Previously On

As of late I’ve experienced a tremendous shift in my life. I’ve often times reflected on my life and thought to myself that I’m starring in a sitcom that God would refer to as his ‘guilty pleasure show’. So I’m comparing my current life changes to the end of a sitcom’s season. The finale is full of drama – they’ve made sure to keep you hooked throughout the summer. For me it was leaving the winery without really having a plan – so it felt like that writer’s strike all over again: Where the fuck are we going with this now?

Then I was unemployed. It was like patiently awaiting the return of the series, wondering how the hell they’re going to tie up those loose ends. During the hiatus, you’re bored with too much time on your hands. You find a new hobby outdoors and it’s fulfilling and all – but something is still missing. Just when you think you’re at your wit’s end, after you’ve had enough reruns to stave off the hunger for your favorite characters’ antics, it’s time for the new season to premiere. The premiere starts off with

Previously on (insert clever sitcom title here)…

There’s flashbacks of life and it’s all coming back. They show you clips from earlier seasons, making sure you’re prepped for whats to come. My brief internship stints. High school ad design. NSAC. Every Strategic Communications class I have ever taken. My graphic design classes I took when I was studying abroad. Words about tracking and leading and kerning and Adobe shortcuts and packaging files and staring at computer screens and nudging words half a pica and anything I have ever learned about advertising and design. All my professional highlights scroll through in a series of blurred knowledge – like I just finished an entire season on Netflix in a day – I know what happened, relatively, but it’s a lot to process.

Now you’re somewhat caught up to speed. They made the theme song longer so it takes you a while to get to good stuff (much like my new commute to work). You’re a little uncomfortable at first. It’s the same, yes, but things are just a little different. They’ve changed the setting of the show. (like when they moved Piper to that crazy-ass prison in Chicago – you were like:)

There’s some new characters and you’re not sure how they are going to play out throughout the season. You’re in a whole new time slot. I went from being a late night show, full of boozing and inappropriate social situations that you couldn’t help but laugh at when it’s past 2 a.m. Now I’m in a prime time spot. And my series would be airing before DVR and TiVo – so you have to be right on time to see it.

As you get into the show, you realize they’re make some attempts to tie in the last season but their having difficulty. And you start to feel like this:

But then there’s some of the same wittiness returning to the show. And the spark of hope is back and you realize why you love this show and why you would watch it anyway.

But in all seriousness: I love my new job. I feel empowered, smart, capable, and more confident in myself because I’m acknowledging my abilities once again. I’m also a contributing member of society once more. This time, however, my work is valued by my employer. I work hard and get to play hard on the weekends – I’m making the most of it already with planning to float some rivers, exploring some kayaking spots, going to California and ATX, and already planning on how to spend my vacation days in South America next year – so I don’t feel like I’m compromising too much of myself. But still, I can’t help feeling like I sold out a little bit. Or truly, I sold out one part of myself. “Fun Briana” has been reigned in exponentially more and sooner than I had expected. Granted she got some badass airtime last season (and a whole lot during the hiatus) but now she’s only a minor character in the majority of the episodes. Tucked away, used for comic relief during the stressful and dramatic encounters that now dominate the show.) But it’s not like I was forced to kill her off or anything, so there’s that. It feels weird when I go and get coffee right after sunrise and commit myself to spending roughly the next 11 hours at new job. Then again, I’m thriving in it.

By the end of the episode, you’re hungry for what’s to come. You’re not sure what to expect, but you are anticipating some plot twists, preparing yourself for some predictability, and still pining away for the romance to finally bud (Lord knows I’m getting bored with this whole ‘single girl’ angle they’re taking) and ultimately you’re satisfied and ready for more.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode…



Finals, Graduation and Beyond

As finals roll on to the TCU campus, students who have been lucky enough to graduate early are looking for the next step, the next piece of the puzzle, and where their next paycheck will be coming from (and for some – it may be the first paycheck).

Although I may just be avoiding studying, but just watching these brave souls venture out into the wilderness known as reality, I’ve begun to think about my future. Even though I still have roughly 18 months to go before I graduate with my degree in Strategic Communication from TCU, it’s never too early to think about the future.

A few months ago, I met with a creative at Launch, an advertising firm in Dallas, to talk about advertising and essentially what it takes to succeed. His big advice was portfolio school. Portfolio school is similar to a finishing school for creatives interested in Art Direction, Copywriting, etc. It’s also similar to a Master’s degree, but instead of a diploma in your hand, you end the program with an outstanding book that will help you to get a foot in the door.

