Commercial Audit of NBC Crisis (GRADE)

Promoting a brand’s social media is a popular trend in television commercials. As per the assignment, I audited the first hour of commercials for NBC’s new Sunday night drama Crisis. 

I think it is important to give a quick synopsis of the television show to gain insight into the target market. The main plot of Crisis revolves around the fact that a group of school children were abducted while traveling on a school trip. What makes these children even more significant is that a majority of these children have parents in positions of higher power such as President of the United States or an ambassador. 

NBC Crisis Promotional Photo

Image courtesy of NBC

Many of these commercials were targeted towards the working population. A popular type of commercial advertised current car sales which can include specific cars such as the Mercedes-Benz E 359 Sport Sedan, BMW 320 iSedan, Infiniti Q50 or spring sales such as the Spring into a Honda sales event, Cadillac Spring Event,Chevy Open House, or the Lincoln Luxury Uncovered event. While I have seen products and services such as Dunkin Donuts, AT&T, Mountain Dew and Revlon incorporate various social media buttons, these particular commercials did not.

Two other brands that did not use social media were medically related. The first was for prescription Celebrex-for a body in motion. This medication is for those who experience pain with two specific types of arthritis in the hopes that movement will be made easier. Given the age of the target markets, it would not make sense to push social media because it is meant for older individuals. Another over-the-counter drug Excedrin, used for headaches may not be in the social space because they may not be able to engage in meaningful conversations that relate to their product. Neither of these companies opting to forgo social media surprise me because they are also classified in a highly regulated field in accordance to U.S. Governing laws and would need to keep records of interactions with followers or Facebook fans. 

Two ads that did surprise me for not incorporating the social space was the advertisement for the newly expanded Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando and the movie Noah which hits theaters and IMAX on Friday March 28th. Both could benefit by partaking in the online interactions that will surely happen.

Wizarding World of HP

Image courtesy of author

While the previous commercials may have benefited from stating their presence on Facebook and Twitter companies like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx and Garnier may benefit more by stating their affiliation with Pintrest where followers can post pictures of their new inexpensive, yet stylish garments or unique hairstyles. 

Overall, there were a grand total of five commercials that had some reference to social media. In my personal opinion, I think this is directly related to the time slot of the show-Sundays 10 p.m. All of these brands referenced social medial at the last seconds of the commercial leaving a lasting impression upon the consumer. The following included buttons for Facebook and Twitter in the upper right hand corner: Subway, which was promoting their new flatizza, Bounty paper towels, and the NBC affiliate station, NBC 4 New York. 

I then investigated two commercials further to see if they were successful at integrating social media into traditional advertisements. One TV ad focused on the Ford Mustang as seen in the all-new movie Need for Speed. At the center of the screen was the #needforspeed sandwiched between the parental rating at the bottom of the screen and the movie title at the top. Looking at their twitter page the imaging is similar as the commercial. However I do not feel their tone in their tweets are consistent. The
commercial uses a tone of superiority and class, while their responses to fans uses humor and friendliness.

Ford Mustang Commercial Screenshot

Image courtesy of Ford

The second brand I looked at was Chili’s Bar and Grill. In the television commercial they were promoting their Southwest pairings. In the final image they show the pepper logo while verbally stating their slogan “more life happens here” underneath is #chilis. Going to their YouTube page they incorporate this theme in their recently uploaded commercials and through their cover photo, which feature their new Fresh Mex Bowls.

 

*All images are rights are reflected under each specific image

I just got certified for the HootSuite S

I just got certified for the HootSuite Social Media Dashboard http://ow.ly/uL6q6

Web Traffic Report: keds.com (Grade)

As a cumulative assignment for Marketing 3360 we are required to choose a brand to research their online marketing program including their Facebook and Twitter activity. I selected Keds, canvas shoes as my topic. Their target market is young adult females and women.

To obtain more conclusive and statistical information, I used web traffic analysis sites like compete.com that, according to their website, measure site and search analytics based on a panel of 2 million users. Another website I used www.alexa.com, a subsidiary of Amazon which provides data on browsing behavior and web traffic reporting. Lastly, I briefly used quantcast.com which on their company website states that they specialize in audience measurement and real-time advertising. In using the most basic non-paying features, Alexa seems the best but that may not be the case of a company that pays for services like Compete of Quantcast.

