Daina’s Blog

…the thoughts of a modern day marketing student

Speaking of junk food… November 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — dkazmaier @ 6:39 pm
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710cornsyrupOkay, I’m still ranting about the ethics of marketing junk food to youngsters. This practice truly bothers me, and I can honestly say that I would never work for a company and/or product that I do not believe in. That said, have you all seen the television spots regarding the “goodness” of high fructose corn syrup? They drive me insane.

Being a nutrition buff and a high-raw vegan, every little misconception about the health factor of high fructose corn syrup bugs me. According to the Web site, www.sweetsurprse.com, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted high fructose corn syrup “Generally Recognized as Safe” status for use in food, and reaffirmed that ruling in 1996 after thorough review” (Sweetsurprise.com, n.d.). Does this sound convincing? Let’s take a look at the marketing tactics that are used in the campaign. First – the commercials. You can view the ads here: http://www.sweetsurprise.com/seeourads.php

Each of the ads feature a skeptical person that seems to assume that corn syrup is bad but cannot state why. The print ads mirror the television spots. All in all, I have to say that the marketing campaign is rather well thought out, and this upsets me even further. The marketing pros that worked on this campaign definitely knew how to resonate with the audience, as most people are not well educated when it comes to nutrition. They see and hear ads, and they believe them. According to the press kit on the Web site, this specific campaign is geared toward consumers aged 25 and older, particularly moms. As for the ethical side, the ads do urge moderation in consumption.

There’s an article on MSNBC from the Associated Press that I found to be interesting and informative regarding this marketing campaign and the falsities of it. “In 2006, the Sugar Association petitioned the FDA to clarify the definition of “natural,” complaining that its use in describing high-fructose corn syrup was misleading because corn’s original chemical state is altered significantly during processing into syrup” (2008). Unethical marketing tactics mislead consumers and in this case, it is a very dangerous practice because it deals directly with health. The healthcare industry will certainly benefit from this campaign paid for by corn farmers, but that’s about it.

To each his own, but don’t believe everything that you see or hear.

SweetSurpise.com (n.d.) Referenced November 16, 2008.

“Ads aimed at sweetening corn syrup’s image”. (2008). Referenced November 16, 2008. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26648177/


Ban the TV!

Filed under: Uncategorized — dkazmaier @ 5:37 pm
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Marketing to children often walks a fine line as far as ethics are concerned, as youngsters are impressionable and their minds are easily molded. However, the market for children is expanding on a near daily basis, as the younger generations hold plenty of influence over the purchasing powers in the household. Television commercials are one of the main ways that marketing professionals connect to children; messages are seen over and over and eventually a child asks the parent to purchase an item that was seen on TV.

It’s important to children to keep up with their peers and today’s marketing tactics have added pressure to the younger generations to keep up with the times in order to appear ‘cool’. According to an article titled “Advertising to children: Is it ethical?” posted on the Monitor on Psychology Web site, the result of marketing to children “is not only an epidemic of materialistic values among children, but also something [psychologist Allen D. Kanner, PhD] calls ‘narcissistic wounding’ of children. Thanks to advertising, he says, children have become convinced that they’re inferior if they don’t have an endless array of new products” (Clay, 2000).

Since marketing professionals are partially responsible for the molding of children’s minds, how important is it for us to practice strong ethics? Promoting items like Bratz Dolls

Combining sex & junk food... dangerous?
Combining sex & junk food… dangerous?

 or the WWE to the younger generations makes one wonder just HOW much influence we, as marketing professionals, have over the upbringing of children and how they shape into adults. It depends on how the whole picture is portrayed; how the product is presented. The marketing professional needs to understand the consequences of introducing such items into a child’s life and needs to take responsibility for what the child learns and feels.

