Category Archives: NEWS


Oklahoma3If you haven’t already heard, Monday’s tragic tornado in Oklahoma killed at least 24 people. By Tuesday morning #PrayForOklahoma was trending and people all over the country were sending their condolences.


Interesting, isn’t it? Tragedies tend to bring people together and social media seems to be the driver. So, what does this mean for brands?

1)     Say it first – Brands need to remain relevant. Consumers are bombarded with messages more than ever before and marketers need to find a way to beat the clutter. Once a topic has run its course it becomes obsolete.  In other words, you do not want to be the brand that tweets about the Oklahoma tornado once everyone is fully aware of the details. If you remain consistent and relevant you will build credibility with your audience and they will, ultimately, confide in you. This may not produce a hike in sales today but it will help build brand equity in the long-run.

2)     Humanize yourself – To humanize your brand is to make it authentic. As marketers, we need to embrace the human side of communication. It is in our nature to connect with others, usually based on common interests. If consumers see you as a “friend” they will be more likely to become brand loyal. You can’t become someone’s friend by merely talking about yourself or the products you offer. You become someone’s friend by relating to their interests and being genuine about it. For the past few days, people have been absorbed in the Oklahoma tornado and brands – the smart ones – have joined the cause.

At the end of the day, people connect with what is real, and social media allows marketers to connect easier and more frequently than ever before! All we have to do, as marketers, is embrace our brand personality and remain relevant. Easy, peasy.

On another note – our condolences to those affected by the Oklahoma tornado.


Series(al) Killer

series(al) killer

If you haven’t heard by now, PepsiCo has has killed the Mountain Dew commercials surrounding a talking goat that has beaten up a woman and was in a police lineup.  The commercials have been cited as stereotyping Black males, racist and sexist.  Tyler, the Creator, a 22-year-old rapper/producer (who himself is African-American) created the campaign, which included some of his music group members and friends.  He has defended the commercials, denying any racism and claiming it was just supposed to be funny.  According to Tyler, his friends were “basically wearing their own clothes”.

I shared the commercial around the office and here are some of the responses:

1)  “Whoa… obviously they need a multicultural agency to help keep them from making stupid mistakes like that.  Often clients go out looking for what they think are “more creative, cutting edge” ways of reaching the young, millennial target through music talent, without truly understanding the nuances of the audience and not having the checks and balances in place that keep them from making this kind of grievous marketing error.

Maybe not overtly RACIST, but should have taken into account that there are 4 black guys in a police line up looking stereotypically criminal.  I understand this is a group but needed to include somehow a white guy(s).  Also suggests the idea of a white female being beat up by a black guy (although actually beat up by the  goat).  Just too far…”

2) “Call me insensitive but I didn’t see the commercial as racist. I’m not saying the spot deserves an ADDY but racism—no ma’am, no sir. I think the race card is being overused—can we play another card for subpar spots that contain black people? Advertising wouldn’t be advertising without criticism. I hope the PepsiCo brand doesn’t go into “super safe” mode and deliver creative that blends in with the rest of the ad noise.”

3) “Anybody think about the Doritos goat that beat up its owner for Doritos?  Yup, this is called “Biting,” pun intended.

The 4 Black males are all members of the same musical group as the “Creative” person who developed it for Mountain Dew, Tyler the Creator. Racist? That’s all about perception. Accidental racism almost always is. About perception, or lack thereof. If you don’t know the group, it looks really bad. If you know the group, it just looks like a watered down, weird version of their always-overtly-racy-purposely-offensive content.

If you think this is bad, don’t listen to eight bars of even ONE song.

My question, is why would Mountain Dew even put this in the market? They had to have known it would step on some toes. This was a marketing coup, IMHO.”

4)  “I find this commercial social irresponsible.  I understand that many people may know Tyler, the Creator and that he pushes the envelope, but I have no clue who he is.  The campaign is in bad taste and makes light serious situations.  Just reading Tyler’s Twitter was enough to make me cringe, I am not sure how Mountain Dew or PepsiCo thought it was in good taste to have this represent their brand.  What was the approval process?  Was a focus group used or did the company just throw the commercial online to test the waters?  Taking full responsibility is not enough after the fact.  Companies need to really do their due diligence before pushing a campaign such as this.  To me, this shows ignorance, arrogance and bad taste, all in the name of ‘creativity’.”

You’ve heard from us.  Now we want to hear from you.  What are your thoughts around Mountain Dew’s campaign?

IMAGES Wins Big, Goes 2-For-2 at the 4A’s Institute for Advanced Advertising Studies

Simon shows off his 4A’s Advertising Excellence Award

IMAGES USA would like to congratulate our very own Simon Trabelsi for completing the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ (4A’s) 2012 Institute for Advanced Advertising Studies (IAAS) program, as well as being awarded the 4A’s Advertising Excellence award as part of the winning team, “Mosaic.”

The IAAS is a 16-week program consisting of rising stars from various advertising agencies ranging from internationally esteemed companies such as J. Walter Thompson and BBDO, to smaller shops like IMAGES. Divided into five groups, each team tackled the project assigned by this year’s client, Church’s. The judges and clients cited a true understanding of the target audience and an innovative cause-driven mobile/ social media component as the ultimate determining factors in awarding the Mosaic team first place.

This marks the second consecutive year that IMAGES has sent a representative to the IAAS program, and the second time an IMAGES representative is a part of the winning team!

Simon also excelled here at IMAGES while simultaneously managing the rigors of the program, continuing to drive results across our clients’ brands and recently earning a promotion to Senior Account Executive and Social Media Strategist. Congratulations to Simon on the award, the promotion and a job well done! Kudos!

Work hard, play hard! The Mosaic team impressed judges with their teamwork and strong strategic acumen


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.

Jay Z & Budweiser Prove Community Involvement Remains Central to Multicultural Marketing


On Monday morning, Jay-Z (Artist/ Businessman/ Mogul) and Budweiser announced a partnership that will bring a two-day music festival to Philadelphia and raise funds to benefit United Way. Titled “Made In America,” the weekend of festivities will include three stages and up to 30 performers. A 2009 Yankelovich study showed that 80% of African Americans wish brands would do more to address issues within their communities, and more than half (53%) are more likely to purchase from brands that demonstrate this kind of commitment; United Way addresses education, homelessness and health inequities – all plights of lower-income multicultural communities – meaning Budweiser likely stands to benefit greatly through long-term brand affinity. Kudos to Jay-Z and Budweiser!

Do your favorite brands support the community? Whether yes or no, how does this affect your perception of the brand? Weigh in below or Tweet us @IMAGESUSA

The Global Creativity Gap: My Right-Brainer Analysis of Left-Brainer Research (Where’s Our Creativity Going? Pt. 3)

Last week our Social Media Strategist/ Sr. Account Executive Simon Trabelsi shared a quasi-scathing and largely ignored glove-slap response to writer Sam Laird‘s article on Adobe’s April 2012 study, “The State Of Creative.” Today, Simon provides his POV on the global creativity gap implied in the research data.

Click title to expand full infographic

Disclaimer: Though I wish I could use every single key finding in this research as irrefutable empirical ammunition to further my quest for creative appreciation (“Feed the creatives!” is what we always say around these parts), I do have reservations regarding the methodology. I’ve outlined my concerns in full here.

Despite my concerns, I regard the conclusions drawn from the study as a legitimate indicator of societal trends and will provide my reactions simply because I’ve realized not everyone sees or supports my opinion on the long term solution to strive for (or even on whether the research indicates a problem that needs to be solved).  Continue reading