According to the site performance website Alexa, many of these women are college aged with 42.9% of visitors from the United States and Japan, Thailand, India, and Vietnam round out the top 5.

Because Keds does not use Quantcast data for user traffic it is estimated. The average totals site users from July 2013-January 2014 is 75,100. November into December had a huge gain in visitors a 55,535 difference computing to 153% increase from the previously steady decline (quantcast). While looking at the December to January there was a decline in visitors by 21% or by 16,710 viewers.

Compete measured the unique visitors which paints a slightly different picture. The website peaked in August 2013 with a number of 150,900 visitors and the following months was a steady decline. After reaching the lowest point number in October 2013 with 68,856 there has been a steady increase once again. January 2014 was recorded at 104,797.

This websites has other sites that link to this webpage specifically 1,130 some of these include YouTube, Yahoo and Amazon (Alexa). For those who come to this site using a search engine, the following are the top five keywords: Keds, Taylor Swift Keds, Keds shoes, ked, pro Keds (Alexa). The percent of visitors who come from a search engine are 21.90% (Alexa). Bounce rate is 35.70%. 98.61 percent of visitor go to the homepage keds.com which downloads 2.314 seconds which is considered slow with nearly 66% of websites faster (Alexa).

According to alexa.com this site is ranked as 31,791 in the United States and 90,031 worldwide. Other interesting facts include daily time on website 3:23 (Alexa). Daily page views per visitor 5.20.

Some of Keds top competitors include Zappos from a retail perspective and Converse from an individual brand. Both websites for these brands have faster loading time for their pages, stating that other sites are either 81% or 57% slower, respectively (Alexa). Because Zappos is an international brand, they have more visitors, which makes them a higher globally ranked brand as well as listed in the top 300 brands in the United States. Since Converse sells shoes and other apparel, this makes them a leading competitor to Keds. I, then, decided to view their overall page views according to Quantcast converse.com leads keds.com by nearly 20,000 viewers for January 2014.

Listed below are the websites I used to completet his blog post:

https://siteanalytics.compete.com/keds.com/#.Uw018afC03w.email

(www.quantcast.com/keds.com)

(www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ked.com)

My Red Tour Keds with limited edition laces

My Red Tour Keds with limited edition laces

Idols, the Celebrities We Love to Hate

Everyone has their idols in life such as their mother, father, or grandparent. But as our world become more and more socialized, celebrities are becoming popular figures we try to emulate. Though it’s easy to forget, let’s remember one thing: Celebrities are real people too. While I may not necessarily agree with the values of some artists like Miley Cyrus, she could be an anchor in someone else’s life, and good for them!

I’ve had a few idols while growing up. The first celeb I identified with was Hilary Duff because of her awkward moments in her hit Disney TV show and passion for singing in later episodes as well as The Lizzie McGuire Movie. When her career starting going towards motherhood, I began to follow Amy Lee, the singer from the punk/rock band Evanescence. While she has great vocals, she sang a bit on the darker side and about events that was above the emotional state of my then, 13-year-old self.

But by the age of 15, I heard this young country artist, who to-date has had all four of her albums be certified at least quadruple platinum. Taylor Swift has a legion of fans throughout the world and I am one of many to be a proud Swiftie.

At the age of 15, I was just starting to get into relationships and little did I know that her lyrics would comfort me as I grew as a person. I often jest that every time a new album from her drops, I break up with my current significant other. While that may be true, I also know that in addition to the support from my family, I have these beautiful lyrics as my constant companion. I used to never be able to describe my emotions through these point of my life, but with Taylor all i need to do is sing words that were written almost as if she saw everything that was happening in my life in real-time.

It also made me realize that these feelings are natural and there is nothing wrong to embrace the pain when someone “calls you up again to break [you] like a promise.” Sometimes the best thing to do is grieve, not for eternity, long enough to remember a little too well the love that was once there.  Even if things have broke and burned in the past, healing is possible as things do  begin again. And that is probably one of the best lessons my idol has taught me.

Image

 

Photo curtsey of author

*Lyric quotes from Taylor Swift’s 2012 studio album RED specifically All Too Well and Begin Again.

 

Forrester’s Criteria for Website Usability (Grade)

Disclaimer: the following assessment of a website is per the assignment for FDU MKTG 3360.