This all sounds fine and dandy – but the problem is two things: money and time. Most portfolio schools are two-year programs that cost around $30,000 for the entire education. I will be going to school for more time expected, with more loans I never expected to have entering the work force. These are some of my major concerns. My minor concerns include work load (could I even handle it?), moving away to a big city on my own (think Chicago, Miami, or Atlanta?), and applying for these selective programs (we are talking anywhere between 20 to 200 are accepted, out of hundreds of applicants). All of these factors are freaking me out beyond recognition.

Applying to college wasn’t this stressful from what I remember.

But portfolio school has some BIG benefits. Having a portfolio school listed on a resume is an instant HELLO! to potential employers. It signifies you have a specific education that will pertain to a job. You will work in professional settings on assignments that prepare you to think through the business of the creative process. You learn how to create an idea visually (if you do Art Direction, if I did Copywriting it would verbally) and you go beyond a typical design atheistic.

As an Art Director (which is something I am highly considering at this point as a job path) you learn how to solve a client’s problem with a 360 degree solution. You learn the flow of communication and teach you how to concept for good ideas. The key to being a successful art director is storytelling, visual metaphors, and great ideas. In portfolio school you try to prove that you have real world experience – without really having it. You tie the big idea of a campaign together through POP, web design, and basic print. You think about a consumer and how a campaign will intersect with their life and speak to them in a creative and personal way.

Portfolio school will teach me how to create

the big picture.

The decision on whether to do this is complicated. It’s a big risk that could have an even bigger reward in the end. But right now, every day it seems like a better idea. After going to the Senior Graphic Design Show today, I realize that I won’t be able to graduate and do the same level of work they are doing. In order to have the same skill set as them I will need to go to portfolio school and work on my skills for a year or two and have a great portfolio to show at job interviews. It’s all up in the air right now, I’m going to continue to do more research on the portfolio schools listed below and keep my options open.

Portfolio Schools

It’s no secret that these are some of the best schools for portfolios but these are my top choices for right now.

Miami Ad School

Portfolio Center

Chicago Portfolio School

Creative Circus

Art Center 

Death of the Ad Slogan

The 1980s and 90s gave us commercials with slogans that would run in different scenarios for several months. Think of the “Dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell” or “Yo quiero Taco Bell”. These ad slogans were easy to remember and created a pop culture phenomenon and following for the company. It was like a commercial catchphrase that was easy for consumers to engage in an applicable to several different commercial ideas. Was this their tagline for the company? Not necessarily.

These commercials were catchy and funny. People were entertained by the ideas, followed the characters, and produced a long-lasting impression on the pop culture landscape. These commercials spawned merchandise and several commercial spots that strengthened the campaign idea.

But what about today’s commercials? Even the ‘best’ commercials or the most popular commercials don’t have the longevity of the aforementioned spots. You don’t see people quoting the Old Spice’s “The man your man could smell like.

Is this a change  in our society or a change in the advertising climate?

I personally think this may be a change in advertising. Don’t get me wrong, I think the commercials out right now have incredible concepts that can run in different situations, but I don’t think they are as easy to remember. I think they have memorable lines people can still quote and eventually make their way into pop culture, but they don’t always include the company name. By creating these funny commercials which work their way into our hearts, they are inevitably leaving their brand out in the cold, heartless world of the consumerism.

By creating clever lines that combine humor and brand loyalty, advertising can retain their staying power.

The Ads are Changing as Fast as the Leaves

At this point in the semester Texas is starting to venture down into the mid 60s outside and girls are starting to pull on their boots and leggings. College midterms have passed and it seems like a narrow road to finals week. However, football is in full swing and there are plenty of holidays to look forward to this season.

Amidst all of this fall action, advertising is turning up the volume with some splendid spots on television. Fall fashion magazines are filled with print ads that inspire fashion creativity. I’m going to take some time to outline a few of my favorites so far this season.


This commercial for Canal+ is absolutely hilarious and so well done.

I was lucky enough to hear from Leo Burnett about their strategy behind the Mayhem commercials. The new ‘Blind Spot‘ commercial is my favorite so far.

This spot for EA Games is actually a fantastic spot for video games.

Alcohol is one of the most interesting advertising forums. The commercials can range from witty to hilarious to fun to corny. Luckily this one for Wiserhood is extremely clever.

I just saw this ad for Norwegian Cruises that was really great.


Absolut Vodka: Outrageous

AWARD: Get Your Name On It, Art Director

Citroën Jumper Minibus: Wolf

Bulmers Cider: Walt

Internships Unzipped

Since school has started, I’ve barely had time to process my new busy schedule, let alone get used to it. I’m finally taking some time to talk about my summer and the experiences I was able to have. I’ve always been interested in advertising. When my family first invested in TiVo, I was actually disappointed that I would miss the ads..well the good ads anyway. So during my busy summer at The Loomis Agency I’ve really had a chance to see the kind of chops it takes to make it in the industry. I wanted to discuss some things I’ve learned from the past 12 weeks.

