Month: February 2012

19. Monday Inspiration

To get me in the mood for Week 8, here are some great quotes I found on Pinterest. Let’s do this!


18. Get Chucked

This term, I have been extremely lucky to hear various intelligent speakers who are very influential throughout the idea industry. From hearing Scott Bedbury speak to our Creative Strategist class to Skyping recent UO graduate and current New Yorker Kelly Meyers, hearing their stories and thoughts on the industry has been incredibly inspiring.

Last week in my marketing class, I was blown away when David Maddocks, previous Chief Marketing Officer of Converse talked to us about how he did a complete 180 with the company, taking it from an old, irrelevant company to rebranding it at “The First School” and reincarnating it to be one of the biggest pop culture icons today.

Converse had been around for almost 100 years and needed a breath of fresh air to become relevant again. To do so, Maddocks stressed the importance that we are defined by who we are rather than what we do and that Converse is all about being an original. Unlike Nike, Converse appealed to all different kinds of audiences; music, arts, sports, fashion – you name it. To truly enforce this, it was important they did not focus on marketing towards a specific group, but rather towards everyone.

Maddocks referred to the shoes as “$40 of cool all day long” and “T-shirts for the feet” which really resonated with me. Converse are worn by a wide range of people, from The Ramones to Wiz Khalifa to the kid sitting next to me at the library right now. You can dress them up or down, but no matter what, one is able to put your their spin on the basic sneaker, which is what makes is so desirable to people from all walks of life.

In order to cultivate the brand, Maddocks told us they had to “inspire, invent, believe, explore & respect”. He created the 2006 “Get Chucked” campaign as well as “The First School” ads, that featured rapper Mos Def reading a poem while a basketball dribbles and flies around the court with no player visible behind it. They both appeal to such different audiences, but completely resonate with the consumer. And they both inspire originality.

What Maddocks did to really put Converse back on the map was truly encouraging consumer generated content. Fans made their own commercials for the shoe, conveying what the shoes really meant to them and how they played a part in their lifestyle. There were about 30 ads that aired on MTV constantly. One of my favorites was this one:

It was truly made by a group of teenagers who got together and said “Hey – let’s make a commercial of what Converse means to us.” It captures such a real moment that I don’t think a bunch of studio executives could recreate.

Probably the most influential campaign Maddocks worked with was the RED campaign. With Bono as it’s spokesperson, companies like Apple and the Gap were involved as well, creating red products to help fund AIDS relief in Africa. Instead of creating the obvious red products, Converse created limited edition sneakers that were made with authentic African cloth that has significant meaning to thousands of Africans.

I truly loved hearing from David Maddocks. I think he really represents what we have been talking about in Creative Strat all term; staying true to your brand and not forcing it to be something its not. Converse is definitely a brand we can look to when studying brand integrity. They don’t try to be something they are not and always hold true to their values. They inspire consumers to be original and are truly more than just a shoe – Converse is a lifestyle.

17. Academy Awards 2012

Last night marked the 84th Annual Academy Awards, where the years finest in cinema were honored for their achievements. The past few years, the telecast has been increasingly ‘vanilla’, so I had low expectations for this years celebrations. However, this year I was pleasantly surprised – especially with the fashion. Let’s recall this years most memorable Red Carpet Oscar moments.

The Red Carpet

The Red Carpet at the Academy Awards is one of the top couture events of the year. We expect the celebrities to flock to the cameras wearing the years hottest styles and for the most part, they did not disappoint.

One of the carpet’s most stylish was Gwyneth Paltrow, rocking a white dress and cape from Tom Ford’s 2012 collection. The simplicity of the dress matched with the long cape was perfection. All of my social media platforms were blowing up with commentary on Paltrow’s unconventional look. The simple hair and jewelry were chic and tied the look together. Gwyneth referred to her dress as her “Jackie O moment“.  

Another Red Carpet hit was “The Help” star Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen. The intricate gold details on the dark dress went perfectly with her flawless fair skin and red hair. It also didn’t hurt that she was wearing $2 million worth of Harry Winston jewelry. She looks like a golden goddess. This was most definitely my favorite look of the night.

And now this brings us to arguably the biggest breakout star of the night…

Angelina Jolie’s Right Leg

Looking rail thin and a tad chicken-esque, Angelina Jolie’s leg was arguably the most talked about ahem – star – of the night. While her black velvet Atelier Versace dress was gorgeous, the leg upstaged the rest of the look.

The leg was so prominent a Twitter page was promptly created – just for the leg – and already has over 18,000 followers. It’s latest tweet reads, “Left leg and I talked — everything’s cool. Next Oscars, she gets the slit.” And then this picture surfaced:

While there were plenty of Oscar winners last evening (I was very happy with Octavia Spencer’s win for “The Help”), it seems as though social media was the biggest hit of the night. There was approximately 3.8 million comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, the second-most talked about television event after the Grammys. Online discussions were up 300% from last year’s show.