What about junk food? Isn’t it a contradiction marketing such products as sugary cereals and fast food to children but also reminding them to exercise? I am personally appalled by these practices and think such companies should understand that they are literally brainwashing children into eating such products and therefore, becoming addicted to the food. Yes, it is a parent’s responsibility to ultimately decide what their children should consume, but it’s nearly impossible to overcome the subliminal messages found in the media. Parents should NOT use fast food (or food of any type) as a reward for good behavior, because this teaches children to associate food with emotion. Back to the topic on hand, I believe that each of us should take responsibility for the morals we induce on the younger generations. It’s a no-win situation out there as we speak, but as individuals, we can make some changes for the better.

Clay, Rebecca. (2000). “Advertising to children: Is it ethical?” Retrieved November 15, 2008. http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep00/advertising.html


I am the Company Spy… November 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — dkazmaier @ 3:57 pm
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Well not technically, but I do like to “stalk” out other publications that compete with my magazine. Fishing is a huge industry in Maryland and all along the East Coast, so there are several outlets for advertisers to turn to. One of the blogs I enjoy checking out from time to time is the East Coast Angler, although it hasn’t been updated since early September. Unfortunately, this causes a lack of interest, so hopefully the author of this blog will update their site soon. Tidal Fish is another good one for news updates and various types of information.

Being biased, my publication, Coastal Fisherman, is top-notch and is garnering more and more interest from a variety of advertisers. We’re a small operation – just two of us in the office – so it’s plenty of work but it’s a passion. It is important to know what the competition is doing and to stay one step ahead of them if possible.

The majority of companies are solely print and they charge a fee for their publications. My mag is free and is going to a video format as well on the Web – this is a new addition this year and is in the infant stages as we speak. We will be recording video segments regarding fishing and everything that has to do with it. Advertisers are already interested via word of mouth, so this should be an exciting project for us. Onward and upward!

Back to the topic on hand, is it ethical to use blogs to gather information from competitors? In my opinion, the information is out there free for the taking, so why not? I found an interesting piece on the legal aspects of lifting information from blogs called “Ethical Considerations for Blog-Related Discovery” written by Jason Boulette and Tanya DeMent. Apparently, discoveries made in blogs can be used in litigations so people should be wary of what they post. “Some examples of potential uses of blogs for informal discovery purposes include monitoring an opposing party’s blog for useful tidbits of information” (Boulette, DeMent 2008).

Here’s an interesting article regarding journalists using blogs for material: “New Media and Blogging for Influence with Journalists” (Odden, 2008) states that:

• Over three quarters of reporters see blogs as helpful in giving them story ideas, story angles and insight into the tone of an issue

• Nearly 70 percent of all reporters check a blog list on a regular basis

• One in four reporters (27.7%) have their own blogs

• About one in five (16.3%) have their own social networking page

• Almost half of reporters (47.5%) say they are “lurkers”

• Over half said that blogs were having a significant impact on the “tone” (61.8%) and “editorial direction” (51.1%) of news reporting

Obviously, blogging is a great way to gather information as long as it is credible. All in all, I think it is an ethical practice as long as the information is used with good conscience.

Odden, Lee. (2008). “New Media and Blogging for Influence with Journalists” Referenced November 5, 2008. http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/01/new-media-and-blogging-for-influence-with-journalists/







Why Blogging is Like Free Advertising November 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — dkazmaier @ 7:28 pm
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Picture this: you’re a new business owner with a small budget but you want to get the word out to current and potential customers. You’re not sure how to create a Web site, but you want your presence to be known on the Internet. What do you do? Start a blog!

A blog is an incredibly easy way to air your ideas without having to know HTML or other programs to create a Web site. Blogs are also great because you can directly connect with your targeted audience; it’s almost like having a conversation with them. Blogs can also be updated several times a day and include photos and links along with contact information or any other item that is deemed important.

According to an article on Independent Street, there are some guidelines that small business should use when taking part in social networking sites and blogs. A business should create a professional looking profile that lists all pertinent information along with photographs and an attractive layout. Make it relatable to the reader. Also, personality adds flavor to the page. “Your “About Me” [section] shouldn’t be just dry facts about your business. Make sure you add some personal touches. Humor often helps” (Spors, 2008). Also, using too much hype could be a downfall. “Using social media shouldn’t be about blatantly selling a business. It’s about making connections and creating credibility so that people will like you and trust you and eventually want to buy from you” (Spors, 2008). This is such an important point – you want to establish a solid relationship with your audience so the trust factor develops. Also, new content that is constantly updated is essential in holding the interest of your audience. Write from the heart – make it passionate – if you believe in something, then that feeling will translate to your audience.