1. Details Matter

I’ve been told this time and time again from my teachers in the Schieffer School of Journalism at TCU, but I’ll admit I never took them seriously about it. Tiny typos and spelling mistakes look glaring against a professional backdrop. It’s something I’ve been working on this semester in my new classes, but I’ll admit I have a bit of trouble with grammar (as some of my readers may have noticed).

2. Work Quickly, but Maintain Quality

Although there are hundreds of deadlines and meetings to factor into a busy schedule, you can’t rush good work. A creative briefs still needs to be tight, a change order for the creative department needs to be descriptive, and an email still needs to outline all the major details.

3. Communication is the Key to Success

This is something that I’m starting to learn more about each day. As advertisers, it’s our job to communicate effectively to our consumers. So it would make sense that we would need to communicate with our account service team, with the creative department, and with the client. An email is common currency, but phone calls will be incoming and outgoing all day long. Don’t let technology take over though, a friendly facial reminder that you need that updated POP sign can get it faster in the long run.

Overall, I spent my summer running errands like buying 10 different fast food burgers, writing work orders and change orders to help facilitate work within the agency, and learning how an agency runs on a daily basis. Although I did work in the account service department, I’ve realized that the creative side is where I want to be. I’m currently in Creative Communications and Ad Copywriting and both courses help me to focus on the creative aspect of advertising, which was my initial love for advertising. Creative ads are sometimes more entertaining and purposeful than an amazing episode of How I Met Your Mother.

My favorite ad of the day:

POM Wonderful?

Pomegrante juice. Something that I never would have associated with sex, has decided to link itself to the concept that sex sells. But does it really?

I have to admit that staring an an Adonis-type warrior for 30 seconds did make me want me want him. But did it make me want POM Wonderful? Not exactly. The more commercials I saw for this drink, the more obnoxious they seemed. No super fruit is going to completely alter you into a god or goddess.

And apparently the Federal Trade Commission or FTC also agreed. But not about it touting the effects of sexual desire, but about it’s false claims that POM Wonderful can, “prevent, reduce the risk of, and treat heart disease, including by decreasing arterial plaque, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood flow to the heart” which is supposedly backed by research.

Their websites claims:

POM is the Antioxidant Superpower

I mean I can see how the FTC is a little concerned about them. They go on to list the studies and the “superpowers” their antioxidants possess.

I really think their campaign is little off with their brand image. The latest commercial I just saw is their new commercial inspired by the classic story of Adam and Eve.

While I will admit the concept behind this ad is actually pretty good, but I think that the connection between sex and pomegranates is a little far-fetched. But if you think about, they are just one more healthy, natural, fruit juice trapped in an overgrown market of organic drinks. It’s a toss-up for me, are the antioxidants going to their heads or do they have super human advertising gold?

LA Times estimates that their sales could be around 100 million.

Well damn. Maybe they do have it right.

For me, I’ll stick to my yoga and unfiltered water.


Dinosaurs vs Robots

I just finished reading an article published on Ad Age written from the perspective of an older advertising exec. The article boasts how even though older generations of ad men lost their control over the ad world due to the excessively fast rise of the digital work. However, he defends his generation saying that he has been able to learn the ropes and bring his experience to this new platform.

Well that’s just peachy.

I’m glad the new younger generation (the one I’m apart of), whose edge was the knowledge of the digital world, is being screwed out of that.

Here’s a link to the article. It’s actually very well written and a great read. But scary for those of us still in college or approaching the job market in advertising. Not only do I feel like it’s a cut-throat environment between my colleagues and myself, but now I’m going to have to continue to compete with seniors who will still know how to write a mean copy.

On a bright note:

I’m absolutely in love with this commercial Ad Age posted that is a spot for the Levi’s and Opening Ceremony collaboration. Absolutely perfect.

Feminine Advertising

In my Intro to Drama course, we were discussing the play A Doll’s House. The play centers around a woman who is living in her husband’s home. She has no real purpose in her life, other than to fulfill the duties as a woman of the Victorian era. The duties include keeping your mouth shut and doing anything you are told. When she shames herself by committing forgery, her husband is the one humiliated, with no regard for her well-being.

Our professor even gave us a handout which had an excerpt from a women’s manual entitle, Eve’s Glossary. One of the things it says all women must possess is delicacy, above all else, otherwise “her moral conduct is unpleasant.” In addition many of the excerpts from other Victorian readings had information on how to be a “good wife” by obeying your husband at any cost. I took the liberty of looking up a few of the rules for a Victorian woman.

