Category Archives: DIGITAL



We’re all entitled to mistakes and oversights, but REALLY?!  Troubled retail giant JCPenney is now being scrutinized about a teapot.  Look closely at the photo.  What do you see?  Was it a teapot or an ambiguous sight of Adolf Hitler?

As if the company needed any more negative media attention.  On the heels of the whole “shock value” that we’ve seen over the past month with other brands like Kmart, Mountain Dew and Radio Shack, I’m not so sure is this is the route JCPenney intended.

This goes back to not just the advertising agency but also JCPenney and its creative approval process.  As a marketer, I find it hard to believe that not one person involved in the development of this advertisement sat back and said, “Hmm”.

It is the responsibility of the ad agency to view ads from all angles, however what good is it if the client doesn’t listen?  I’m not sure if this was the case with this execution, however the resemblance to Adolf Hitler was too striking for no one to have said, “Wait a minute.”

What are your thoughts?


BlackBerry Juice

Has BlackBerry gotten their "juice" back?

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Apple and Samsung have all but taken over the cell phone industry.  You will see a sprinkle of LG here and a sliver of Pantech there, but for the most part, these two large makers have the industry on lock.  What about BlackBerry?  I remember if you had a BlackBerry for work, that meant you had arrived.  Not everyone was allowed to have one, only management.  Now, my 11-year-old son is saving his money to get rid of it and get a “better” phone.  Sales in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom dropped by 53 percent third quarter last year from a year earlier to $949 million, according to a December 21 company filing.

For the past few years cell phone makers have designed and redesigned their products several times over.  It seems like there is a phone that will cater to each person, personality and business need.  Somehow the once coveted BlackBerry lost its juice.  It kept its signature keypad while others were switching to touch screens.  They lagged behind on technology.  Simply put, they didn’t move with the times.

Last month at the BlackBerry 10 launch, RIM (Research in Motion), BlackBerry’s parent company named Alicia Keys as the Global Creative Director.  Yes, Alicia Keys the singer.  Hmm,  didn’t see that coming.  Her role will entail working with app creators, retailers and the entertainment community.  I’ve thought about this.  Why Alicia Keys?  I know she’s talented but what does she bring to the table?

Well, Keys brings to the table what BlackBerry lags.   She has several factors working for her.  One, she fits the new demographics…young, vibrant and is constantly on the go.  This is digital share-all society.  Cell phones are not just for emergencies.  They’re for ordering food through apps, Tweeting, playing Temple Run and yes, even working.  Another plus for Keys: her appeal isn’t limited stateside.  She actually is global, doing humanitarian work in Africa and performing everywhere from the United Kingdom to Portugal.  Lastly, she is the ALICIA KEYS!  Since her debut album in 2001, she has managed to stay relevant and in the public eye.  Keys is a coveted vocalist, activist and remains a hot commodity.

She has mass marketing appeal.  Old, young, black, white, American, Asian and everyone in between, Alicia Keys has a spark.  However, is that spark enough to convert faithful Apple and Samsung users?  Only time will tell if BlackBerry’s got their juice back…

We want to hear from you!  What are your thoughts around the direction BlackBerry is taking?

Thirst for Multicultural TV Satisfied Online


It’s no secret that there’s a dearth of multicultural roles in Hollywood on either the big screen or silver screen. Even J.J. Abrams’ vision of Middle Earth (“Lord of the Rings,” from J.R.R Tolkein) was populated by only milky-skinned faeries and hobbits, wizards and knights. But this dilemma has not stopped homegrown content creators from producing their own programming. For distribution, sites such as YouTube and Vimeo allow users to create Channels that perfectly house episodic content and grow audiences through subscriptions.

There are several web series gaining millions of views from their respective demos, and attention from potential advertisers. Most recently, Issa Rae’s “Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” has exploded, averaging 180,000 views per episode and currently has over 12MM channel views.[1] Shonda Rhimes, executive producer of primetime gems “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” recently greenlit another Rae spinoff “I Hate LA Dudes.”[2] Donnie Leapheart’s “Osiris” won the “Best Web Series at the 2012 American Black Film Festival.[3] Latino web series “East Willy B” centers Willy Jr. who struggles to keep his Bushwick bar afloat amidst gentrification. The series has some heavy hitters on both sides of the camera, and earned 100,000+ views in its first 6-episode pilot thus far.

The term “web series” no longer equates to a few teens recording pranks on their mobile phones in a poorly lit room. Some online shows tackle serious issues with HD production value and quality. Even the author of this article has produced a Mommy-centric web series entitled “Mommy UNcensored™: Confessions of a Real Mom,” based on his wife’s adventures through motherhood. This wild comedy tackles the serious challenges that motherhood poses upon a woman’s body, marriage and social life.

Networks are getting in on the fun, too. The Comcast-owned TV channel Mun2 is set to produce 3 web series targeting the Latino demographic.[4] With the pioneering of Internet TV colliding with emerging smart TV technology that streams the web, it’s only a matter of time before these web series jump from YouTube to the Silver Screen.

By Justin Jordan, Sr. Art Director


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When youcall the name James Andrews in the social media space, it’s like the name E.F. Hutton Everybody Listens!  Recently Andrews served as a panelist to explore the topic:  “The Intersection of PR and Technology”.  It was a stimulating conversation that shed the light on finding, connecting and engaging with the “right” audience.  The operative word is “right” audience.  As Andrews says, “It’s not about reaching everybody it’s about reaching the right audience.”