Websites are like my favorite tea, Twinings; they come in almost every flavor imaginable. Some may be a site like Facebook or Twitter where one goes on everyday to escape reality or to do one’s taxes. Just as some of these may not be your cup of tea (pun intended) there is a degree of how user friendly some websites may be designed.

By looking at the landing page of njtransit.com, it is clear that the purpose of the website is to act as an information source to its primary consumer, commuters. Most of the necessary content is readily available on the landing page including a trip planner in the left hand corner where one can type a departure station to an arrival station using bus, rail or light rail. Important News and Popular Destinations are listed on the right hand side of the webpage. The middle of the page is dedicated to revolving images highlighting special features of the system including student passes, Wi-Fi at select stations, and MyTix, a new electronic ticket available for smartphones. One important element that the lead capture page is lacking is differentiating which of the eight NJ Transit train lines one should ride based on the region.

While looking at the navigation tabs under the NJ transit logo, the category names are mutually exclusive but may not be classified logically. This is the section where a customer can find a map but it is listed as the third to last category where it might be most beneficial to list first. One of the most confusing tabs is the “alerts and advisories” because of the similar subcategory names: current travel alerts, customer notices and my transit alerts.

The entire website was created in a logical pattern starting from when an individual hovers over a tab to open a drop-down menu which leads to the next category and one may click on certain words to have a bullet point fully explained. Since the trains can be used to get to some highly commercialized places in the city, there are links to deals and discounted places including NJPAC, the Intrepid and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. In some cases, even though the font for the links may be small and easy to miss, they redirected me to the proper site. In addition, the keyword-based searches seem accurate so much so that if you type a specific destination, results include different service transportation and station info.

For days when there is anticipation of delays, they will have a red banner to alert commuters of delays or system wide cross-honoring. For these and other messages, NJ Transit uses language that is easy to understand which is made simpler with the use of a non-sans serif font in their drop down tabs. However, the text that accompanied the pictures in the center of the page can be slightly difficult to read from the actual font used to specific shadow effects. Certain pages have better spacing than others. For example, the “travel alerts & advisories” lends its self to easy scanning. Other pages such as the “accessible rail” has expanded text that may be harder to read on a screen versus a piece of paper but I think all the information is necessary it just might be better from a visual perspective if condensed.

NJ Transit use interactive features to display electronic versions of maps in the form of fully functional PDF files similar to the printed maps at the stations. They also use pictures of the various transportation units, such as the light rail, that matches with that particular text. The website does not use consistent text throughout but their is easy hand-eye coordination to complete any necessary function.

Site add-ons like Quik-Tik, which delivers your monthly commuter pass to your door, this requires a sign-in but directly above this box is an indication to a secure server. If one gets lost they can make use of a “breadcrumb  bar” located at the top of the page or by clicking on the tabs that are always across the top of the screen. When clicking contact us they list phone numbers to speak with a member of the organization. This seems to be the preferred method of communication for services like lost and found as well as trip planning. They only list one email and that is for the reduced fare office but there is also a phone number provided. An online feedback form is available for those who wish to register any additional complaints, suggestions or requests for information. From a reliability standpoint, the site has never crashed in my nine months of consistent use of it.

While their desktop version has room for improvement, conversely the mobile version of their site is easy to maneuver. For example, at the top of the mobile version, they will post any service alerts/ advisories. Lastly, they have a function called DepartureVision where you can see real-time station platform postings.

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Mascots

I wanted to have my first blog post not be related to my marketing class but rather a topic that is relevant to many who watch prime time tv on NBC—the Olympics. After attending the summer games in London, there is nothing that ever really compares. It was there I became aware of Olympic mascots.

Though some call Wenlock and Mandevile avant garde creations, I view them as cute pieces of metal. I will admit my view is biased after seeing the massive Olympic stadium from which they supposedly created.

As the winter Olympic began last night at Sochi, I had my first opportunity to see the 2014 Mascots. Not only are they actual animals, but they are extremely cute with a unique story. Though some may seem the mascots as a marketing ploy to sell more merchandise at the games, I view them as a gateway for younger children to gain interest in the world’s most competitive games. And as a sign of changing times, the Sochi mascots not only have their own Facebook page, but you can also follow them on twitter @Sochi2014OM just another sign of how prevalent social media is becoming not only in American society but also in the world.

Photo originally from Russian Post

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