Category Archives: WEIGH IN

Can I Touch Your Hair?

Can I Touch Your Hair

People are allowed the chance in NY to touch AA women’s hair

Almost every woman of color I know has been asked this question at least once in their lives. It’s always a question that brings discomfort, and often, a side eye…..

Well this past weekend, the founders of un-ruly.com gave spectators in NYC the opportunity to end their curiosity. During a two-hour exhibit on Thursday, June 6th, spectators in Union Square were able to touch live women’s heads, with a variety of hair ranging from straightened and sleek, coarse and kinky, to locs. The exhibit also took place during another two-hour span on June 8.

Not only is this an excellent tactic to start dialogue around this culturally, somewhat taboo fascination with ethnic hair, but it has also served as an experiential marketing strategy to build exposure for the Un’Ruly blog. As a result of the exhibit, the blog has been featured on websites for The Huffington Post, AOL, Jezebel, Refinery29 and more.

Want to learn more about the exhibit? Check out this link for more info: ‘You Can Touch My Hair’ Exhibit

What do you think Atlanta? Would you attend or participate in this exhibit if it were here?

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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?

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

Then a video is worth a million!

“A picture is worth a thousand words”.  This saying has been time tested, tried and true.  Companies use photos to sell their product or service.  How many billboards did you see on your way to work today?  Did you see the one for healthcare or the hospital with a photo of a doctor?  What about the one with the beautiful beaches with a couple sitting in lounge chairs.  Maybe you saw the one with a photo of a university, their school logo and students walking and smiling with backpacks on.

Each of these “pictures” tells a story.  It could be to have this particular facility as your healthcare provider or hospital of choice.  Or the beach billboard may show a great place for a relaxing getaway.  The university photo may scream “Attend to this school! It’s a great place for students to learn and have fun.”  Regardless, the company is hoping to get their message across to their target audience.

With technology changing so quickly and social media growing with every blink, there is yet another way to capture the attention of your audience…Video!  It is used to show everything from the winning field goal kick to fixing a leaky faucet.  Companies have now found using video as the new wave in their marketing effort.

Videos can be imprinted (or embedded) on the company website, posted on YouTube, or shared on Facebook and Twitter.  The great thing about videos, you’re able to clearly express your message.  There are also tracking tools to see how many views you get and how effective it is.

In order to not only grab your target’s attention but make them want to share/recommend/like the video, think outside the box and start getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  You can use a 30 second testimonial or “Here’s why you should choose us” ad.  Have fun and be creative.  Remember, you only have a short time frame to get the attention of your audience.  Make it memorable and make it count!

Attention Seekers Need Not Apply

Are you an Attention Seeker or Attention Grabber?

Image by: ozpolitic.com

Wow!  I know you’re so proud of your advertising when you see it.  The strategy was well thought out.  You pitched the perfect idea, came up with incredible creative and showed the world the best you have to offer. But there’s one issue…it didn’t go over so well with your target audience.

Why?  Because YOU didn’t ask THEM what THEY wanted!  Sometimes the needs of our target audience somehow takes a back seat when we get so focused on our great concepts and imagined impeccable delivery.  I like to call these people “Attention Seekers”.  There’s no finger pointing and don’t play the blame game.  Someone wants credit for a job well done or for coming up with an idea that will beat out the competition.  We’re all human.

So why not take a step back?  How much time was spent researching your target market?  Are your marketing efforts in line with what they are looking for or did you make their wants fit into your box?

What if a hair care company continuously advertised a shampoo that was “specially designed for curly hair”, but the television commercial showed various women with straight hair holding the bottle.  Would you buy it?  The advertisement screams, “WE DON’T CARE ABOUT REPRESENTING YOU…WE JUST WANT YOUR MONEY!”

If a client feels like they’re an afterthought, misrepresented or disrespected, they know the power of their dollar and will gladly spend it elsewhere.

Be sensitive to your audiences’ needs.  In today’s society when many people change brands like they’re speed dating, it’s important to remember that customers are brand loyal, but not blindly loyal.  It’s time to change from being an “Attention Seeker” to becoming an “Attention Grabber”!

Aside

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

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 Mashable.com 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

The Global Creativity Gap: Methodology Concerns

Read the full study on the creativity gap, entitled “The State Of Creative” here

Continue reading