront of the CSR and sustainability movement.  Starbucks gets a thumbs up on their PR efforts in sustainability.

 Sources:

http://www.facebook.com/Starbucks?sk=app_205414519482950

http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/environment

 

This article in Bloomberg Businessweek reports on the increase in sustainable practices by big name companies and how these changes are saving them big bucks.

The article starts off by talking about the new Sustainability team and their new plan for PepsiCo.  The company has decided that it is a much wiser business decision to change its ways to be better for the environment and save money, rather than not care about our planet and continue to increase costs.  The article then talks about Wal-Mart and their tremendous efforts in reducing packaging and cutting costs.  These big name companies are on the forefront of the sustainability movement in America, and though they may be taking these steps to cut costs and save money, the planet is reaping all sorts of positive benefits.

This article is great publicity and public relations work for these big companies.  Businessweek is a very well-respected news magazine in the business community, and all other CEOS and Executives are going to be reading this article and thinking about the ways in which they make their business or company more sustainable.  They are going to look-up to these companies and their leaders even more than they did before, and use their example as an outline for the efforts they will begin doing.

 Wal-Mart and PepsiCo especially receive high rankings in PR for this article.  Those companies are doing their best to save the planet, as best they can as a multinational corporation, while also educating the public society on how they are making a difference in our environment.  These companies are huge opinion leaders and well-respected businesses in the commercial sector, so this information is going to go that much farther thanks to their reputable pasts.

This article also focuses on the importance of good leadership.  In my finance class I learned that one of the most important aspects of a business that shareholders and potential investors look at is the leadership or the CEO and Board of Directors.  This article proves yet again the strong leadership present in each of these companies.  This article reiterates the value that the companies entrust in their leaders to make smart, well-informed decisions for the betterment of the companies.

The publics that this article reaches are going to better understand and appreciate the importance of sustainability in a large corporation.  The audience will also walk away with a better sense of trust and appreciation for the leadership of these two companies.  Sustainability is a growing field of focus, and the more quickly these companies can portray their standings on the subject, the more respect and understanding they will get from their publics.  Companies want people to know the changes they are making and the differences they are holding themselves to so articles like this are a great opportunity for those companies to better establish that sense of appreciation amongst society.

Read more about what these companies are doing in their Corporate Social Responsibility reports linked here:

http://www.generalmills.com/~/media/Files/CSR/2011_csr_final.ashx

http://www.pepsico.com/Purpose/Environmental-Sustainability.html

Sources:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_15/b4223025579541.htm

On Tuesday, March 1 a coalition of apparel and footwear brands, retailers and NGOs announced the formation of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.  This coalition includes leading brands in the apparel industry throughout U.S., Asia and Europe.  The companies involved are a part of the coalition by invitation only, meaning that the leaders of the coalition have the authority to choose companies that they think are already doing progressive work in the sustainability sector and are hoping that being a part of this coalition will help continue their growth in these areas.  The coalition was just announced this week, so their efforts haven’t really taken off as of yet, but in my opinion, becoming a member of this coalition is a huge opportunity for improved public relations for all of these brands and companies.

“The goal of this coalition is to lead the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability built on an industry-wide index for businesses to use to measure and evaluate apparel and footwear product sustainability performance. The tools will be developed with involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, and the metrics will be fully transparent to encourage broad adoption of the index globally.”  This means that these companies have made a decision to change their ways or continue to improve their efforts on protecting and preserving the environment and our world.  They made this decision to the coalition because the plans and ideals of the coalition are coinciding with what they value as important. A company makes decision based upon what they think will not only help them be more profitable, but also what keeps in line with their values and beliefs.

I believe that from a PR stand point, this makes huge strides for the apparel industry and will help expose the latent public to the ideas behind sustainable business and corporate America’s efforts in helping protect the world we live in.  If this coalition, made up of some of the biggest names in our culture, can begin exposing America to sustainable practices, maybe this could help launch a national campaign towards a more sustainable America.  We know that when certain people, brands or companies make big decisions, those decisions have effects that trickle down into the general public.  These companies that are joining this coalition are looked to as opinion leaders and movers in society; because when they make a big change, it’s more likely that another company or group is also going to make this same change.