Of course, honoring the industries finest is what Oscar night is truly all about. However, I think its safe to say we can thank Gwen’s cape and Angie’s leg for the amazing spikes in social media commentary this year.

16. Sacha Baron Cohen: Funny or Not?

We all remember back in 2006 when funny man Sacha Baron Cohen introduced us to Borat, a politically incorrect Kazakhstanian tourist on the hunt for the love of his life, Pamela Anderson. Basically, Borat drives across America wreaking havoc on and embarrassing the unknowing victims he comes across. There are many crude situations throughout the ‘mockumentary’, from nude scenes to blatant racism and sexism. Although it was highly offensive, Americans ate the film up. Cohen even won the Golden Globe for Best Actor: Musical or Comedy. So we got a good laugh out of the public humiliation and over-the-top character and hoped to never hear from Borat again.

Fast forward 3 years later and Cohen was back, this time as a gay Austrian fashionista by the name of Bruno. Blatantly mocking the gay lifestyle, the premise of the movie is almost exactly the same as Borat. Shunned from the fashion world, Bruno travels to the United States with the dreams of becoming famous. Again, Cohen vies for laughs through inappropriate behavior at the expense of other’s dignity. Okay, we get it. Bruno comes and goes and we breathe a sigh of relief that hopefully Cohen’s act is over.

That is, until today when a new character made an appearance at the 84th Annual Academy Awards red carpet. His newest character, General Aladeen from his upcoming movie titled “The Dictator” arrived on the carpet in full dictator garb, accompanied by two women clad in military attire. He claimed to be holding an urn full of the ashes of Kim Jong Il. While being interviewed by E! News correspondent Ryan Seacrest, Cohen proceeded to “accidentally” spill the ashes of the late dictator all over the front of Seacrest’s expensive Burberry tuxedo. A clearly shocked Seacrest tried to laugh off the incident while ‘General Aladeen’ was escorted away.

I get that Sacha Baron Cohen has had previous success with his whole shtick. Put on an accent, outrageous costume, humiliate a few people at the expense of a few laughs, and BOOM – a hit movie. However, disrespecting one of the industries most prestigious hosts and interviewers at the biggest award show that honors the years best in film is shamelessly tacky and in my opinion – not funny. For a trend that started more than six years ago, you would think that a comedian would be able to think of new, less insolent ways to make us laugh. I get that the Sacha Baron Cohen brand likes to stick with what worked for them in the past, but these days I think it is time to start being more creative and less offensive.


15. M.A.C & Marilyn

The popular makeup brand M.A.C is known for their brightly colored and sometimes kooky collections that are usually accompanied with vibrant, out-of-the-box print ads. The makeup giant frequently collaborates with celebrities and releases collections inspired by their looks or personalities. From Nicki Minaj to The Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto, a wide range of public figures have been featured with M.A.C.

The cosmetics brand just announced they will be releasing a new line – this time inspired by one of the world’s most famous sex symbols; Marilyn Monroe. The line will have pieces including lipstick, eyeshadow, nail polish and eyeliner.

The Marilyn Monroe brand already has such a loyal following, especially younger audiences who weren’t even alive when she was. Her legacy has left such a lasting impression on our society that Marilyn fans will most definitely rush to stores to emulate the Hollywood icon’s lasting style. Although she passed away almost 50 years ago, she is regarded as an icon by so many because of her style, sex appeal, attitude and overall glamorous demeanor.

Last year, the rights to Monroe’s name were bought by Authentic Brands Group LLC.

It will be interesting to see how M.A.C executes the campaign. The Marilyn Monroe “thing” is on the brink of being overdone (maybe Lindsay Lohan’s open obsession has something to do with that) so it will be interesting to see what M.A.C does to expand the brand.

13. Empire State of Mind

Earlier this week, I was offered the position of a summer intern with Socially Bella of Bella Public Relations in NEW YORK CITY!! It is located just 3 blocks from Times Square – talk about being in the center of things.

As a social media intern, I will be attending events, creating content, using Photoshop and blogging.

It has always been a dream of mine to live in the Big Apple. And I won’t lie, PR first sparked my interest when I started watching Sex and the City and was intrigued by Samantha Jones’ whirlwind career. I know that the show is exaggerated, but seeing Samantha do publicity and plan events all while wearing fabulous outfits and enjoying NYC nightlife – how could you not want a  life like that??

I’m nervous to live in the big city alone – I have lived in Oregon my whole life with the comforts of home just two hours away when I am at school. I feel like I need this experience to not only gain independence but to start building my professional career and making a name for myself in the fast paced world of Public Relations.

I would love to move back East after I graduate next June. I plan on making positive connections and gaining valuable PR experience all while enjoying living in the city that never sleeps.