When reading this I thought to myself, what a degrading and oppressive time for women. And then my teacher brought up Cosmo. One of the most widely read magazines in the country made “exclusively” for women.

This magazine that is designed for women seems to read like a modern-day women’s manual on how to continually please their man-only this time it’s sexually pleasing your man. This magazine is telling women that for you to be happy, you must buy trendy clothes, work-out, eat healthy, and have a great sex life. does this really sound that different from what they were forcing women to act like in the 1800s?

I always think it’s funny how everything seems to connect within my education. Last year in Advertising Principles, my teacher talked about how advertising in the 1950s played on the idea of social anxieties with both women and men. These ads constantly played on the ideals of their society and how important it was to keep up appearances.

This girdle ad is doing just that. This girdle is said to be necessary for “The pretty American figure”. And you might argue that we are far from that today. But think about a lot of the women’s ads today.

This Venus ad is playing on the social anxiety that a woman can’t have a any hair on her legs for a first date, or anytime she is with a man, because she won’t be sexy enough to kiss/embrace him.

And just last night, I watched a documentary on Coolhunting which had a segment on “The Midriff” and how women in today’s society are trying to embody the unrealistic women they see in advertising today.

I don’t know about you but I don’t know if a lot of my friends run around drenched in water looking like that. If you have 5 minutes, check out the video because it really is an interesting look at how advertising is affecting girls, especially the young ones.

Midriff clip

The reason I’m writing this is because one day I’m going to be the person coming up with advertisements. Am I going to one day be responsible for girls running around half-naked and acting like sluts because that’s how ads are encouraging them to act? The documentary explores the idea that ad men research teens, and then display them on TV as an amped up version-sexier, sluttier, dumber-and then the kids start to mirror their television counterparts and then it’s a cycle. I worry that one day I’m going to become so wrapped up in that cycle that my own kids could be trapped in that same circle.

How do we avoid harming our society with advertising? Is it by making it dull and non-related to pop culture references? Or is there a way to incorporate new image of females into advertising?

Owning Color

Target. A store with cantaloupes, cartoons, and car tires all in one place. A store whose advertising is always spot-on and consistent with its voice and positioning. There’s also one thing that Target is known for: red. Michael Francis, Senior VP of Marketing for Target, stated back in 2003 that he planned on “owning red“. Fast-forward to 2010 and that’s the only color we think of is red (and white).

In addition, many companies have followed this form. McDonald’s golden arches, University of Texas’ burnt orange, and the new Pistachio’s green.

These companies have done a great job in associating not only a product benefit or user benefit with their product or brand, but an entire color. So much so that they can go as far as to send a cease and desist order . My PR professor, Jacque Lambiase, explained to use that the Fort Worth logo was considered too close to the UT logo and they were forced to change it.

Before, the logo was more orange and the horns were more similar.

This whole post was inspired by a Reese’s commercial, which after watching I realized that Reese’s is beginning to own orange. Immediately, just the background of their ad was on the screen and I knew it was Reese’s.

Merry Christmas! 🙂

Advertising and the Consumer

It’s no wonder we live in such a self-centered world. Advertising is all about creating an ad, or sometimes even a product, specifically to meet the needs of a consumer. Those needs can be real or imagniary, rational or irrantional, all that matters is that I believe in the ability of your product to better me. So is this self-centered way of life a result of all this advertising or are we the ones that started it all?

Integrated marketing communications, also known as IMC, is all about the relationship building with an important public. The idea behind Facebook is all about broadcasting your relationships to everyone. It’s let’s someone see who is important in your life, the centers of influence or stakeholders, that will affect your life. Facebook and IMC are just about the fundamental human need for social interaction, which in reality isn’t that new of a concept. All that advertising is attempting to do is create a human connection between a product (essentially an inatimate object) and the consumer. Without this connection, why would we want anything? We buy things because we like the persona or the image that is presented to us, either because we want to envision ourselves that way or just desire it.

A great example is car insurance. The only tangible evidence of the purchase of car insurance is a tiny card that you have in your car. But it provides security and safety and peace of mind when we are out driving around the city. Insurance play up this idea (in attention to the fear of what if something bad were to happen) and often creates a perceived need for a consumer.

And their new direction still presents the “what if” but in a more humorous way. (Which I love)

Or some insurance companies will use an animation to illustrate an abstract concept of safety but humorous displaying it through the use of a little green gecko, like Geico.

I think it’s great how aware of this Geico is and how they even play it up in one of their commercials.

And just because I’ve been watching Sex and the City constantly the past 2 days:

“Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate, without them what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course we would never fall in love or be who we are. After all, seasons change, so do cities. People come into your life and people go, but it’s comforting to know, that the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you’re lucky-a plane ride away.” -Carrie Bradshaw