“The largest and most influential corporations in apparel and footwear together with leading environmental and social organizations have voluntarily engaged in this collective effort because they recognize the opportunity to get in front of the growing need to measure and manage the environmental and social impacts of their products,” said Rick Ridgeway, Coalition Chair and Vice President of Environmental Programs, Patagonia.

The public relations departments of all of these companies played integral roles in the decision of joining this Sustainable Coalition.  Researchers from public relations divisions of these companies weighed the pros and cons of being a part of this group, analyzed the data collected from their publics to make this decision.  They realized that the values and issues that this coalition will take on are things that each of these companies holds high value in as well, and so together they will be working for each other and towards a better future.  Without public relations specialists helping companies pick and choose their involvements, many companies could potentially lose grasp of their traditional publics and compromise the success of their business.

I think this coalition is a great move towards the direction that corporate America needs to move to have a safe, healthy and prosperous future.  I will use the index that this coalition will begin using to choose where I will buy my clothes, shoes, cosmetics, etc.  In my opinion, this is one of the most successfully established group of companies that are trying to tackle sustainability in America.


Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/business/01apparel.html

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/01/3439270/apparel-industry-leaders-launch.html

What is sustainability?  Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “sustainable: 1. capable of being sustained, 2. of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged and 3. of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.”

Now what does that mean exactly, in laymen’s terms please?  Well honestly, it depends on who you ask, it depends on what field of profession you’re working in and it depends on the public relations professional or team that uses the term.  How can it have different meanings when we just read the dictionary definition?  You’re exactly right, how can it be different across the board?

Sustainability is one of the newest “trends” to hit the corporate world.  In a recent New York Times article a broad survey of companies found “70 percent said they intend to devote more money, or more attention from management, to sustainability this year.”  The article, titled “More Companies Push Sustainability, but Usually Not for Climate Reasons”, discussed the increasing popularity of usage for the term “sustainability” but also realizes that many companies don’t focus on the true meaning of what sustainability is supposed to represent within a business or corporation.  The survey found that the companies “tended to define it [sustainability] in terms of the long-term viability of the company, its employees and customers, ranking environmental concerns near the bottom.”  Is this refined definition acceptable?

In my opinion I find it rare to see companies that are truly sustainable, meaning that they have a focus on what Eric Henry, CEO of TS Designs calls “the Triple Bottom Line” where people, planet and profit are equally held at the utmost importance.  This idea of three top priorities is something, especially in the business world, that doesn’t sit well; business people can’t get their minds around having three areas to focus all progress and success around.  Can companies be successful at this?

Yes.  In the New York Times article, it touches on sustainability practitioners that are “cautious dabblers and embracers” which are defined around their PR efforts within sustainability.  Companies must first define their sustainability practices which are what the PR team will use when communicating with publics.  A company must take a stand towards sustainability in a way that people will be accepting to yet ways that hold true value.  If a company presents the idea of sustainability but in no way can show evidence of sustainable practices.  “Embracers” as the article describes are those companies that have given value and conscious concern to their sustainability efforts, which can have an environmental focus or can be a future strategic plan for their business.

Another New York Times article, “Convincing Even the Skeptics to Go Green” focuses on the consulting efforts of L. Hunter Lovins, President of Climate Capitalism.  Lovins works to direct even the most unlikely people towards a sustainable practice plan, which she successfully does with effective public relations practices partnered with clever marketing.  Lovins finds the value statement that every business wants to hear, and teaches them how sustainability is the best and most effective way to reach the goal of that statement and maintain business. 

The closing of the “Convincing…” article discusses the importance of integrating sustainability efforts into every company and business because “sustainability could provide a competitive advantage [for progress]; besides the cost savings, your customers want to do business with companies that are improving the quality of the community.”  This focus is the new frontier of business and if people don’t embrace the sustainability movement and do so in a manner that is viable, future success could be in question.  Effective and sincere public relations within companies will provide an informative/educational portrayal to specific publics that will ultimately establish one business above one that is lacking this focus.

