The Human Billboard
Is it only a matter of time before all professional athletic jerseys implement some form of advertising? It hasn't bothered Europeans and basketball has become a global phenomenon, with similar jersey styles as a soccer jersey. Could you see Lebron James wearing a Heat jersey that had a McDonald's logo on it (and McDonald's already hosts an All-American game that sports their logo on the jersey)? I could, and I think that the advertising could be done subtly enough that it wouldn't invoke the hatred of fans. Think of the possibilities… consumers who want authentic apparel would also have the advertiser's logo on their jersey otherwise it wouldn't be identical to what the player wore. These fans would wear their jerseys, becoming human billboards for that product. Don't forget about exclusive jersey advertising rights (after all, companies pay a fortune for naming rights to the venues and not too many people stare at the exterior; they watch the star players). Not only do I think this is inevitable, but I think the U.S. should spearhead this movement. Someday, you may just see the Mad Men Marketing logo on the back of a ballcap being worn by a Jaguars or Jacksonville Suns player.
Prosecution and Pugilism
So my query is: “When did fighting become synonymous with legal representation”? Instead of fighting for me, why can't you navigate the pitfalls and professional loopholes of our legal system? Is it because fighting for me makes me think you're a little more altruistic than you may be? Should I be dredging up images of crawling through the mud and the blood in war-torn 1971 Vietnam? Are lawyers depicted as heroes? In most cases, certainly not. Speaking with many people on the subject, the perception is that these people overcharge and have more hidden fees than a budget airline. I've never been to a boxing exhibition in my life, but I'm certain many people would love to get in the ring with an attorney and put their fighting acumen to the test. However, since the phrase is clearly not going anywhere anytime soon, an amazing promotional campaign could have a tie-in with boxing in the form of a weigh-in sponsorship or a still photo with a sponsored fighter posing with the attorney, perhaps with some novelty boxing gloves with the firm's logo. These are the things we think of in the 'ol Mad Men dream factory. If we had a lawyer vs. contender photo on a Ring Magazine kind of ad, or a sponsored weigh-in (which while brief, is highly publicized), then that attorney would definitely be interacting with their potential clients, and in the process, might humanize themselves a bit.
“Farther Relates to Distance; Further is a Definition of Degree. You Should Have Said Further.”
One example I can give you is a recent interview of a former collegiate professor of mine. This is an accomplished man in his field who is the chair of his department, and he hails from Argentina. His surname is pronounced (gah-sho), but it is spelled “Gallo” which would lead most Spanish-speaking people to believe that it would be pronounced (gah-yo). Argentina, however, uses a dialect of Spanish similar to Castellano in Spain and their “ll” sounds like a “sh”. The interviewer used neither pronunciation, and I'm assuming she didn't bother to ask him politely how he pronounced his name, but she opted for the Americanized (gal-low) pronunciation when that English short “a” vowel sound doesn't exist in that language. In no way did this seem to bother Dr. Gallo, but to the listening audience which included myself, it sounded careless and unprofessional.
I've perused many websites, and scholarly journals, and other media. There is often a rough draft quality about many things I read. I often think to myself, “Clearly, writing in a public forum is a component of this person's job. Why aren't they better at it?”. The bottom line is this: The devil is in the details. If you want to affect public opinion with the written word, come with your “A” game, and read what you write aloud to yourself before posting it, or allow a colleague to read over your post. You'll be glad you did. You may only get one new customer out of a thousand, but sometimes it's a high-profile customer, and it could be worth it.
Perception is Key
His head is directly in the center of the picture, you can see his ear, followed by his body to the right. Once you've found it – you will always see it. Your brain cannot unlearn what it has already seen. It makes a lasting impression on how you now perceive the picture.
So what does this say about our perceptions of other experiences in the world? For one, this clearly means that initially, our eyes have the ability to see things without our brain having the ability to perceive what the image is telling us (especially if what is encountered is unfamiliar) – and once we are able to make a perception, it is difficult for our brain to unlearn this new found impression. Are things always what they seem, or can we repurpose what was once perceived as a jumbled mess, into useful information once we understand it?
As a psychology major, sensation and perception were my two favorite subjects of study. They were my main focus once I really delved into my program (as well as conditioning and learning). All topics that have become ever more relevant as I explore the field of advertising and human relations. Perception is the key. You've heard the saying 'you never get a second chance at a first impression', but what influences that first “impression”? What is the impression based upon? Well, it's primarily based on how we have perceived a situation; how the interaction has impressed itself upon our brain through our eyes, ears, nose, skin, and mouth I suppose… (might as well include all senses here). Or can it be something else entirely? Would you be willing to admit that preconceived notions have an overwhelming effect on how we perceive our world around us, enabling or disabling our impressions of what we experience? Deep, isn't it…?
So, what does this mean for our industry? Well, it means everything. The way people perceive certain interactions affects the consumer, the client, the agency, the vendors… and the list goes on! If you see a billboard, and the image does not immediately appeal to you, do you even bother reading what it has to say? Sure you saw the sign, but did it make its impression? A bad one maybe… but that's it. What about those hilarious commercials we see on TV, the ones you can't, for the life of you, remember what they were advertising… All your brain received from that visual stimulation was “funny”. Lest we forget to mention the most important of all… human interaction. Email is taking over, and have you noticed how the written word can seem so much more biting than the spoken word… Why is that?
You can't control how things are going to be perceived, that's the brain's job. But, you do have the ability to control your responses, decide the relevance of your perception, the context and respond accordingly… And, when working in this industry, the goal is to please the client and catch the consumer, it's best to understand that you have perceptual influence, and knowing how to influence perception is the key determining factor in the road to success.
Mad Men Marketing to Participate in Park(ing) Day!
We plan to convert one of the metered parking space in front of our 111 E. Bay Street location in Downtown Jacksonville into a living room area in order to play a DVD series marathon of the AMC Drama Mad Men, and invite the passing public to take a seat and enjoy. We are excited to take part in this national movement to transform regular parking spots, even if only for one day, into public spaces, so that anyone can come by and relax in a formerly hectic environment, for free.
Park(ing) Day will be held in Downtown Jacksonville on Friday, September 21st from 10am – 5pm.
For those of you who don't know much about Park(ing) Day, here's a brief description taken directly from the website parkingday.org:
Providing temporary public open space . . . one parking spot at time.
PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.
The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more open urban space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!
So, come join us, take the load off and spend your lunch hour, break time, or walk about… watching a great TV program in the privacy of your very own public parking space living room!