Audio Elements in Advertising

Usually when we think of television commercials, we mostly think of the visual element associated with it. Commercials are something that occur during television programs. We see them and understand the meaning or the message behind them. But what if we took that visual element away? Would we still be able to recognize the ad or know what it is talking about? There are many commercials and ad campaigns that once we hear a certain voice, sound, or music we associate it with that brand. One ad campaign that has become really popular is the E*Trade baby. This baby has become iconic because it is unique and also comical. What people recognize the most about this baby is his voice. E*Trade has cone a series of advertisements with this baby. Now by just hearing the baby’s voice, we know the ad is for E*Trade. If you can just listen to the commercial without seeing it and know what it is going to advertise, then that commercial has done its job.

Another series of commercials that uses audio well is Corona ads. None of their ad have any voice overs. All you hear is the sound of the ocean and you know instantly its Corona. Corona wants to give off a peaceful vibe. The company wants people to associate relaxation and a day at the beach with Corona. The company does a great job with their ads. The have other audio elements in the ads based on the subject matter, but the beach sounds are always the same. Consistency is also important when wanting to achieve brand recognition.

Lastly, Allstate has done a great job with their “Mayhem” campaign. They have a series of commercials that portray different situations in which you would need insurance. The “Mayhem Man” appear in every video as different scenarios. The first thing anyone hears in their ad is the open line “I’m your GPS”, “I’m a raccoon”, etc… It has become so recognizable that people instantly know its the Mayhem man talking about getting covered by Allstate. The commercials have valid points about real life scenarios but they are depicted in a comical way.

What Makes an Image Iconic?

A picture is worth a 1000 words.

But why? What makes an image iconic? I believe that it is when an image make you speechless. When an image has a powerful enough impact on the viewer that they have nothing else to say but “wow”, then that image is noteworthy.

Iconic photos are photos that capture a major event in history or intense emotion. One image that specifically comes to mind when I think about iconic images from the past year, I am reminded of the image of the Situation Room when soldiers were being sent in after Osama Bin Laden last April. This image appeared all over the internet as well as in newspapers the day after Bin Laden was assassinated. The image truly capture the emotions and uncertainty that everyone in that room felt as they were waiting to see the results of the mission. I couldn’t image what it must have been like it that room that day. This image gives America a sense of what that must have been like.

Anther image that comes to mind is the image of the Twin Towers memorial on the ten year anniversary on September 11, 2011. This image makes me pause and reflect on the events of that day. I still can’t believe its been over 10 years since the towers fell. The light projecting up from the memorial is a tribute to those who lost their lives that day. This image shows that while the towers are gone, we still remember the events of that day. Events that we won’t soon forget.

Finding Housing At Elon

After being a student at Elon for the past five years, I have learned a little about where to live in the area. Elon offers a lot of housing for undergraduate students, but not for students at the graduate level. We have to fend for ourselves when it comes to finding housing. Luckily, there are a lot of affordable options close to campus.

Walking or Driving Distance
One thing to consider when looking for apartments is how close to campus you would like to be. There are options in the town of Elon that are within a 10-30 minute walk to campus. All the apartment complexes offer bike racks if you own a bike or decide to rent one from Campus Rec. The Elon University Bio Bus also runs to all of the complexes and drops students off at various locations around campus. This bus runs every 20 minutes and the website lets you track where the buses are to ensure you get to class on time. It is a great option for those who live a good distance from campus but do not want to purchase a parking pass. Parking passes are $160 for the year and students can only park in designated parking lots. For those living within Elon town limits, you may as well take the bio bus because you will have to park in the farthest parking lot anyway. Only students with a designated “commuter” pass who live outside Elon town limits can park in the Moseley Center parking lot.

Most of the Elon apartments are 2-4 bedroom apartments that range from $399-$465 per month, including utilities. This price is per bedroom. The majority of these apartments are rented through B.C. Parker Real Estate or Freeman & Company. These companies rent through the school year and move in dates are usually either June 1st or July 1st. This is ideal because the iMedia summer workshop begins in late July.

Partner’s Place Apartments, Elon, NC

Apartments in the Burlington area that have 1-3 bedrooms range from $655-$1330 per month. While these complexes are farther from campus, they are newer units that include some, but not all utilities and have amenities like outdoor pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, and clubhouses. Some of these complexes are pet friendly, where as very few Elon apartment complexes allow pets. So if you plan on bringing Spot or Fido with you, you probably want to look farther from campus.

Living with Undergrads or Not
As graduate students, a good amount of us are most likely coming directly from undergrad. This means that you will most likely need roommates because it is too expensive to afford on your own. This brings up the looming question of who to live with. Elon offers E-Net that has a section kind of like “Craigs List” for Elon. On E-Net, you can find want ads for roommates from Elon students. There is one downside to using E-Net. Most likely these posts are from undergrads.

Since you are in the iMedia program, you probably won’t be participating in the Thursday night bar outings or the weekend keggers. However, if you know where to look and are willing to be open and up front with the people you are contacting, you can find a great living situation with undergrads. I am currently living with two undergraduates that I found on E-Net and things have worked out great. Another option is to search on Facebook for other people doing this program. Most likely, they are looking for roommates too.

While searching for housing can be daunting, Elon provides a lot of great sources to help make this process a lot less stressful. Luckily, there are many affordable options in the area and the renting process if pretty painless overall. This program is rigorous and stressful enough, so finding housing shouldn’t be!

