Category Archives: EDUCATION

Advertisers Need to Go Back to School

It’s that time once again.  Time for students to go back to school.  Time for parents to spend money on supplies, fees and yes, clothes for their children.  Time for companies to vie for both the parents’ and kids’ attention. Every Fall, the back to school rush its television, radio and all possible media streams.

This year I cannot think of one advertisement that stood out besides one grocery store’s BOGO deal on school supplies.  I received an e-mail last week from a retailer that instead of highlighting their children’s line, offered 20% on adult styles.  Hmmm…

When it comes time for me to think of school shopping, one advertisement comes to mind every year…The JCPenney commercial from 2004 with Alyson Stoner.  The ad features a stylish bobble head and several adolescents doing an array of hip hop dance moves.  The tune is catchy and the children are showing off their clothes with style in the classroom and lunchroom.  While the children are various ethnicities, the style of their dance moves transcends into what’s in and essentially…cool.

While particular clothing brands may not have stood out, it appeared that JCPenney was the place to shop for cool kids.  Fast forward nine years.  There are more ways than ever to reach the target audience, including social media.  With so many retailers to choose from, how are companies standing out (if they even are)?


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


What is your target audience saying?

I have something to say.  Yes, it’s important, but how will it apply to you?  How strong is the message and why would you want to hear it?  It’s true that what I have for you is vital to the growth of your business, but how am I going about getting the message to you?

It all starts with knowing your target audience.  This point has been stressed over and over.  Let’s explore it it once again, but from a different perspective this time.  If you want the most bang for your buck, meaning if you want to reach the majority of your audience at one time, go to where they are.  You wouldn’t look for a basketball player at a polo match.  It seems so simple, but yet this detail is commonly overlooked.

How many times have you seen a commercial that just didn’t seem to fit the station or show?  It’s like showing women’s feminine products on an all sports television station.  While women do watch sports, you will probably capture more of your audience on WE TV or on Oprah’s channel, OWN.

Your commercial may not be one size fits all.  Is your product?  Do only men of a certain race shave?  Do all women use the same type of shampoo?  What you want to convey to your audience is important.  How you convey it is even more important.  Here are some questions to remember:

* What appeal do you want to have and how do you want your target audience to respond?
* How relatable is your marketing effort to your target audience? (something that is familiar to them)
* How realistic is your approach? (Target audience picturing themselves in the need for your product/service)
* Are you using the right avenues? (Tv, print, radio, billboards, social media)
* Are you at the right place at the right time? (Radio commercial for quick carryout meals at a restaurant between 5-7pm)

Although what you’re saying is important, how you’re delivering the message is the difference between having a video online and one going viral.

Where’s Our Creativity Going??

With the recent release of Adobe’s study on the “Global Creativity Gap,of course the creativity-driven advertising industry has been buzzing non stop . The first to react here at IMAGES is our Senior Art Director Justin Jordan. Join in on the discussion, look out for more reactions (surely there will be many – from reactions to the study itself, to reactions to reactions of the study) and enjoy Justin’s food for thought!

Link to Adobe’s graphic summary of the study

As Art Director at IMAGES, I find my creative inspiration challenge to flex my creative muscle. Yet daily, I find my very creativity in jeopardy of falling victim to the media for which it designs!

According to, Digital is killing our creativity (suffocating may be a better word). It states, “In a recent global study, three-quarters of [the 5,000] respondents said their creative potential is being stifled.” Being smack dab in the crosshairs of the digital & creative spaces as Art Director of IMAGES, this is the perfect time for the author (and reader) to do a Creativity self-examination. Here goes:

  • Does your phone incessantly remind you of emails day and night?
  • Do you have problems concentrating on any real-world task without the temptation to tweet, text, email, youtube, or facebook?
  • During your daily commute, how many times do you “handle” your mobile device between points A and B?
  • Do you interrupt your own thoughts with meanderings in social media or social media consumption?

Check out the original article here (including the engagingly excellent infographic), and examine digital’s effects on your own creativity.

-Justin Jordan, Senior Art Director, IMAGES USA

Do you feel like the digital age is hindering your creativity or enhancing it? IMAGES wants to hear from our readers! Join the discussion by commenting below, responding through your own blog, reblogging, or Tweeting us @IMAGESUSA. Let’s hear it!!

Back to School time is here!

It’s time for school again. Some kids are entering school for the first time, while some recent high school grads venture off to college. Back to School—three simple words filled with so many implications.

To some, it means the end of carefree summer days, family reunions, travel and less traffic on the streets. For others, especially parents, it may mean a return to both the structure and chaos of managing homework and extracurricular activities. But hopefully for students it means embracing the “gift” of education, which is an opportunity to learn and invest in their future. As my mother told me, “An education is something that no one can take away from you.” Such truthful advice, I have come to learn. Education is a gift that many children around the world are not blessed to freely have; a gift that some cavalierly take for granted, or do not appreciate its significance until it’s too late.

In these days, when we see the negative affect of political infighting upon the quality of our children’s education; the disenfranchisement of our right to vote; the competitive struggle for an opportunity to earn a living; let us return to the basics with recognition of the important role that education plays in the game of life. Let us prepare ourselves and our children to be as equipped as possible to compete in this playing field by aggressively grabbing hold of our right to an education, and squeezing all that we can get from it. School is an investment in YOU! Get back to it with some energy.

I’m just saying…

Spelman College Class of 2011 uses social media to secure First Lady Michelle Obama as Commencement Speaker

On May 15, 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama will inspire more than 500 graduates to leave their mark on the world when she delivers the commencement address to the Spelman College class of 2011. Mrs. Obama will also receive an honorary degree along with actress and choreographer Debbie Allen and her sister, actress and director Phylicia Rashad.

The class of 2011 used their creativity and social media outlets to campaign for First Lady Michelle Obama as this year’s commencement speaker by developing a YouTube video.

The video gave Mrs. Obama an overview of the Spelman history as well as a request for her presence at this year’s ceremony. Although the video itself had only 1,000 views, the students were able to have their dream realized.

Congratulations to Spelman College Class of 2011! Where will your use of social media take you?

Operation HOPE + Partners Launch Wikia-Operation HOPE Global Money Initiative

It’s not often that one is present for history in the making, but last week, members of the press in the United States and Casablanca, Morocco, were witness to the launch of a pioneering partnership between financial literacy empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE), the Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE), and Wikia. Leadership from each partner organization came together via web conference to launch of the Wikia-Operation HOPE Global Money Initiative(Global Money), the first global financial literacy tool.

The partners in the Global Money Initiative were appropriately linked up online from around the world for the launch – Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and Moroccan Ambassador to the U.S. Aziz Mekouar in Washington, DC; Wikipedia Founder and Wikia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales in London; CSE CEO Karim Hajji in Morocco, and Civil Rights Leader Ambassador Andrew Young in Los Angeles.

So… What is Global Money?

Read Operation HOPE’s live coverage of the event and listen to the key players explain it here on the Operation HOPE blog.

Kudos to Operation HOPE for their continued focus on empowering the globe by offering “a hand up and not a hand out.”