New York Times articles cited:

1. http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/02/11/11climatewire-more-companies-push-sustainability-but-usual-60576.html?scp=3&sq=sustainability&st=cse

2. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/business/smallbusiness/03sbiz-conversation.html?_r=1&scp=13&sq=sustainability&st=cse

Definition: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sustainability

This is Benny Scott’s Photoshop Advertisement project.  This Copenhagen smokeless tobacco ad is the best project completed this semester by any student in our class.  The assignment was to first pick a product, and take beauty shots of it.  Then the next step was the advertisement.  The first reason why I love this ad so much is because I can relate to it very well.  My boyfriend is a good ‘ole country boy, works on a farm and always has a permanent Copenhagen Dip ring in every pair of pants he owns.  Because I am so used to seeing Copenhagen products around my boyfriend, I found that I had a bit more of an interest in the product itself.

Second, I feel that this ad best achieved true professionalism.  I feel that this ad could appear in the next Country Music edition of People Magazine; it’s that good.  To me it just honestly looks like a huge ad agency worked on this ad for weeks and weeks and made millions from the final product.  He made his own personal logo for the brand, but it looks like it could be the next symbol for Copenhagen tobacco!  And the fact that he even included the “US Smokeless Tobacco” emblem and the surgeon general’s warning, adds even more to the professional aspect.

Third, I love the picture itself.  He not only used the rule of thirds, by not having the cans sitting in the dead center of the ad, but he also played with the appealing shape of the triangle, and used it’s good graces with our eyes to add even more!  He uses the appeal of lines with the baseball bat laying in the background, as well as the horizon line of the dirt and the grass.  And he said he wasn’t too happy with having to use the two little pebbles to help prop up the cans, but I feel that since they are symmetrical, it doesn’t even matter.

Fourth, the shallow depth of field is awesome!  The way the cans stand out so distinctly, clear, and concise; it’s great!  Looking at this ad I can tell that he not only put a lot of time into the composition of the ad itself, but he also took a lot of time and tedious planning to get this awesome beauty shot!  And though shooting outside can be dangerous and can overexpose your photo, this turned out great.  And the little sun glare at the top of the silver can just adds a bit of spark to it!

In conclusion, I love this ad!!!  It’s so great and I’m so impressed by the outcome of Ben’s project.  He did a great job with not only the ad itself, but also with the photo used for the ad.  He remembered all the rules about good photography and how to plan the layout of photos and advertisements, to achieve a winner.  Even though my boyfriend does not play baseball, this add still attracts and appeals to anyone that is familiar with Copenhagen smokeless tobacco.  I am getting this ad made into a poster for my boyfriend for Christmas, that’s how much I like it and want other people to see how awesome it is!  Great job Ben, by far the best completed project of the semester out of the entire class!!!!!!

Interviewing someone was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be.  I have interviewed people for newspaper articles and other written assignments, but interviewing via video recording is very nerve-racking.  I would have to say that no one will ever be perfect to interview.  No matter how well spoken and thoughtful a person may be, they will still need some editing to make them appear to be “perfect” at speaking.

We originally planned to interview my store manager, but then he had something really important come up and was unable to do it, so we then had to turn to my assistant store manager Jenequa.  It was a lifesaver that she could do it and our entire group was very appreciative.  But because we couldn’t get our original interviewee to come out, we had to change questions around and take the interview in a different direction than we planned to do so before.  Though that was a difficult change, I would say the hardest thing to do during the interview process is get the person you’re interviewing to expand on the question.  I found myself trying to encourage her by adding little blurbs after she would answer just to get her to say more than what she was comfortable saying.  So getting the right content from the person for each question was very difficult.

But I was glad that we were able to talk about Starbucks and their involvement in the community.  Because I work at Starbucks and that’s where my heart belongs, haha, I was really attached to the subject matter and for that I think I was even more hoping for very in-depth answers, because I knew the answers to each of the questions myself.

But I am very happy with our interview and I hope that this video helps everyone realize some of the great things that Starbucks does for the world around us!