Writing for the Web

When I go online to read an article, the one that catches my eye is the one that is short, has photos, includes hyperlinks, and is also broken up into sections that make it easier to read. Another thing that I notice is whether or not the article is easy to find. If I have to continue clicking through to find an article, I will most likely give up and turn to something else. When writing for the web, writers need to consider SEO. This is not something they needed to thing about before when writing for newspapers, magazines, etc…SEO is search engine optimization. By making sure to include certain key words or phrases within the article, writers can ensure that the article will appear on a Google search. This makes the article easy to find and accessible.

I personally love reading USA Today online instead of the New York Times because it is more colorful and the articles include more photos and videos than NY Times articles do. NY Times follows its newspaper layout in that it is mostly black and white and includes a lot of material on the homepage. This works for the New York Time, however, because it matches the image they are trying to portray. Still, as a creative, I enjoy reading USA Today’s colorful, eye catching articles instead.

Also, online articles can provide more interactivity for the viewer that can provide more information and make the article more interesting than a standard print article. This takes web writing to an entirely new level. You are not only reading the article, but you are immersed in it.

Going Viral

With our lives revolving more and more around the Internet as well as the development of video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo, the everyday video that we capture could become viral through Internet sharing. Now, it is not easy for a video to go viral with the vast amount of videos on the Internet today, but those that do rise to the top spread like wildfire.

When thinking of the term “viral video” the first thing that comes to mind is the “Charlie Bit Me” video. This video was posted on YouTube in 2009 and instantly became a hit. I am sure that the parents who posted this never dreamed a home video of their two sons would be shown all over the world. This main element that made this video go viral was that it was funny. It depicts two children sitting together on a couch and the older brother pointing out that his younger brother, Charlie, had bit him. However, the older brother continues to put his finger near the baby’s mouth, instigating another biting of his finger. The fact that the kids are adorable, they are young and that they are British makes this video funny. The fact that the kids have an accent I think adds to the comedy/cuteness. Today, that video has over 12 million hits.

Another viral video that popped on the scene a few years ago was from a famous band called OK GO. Music videos are not as popular as they used to be over ten years ago, but this music video got a lot of attention. Factors that helped it go viral was that it was by a famous band with a popular song, but it was also unique and creative. The entire video had only one camera angle, it was less informal and the band danced entirely on treadmills. Not something you see everyday. But it take skill and a lot of practice to be able to do what they did for this video. This video gained popularity because it had the “WOW” factor to it.

Lastly, this video that went viral online is actually a commercial that people loved so much, it was shared all over the Internet. What made this video so popular was that it catered to the emotions of the viewer. Without any words, just music and text, this video gets right to the heart. Google Chrome came out with this video during last years Superbowl and people are still talking about it a year later. What I love about it is that it gets right to the heart and relates to the viewer. People use email all the time. But in this video a Dad sets up a gmail account for his newborn baby girl and continues to write her emails throughout her life, documenting milestones. This is the baby book of today. It creatively shows a different way to use gmail. Its not just email, its a way to document your life. It really cut to the heartstrings and I found myself having tears streaming down my face at the end. I thought it was a brilliant commercial and I bet that a ton of people. Kudos to you, Google.

Empathy Through Interactivty

People retain 10 % of what they read, 20 % of what they hear, 30 % of what they see, 70 % of what they say, and 90 % of what they say and do. Interactive mediums allow us to present information in a way that allows people to retain more information. If people are interacting with something rather than just reading a document or listening to the information, then they will be more likely to remember the information they were given.

Refugee resettlement seems to be more and more common today because of everything happening in Africa and the Middle East. There is a desire to educate Americans on refugee resettlement. Tapping into interactive resources can present information in a desired way, whether that be to motivate people into action, to educate, or create empathy. Using video, games, infographics, not only present information to the viewer, but also get them involved so they are a part of what they are learning.

My interactive component for the refugee website includes a game for people to learn the definitions for different terms that describe people seeking refuge in another country. It also includes a infographic that specifically provides information on refugees in North Carolina. I begin with broad information through the game and then dive into more localized information through the infographic. Lastly, I included a video so that people can really understand what is like to be a refugee. I wanted people to realize that refugees are in the US for a reason and in most cases, that reason is a sad one. Through the images and music I chose, I hope that people learn about refugees, but also feel empathy for them. The goal for the interactive project was to educate people but also have them experience a little bit of what refugees experience. A person is more likely to act on something if they feel that the cause is important. People are more likely to help refugees and be more understanding if they feel something for them. That is why empathy is important. People like to feel that what they are doing is important. Without empathy, charities would fail.

One great example of an interactive project that does that is a game called “Spent.” This game takes you through the day and the life of someone living in poverty. It teaches the user about how hard is it to live off of minimum wage. The game has the user see how long they can survive on what they earn. I think that this is a great way to teach people about poverty because it puts the user in someone else’s shoes. It really shows them what it is like to live on very little. It was simplistic but had a big impact.

Using Flash in Presentation

I have come to really enjoy using flash for a variety of things. Not only can I use it to design games, infographics and banners, but I can also use it in presentations. We were recently asked to design an iPhone application in one of our classes. This has been one of my favorite assignments this year because it has allowed me to be creative but also present it in a functional way. Whether or not flash is going away, I can still use it in the workplace to present an idea to fellow colleagues as I am doing now with my classmates.

I was able to not only show the design of the application but to also show exactly how it would function without actually creating the app. This is a great tool to use for front end design because once the design is handed over to the coders, they will know exactly how the designers want the application to function. I think people are more responsive to an idea if they can visually see how it is going to work. Flash is a program that enables us to accomplish this.