The Intersection of PR and Technology begins at the streetlight of Real Time Communications.  In Real Time Communications, distribution channels are on the fast track pushing out information and consistently delivering content.  So the question becomes, “Who do I need to get to, and what’s the best possible route to get there quickly?”

And how does Andrews propose reaching the right audience in Real Time Communications?  He says that it’s all about the tools!  Tools create the conversational landscape.  Therefore marketers must have working knowledge of the tools to be successful in the social media sphere.  It’s the tools that help build the audiences marketers need to reach.  Otherwise, they will be left out of the conversation.  And, at the end of the day, it’s all about the conversation.

The toolboxes of marketers should include sites such as; Marketplace, Bottlenose, Sprnklr, Socialcam, Mashable, FlopBoard etc. The tools can also help build social media databases – Blitz Metrics, Dashboard, Enterprise Social Dashboard and Twitter.  Interestingly, marketers are now using Twitter as a subliminal pitching tool.  As a PR professional, I’m all over this!

Andrews went on to say that although the tools are constantly changing, one mustn’t be intimidated or frightened by them because it’s not about the technology it’s about the conversation!  He encourages; make it a game, play with the tools, they help find what’s trending, then create a voice that’s not there.

As multicultural marketers, here at IMAGES USA, we are constantly seeking non-traditional ways to connect with various audiences for our clients’ products and services.   The versatility of the tools help us level the playing field by creating different conversations based on  demographics, consumer segments and interest.

In short, we are using the tools that are at our disposal.  We are building and engaging new audiences daily. So, we’re In the Game!  Are you?


IMAGES USA Marketing Director Jafet Ramirez weighs in on Univision’s recent announcement that they will launch a digital component to its upcoming Hispanic Themed, English language news and lifestyles network in September. With their next step in digital, is Univision … Continue reading

Multicultural Tech Startup Seeks Next Step In Social Media’s Evolution From Pastime to Productivity

Continuing the trend of Millennials establishing themselves as innovators and drivers of the economy, a cause-driven tech startup aims to optimize collaboration in social media through their goal-sharing app zuggol.* IMAGES is happy to see young entrepreneurs from our community making the most of the digital age. Kudos!

True to Millennial form, Zuggol is a cause-driven startup ran by a young group of multicultural entrepreneurs in the Tech-heavy San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more about the Social Media-savvy founders here.

The Digital Age is heavily focused on collaboration and sharing, between brands and users alike; sites like Facebook are built on the fundamental belief that humans are naturally social and love sharing our experiences with others. Since not every experience can be shared in person, we do our best to capture our them through photos (which has evolved to create apps like Instagram), video (YouTube) and across a number of similar platforms. Really, we’re just super-evolved versions of the cavemen who documented their experiences through wall paintings, or ancient Egyptians who used hieroglyphs.

Dating back to the dawn of man (cue 2001: A Space Oddyssey-theme music), we’ve had the urge to show others where we’ve been, and we’ve gotten much better at it over the years; now we also update our friends on where we are through apps like Twitter, Foursquare, or Highlight; we also express who we are by showing where we’re going and what we believe, and we love collaborating with our peers through sharing knowledge/ info/ resources that can help us each toward a common goal.

So which mediums truly optimize this experience by helping us along the way?

Enter zuggol, a platform based on the belief that a key to achieving goals is making them fun, having support, and sharing them with friends for motivation. Currently undergoing final testing and tweaks, the first version of the app is scheduled to hit the market for download late summer/ early fall 2012.

The platform will consist of five sectors: Education, Music, Fashion, Fitness, and Fun. Once goals are established, progress within each sector can be followed by friends, encouraging resource/information sharing to help users reach each milestone along the way. From starting a small business to training for a marathon, zuggol aims to help out and give Social Media a boost in its transition from a pastime to a truly productive endeavor. Stay tuned!

* On zuggol: Yes, the app is all lower-case (capitalize when referring to the company) and it seems hard to pronounce. You can help influence one of those concerns by voting on the app’s pronouncement here– they’ll even plant a tree for every 100 votes!

How do you use Social Media? Just for a fun pastime, as a resource for optimizing productivity, o a little bit of both? We want to hear from our readers! Comment below or Tweet us @IMAGESUSA. We will make sure to check back for an update on the success and engagement of zuggol.

Where’s Our Creativity Going? – The Glove-Slap Follow Up

Last week our Senior Art Director Justin Jordan started a conversation surrounding an article by writer Sam Laird, which addressed Adobe’s recent study of the creativity gap around the world (read the original article here, and read Justin’s response here). Unable to curb his ranting, our Social Media Strategist/ Sr. Account Executive Simon Trabelsi has decided to weigh in with his thoughts


As I remove my proverbial glove and prepare to issue an online glove slap-challenge for Mr. Laird, I’d like to list the claims/ topics from the linked articles and studies that I will address in a three part rant series:

  1. Is the digital age hampering our creativity?
  2. In general, people around the world feel like their creativity is being stifled
  3. Why I’m right about everything


1. Is the digital age hampering our creativity?

The argument here is that apps like Instagram are neat, but constant disruptions such as social mediums, emails and other communications obstruct our ability to creatively focus on one task.

Not so much.

Sammy, you’re a Millennial like me. It’s well documented that Millennials are a generation of multitaskers – some have called us “The ADD Generation” – and this trait typically lends itself well to creativity. As an artist trapped in a cubicle-dweller’s body, I’ve produced some of my best works when affording my brain the luxury of unlimited free association and non-linear thinking.  Continue reading