Why are This Year’s Back-to-School Ads all the Same? Blame 90s Nostalgia!
It doesn’t take much to get me excited about back-to-school season. Though I graduated years ago, there’s something magical about office supply stores this time of year. The smell of graphite, rubber pencil toppers and dry erase markers takes me back to the years I spent sitting on molded plastic chairs, writing my name over and over in Elmer’s Glue.
The first day of school is fraught with a heady mixture of anticipation and anxiety, which makes a perfect recipe for creative exploration. So why are all of this season’s back-to-school commercials pretty much the same?
Can You Steal Me Now? Brand Appropriation at its Best
What do Khloe Kardashian’s Bantu knots and Oberlin College’s sushi menu have in common? You might not see the connection at first glance, but many would argue they’re both examples of cultural appropriation.
In the last year, accusations of appropriation have spawned countless think pieces and heated debates. While cultural appropriation is defined as one culture adopting elements of another, controversies ensue when a group in power exploits a disempowered culture for profit. This is why Ratatouille is rarely considered an assault on French values, but Coldplay’s recent romp through India has raised more than a few eyebrows.
Cultural appropriation is almost never okay, but what about creative appropriation? It can be found in every realm of human expression, especially advertising. It’s how the Budweiser frogs gave way to the Geico Gecko and the Michelin Man begot Kool-Aid Man. But what happens when one company appropriates a competitor’s entire branding strategy, right down to its spokesman?
Dog-Friendly Offices: 40,000 Years in the Making
From Ping Pong tables to ball pits to closets full of LaCroix, no industries are more envied for their office perks than advertising, marketing, and tech. But there is one perk that is more coveted than them all: office dogs.
At companies like Amazon, Mashable, and Google, office dogs are redefining what it means to be a “working breed.” A quick Google search will tell you it’s because dogs in the workplace increase employee happiness and retention. They ease our stress, encourage us to take breaks, and boost our creativity. These are all fine reasons to explain why dog-friendly offices are becoming more popular, especially among creative industries. But I suspect the real reason we love office dogs is much deeper.
That’s why, in honor of National Dog Day, I’m digging deep into the connection between canines and creatives.
Celebrating the Launch of “Creative Direction in a Digital World”
Some battles are fought on the battlefield. Others are fought on a Word document.
Ok, not really, but look — writing a book is hard. Like, really hard. So it’s only natural that when our co-founder, Adam Harrell, finished his first published book, we celebrated in true Nebo style with good drinks, good food, and darn good people.
The Misunderstood Battle of Data Privacy and Digital Marketing
It’s no secret that we have a vast amount of information at our fingertips. Marketers can craft detailed campaigns all without conducting a single customer interview (I don’t suggest doing it, but hey, it can happen).
As a marketer, I think it’s pretty neat. I geek out whenever Google Analytics gives me another way to learn more about a target audience. It only makes my content that much better.
And as a “digital native” consumer, I don’t really think about it much. I don’t surf the web and freak about the information I’m giving. As long as you don’t ask for my social or credit card number at random, I’m pretty much good.
Then I stumbled upon this read from Inbound. Essentially, it’s a bit of a “the sky is falling” to marketers who are obsessed with data (AKA all of us). It’s also bound to give you the heebie jeebies in that little “consumer” part of your brain that thinks, “Wait. Are marketers really that creepy?”
No, we’re not. At least, we shouldn’t be.
How Marketers Misuse Data
This summer, I ran the Peachtree Road Race 10k in 1:03:55.
Some of you may think I am an occasional runner. Others, that I was just doing the race for fun without concern for time. But what conclusions can you actually draw from this?
None — because you didn’t know about external factors. You didn’t know that I started in Wave U and had to weave through crowds of walkers. You didn’t know that it was 95 degrees already when the race started at 9 a.m., and that the humidity warning was high. You didn’t know I had taken an energy gel right before the race, skipped the beer at the Mellow Mushroom tent, and seriously needed new running shoes. You didn’t know I ran a marathon a year ago in 3:55:46.
You didn’t know any of this information. So with only one piece of data — my race time — you actually don’t get a full picture of my race or my capabilities.