Think about it – you can create your presence on the Web without spending a dime – all it takes is time and passion. Be original, be creative, and just write!

Spors, Kelly. 2008. Referenced November 5, 2008. http://blogs.wsj.com/independentstreet/2008/08/21/social-networking-common-mistakes-small-businesses-make/


I am Infatuated with Electronic Ink!

Filed under: Uncategorized — dkazmaier @ 6:38 pm
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The first Esquire cover, 1933. They've come a long way!

The first Esquire cover, 1933.

After first discovering electronic ink through a classmate’s posting, I was so impressed with the idea I had to find out more. It seems as if this method of eye-catching advertising is not yet cost-effective, but with some work, it could very well be in the future. Esquire magazine used the technology in their recent 75th anniversary edition, and definitely caught the attention of the audience.


Displays may use this technology – which can be solar powered (bonus) – to catch the eyes of consumers. Flash and flair usually works, and in this case it may be no different. Picture a display that includes video images and sound right in the grocery store! That would certainly catch my eye and entice me to check out the product.

According to the Esquire Web site, the electronic ink cover took more than a year to develop. The covers were hand-assembled and then shipped to several different locations for finishing. As I mentioned above, this method of marketing is not yet cost-effective but I think it may be accessible in the future.

This technology mimics the appearance of regular ink on paper but the images change and move as a video would. However, e-paper – the substance that the electronic ink is displayed on – seems to lack strong color reproduction.

Electronic billboards are another technology that is catching on. These flashy items that line highways are certainly intriguing; I know whenever I drive passed one I have to look. The electronic billboards may be dangerous to drivers, but states are passing ordinances regarding safety rules. It seems to me that electronic advertising is the way of the future, and the quality will continue to improve.



Out with the old!

Filed under: Uncategorized — dkazmaier @ 6:08 pm
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Media is constantly changing, and as marketing professionals, we need to embrace that fact in order to survive professionally. As mentioned in this week’s postings, one medium that has seen recent evolutions is radio – broadcasting in general has changed drastically, and continues to change as we speak.

Remember when Howard Stern was on public radio and they had to use a delay to bleep out all of the inappropriate things that were always said on every show? How inconvenient. With the development of Sirius Radio, a service that people had to subscribe to, the ‘bleeping’ was no longer necessary and listeners could enjoy the full effect of the show. With this though, came less commercial time. Since people subscribed to support the service, the need for paid advertisers diminished. I’ve also noticed that more and more low-budget radio stations with fewer advertisers are popping up; in Philadelphia, 104.5 FM focuses more on the music and much less on the advertising, throwing in one-liners here and there about their sponsors. When the station first began, they did not even have DJ’s speaking – they just played music. I noticed that their Web site is also focused on music alone; the advertising is limited to five small boxes on the bottom of the homepage.

Going back to advertising mediums, radio is not always the best method since consumers are more likely to be visual people. A print or television advertisement tends to have more success than a broadcast one. Spoken by Confucius, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Humans tend to be visual creatures, believing what they see rather than what they hear. As written by a classmate in a weekly posting, “Visual mediums have the potential of offering more impressions so the need to advertise as heavily is not as great.” I agree with this statement, as visual aspects tend to stay in the mind longer than verbal ones.

So what is the future of radio advertisement? With the new services offered that boast “commercial free music”, I don’t foresee the market for broadcast advertising growing. Perhaps companies can turn to other mediums to get their messages across. Radio will be around for quite a while, in my opinion, but it will continue to evolve and grow into a novelty that people want to listen to on demand; they do not want to sit through three minutes of commercials in hopes that their favorite new song will come on. They want to hear that song immediately without the fuss.