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Doing The Dew

Shirley Wang Mountain Dewpng

Shirley Wang, right, serves as one of Mountain Dew’s Brand Ambassadors.

By Shirley Wang

It seems like everyday, people are coming up to me and saying, “You’re the Mountain Dew girl!”

As I reach week five of my job as a Mountain Dew Brand Ambassador, my name and image becomes more and more synonymous with the 16 fl oz. can known as Mtn Dew Black Label.

What is Mtn Dew Black Label you ask? Well, Mountain Dew provides this description: “Introducing new MTN DEW BLACK LABEL, crafted with dark berry flavor, real sugar, and herbal bitters. So grab your friends, grab a MTN DEW BLACK LABEL and let loose in a whole new way.” For me, however, Mtn Dew Black Label has brought with it a rewarding and exciting new job, a friend in my fellow brand ambassador, Cara, and some pretty awesome one-of-a-kind experiences that I would never have had unless I were a brand ambassador.

As a brand ambassador, I have the privilege of representing Mountain Dew and promoting their new drink that is only available on specific college campuses–Johns Hopkins being one of the lucky few. Aside from receiving a ton of swag (including but not limited to: t-shirts, speakers, backpacks, powerbanks, ping pong balls, etc), my job also consists of working with Cara to come up with creative ways to boost brand recognition around campus through a combination of social media postings, campus-wide taste testings, and guerrilla marketing.

Being a brand ambassador thus far has truly been a one of a kind experience–I have planned and worked with so many student groups and have met so many new and interesting people through my role as a brand ambassador. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to represent such a reputable company.

Our first event was with the Student Government Association and Beta Theta Pi to create a joint event called, The Big Blue Jay Tailgate. With their help, Cara and I were able to hold our first taste testing and get the word out about Mtn Dew Black Label. The event ended up being so popular that Cara and I had to sprint back to our rooms to grab more cups, but nonetheless, it was a successful first event.

Our second and most recent taste testing was in conjunction with Hoptoberfest. This event was especially exciting because We the Kings came to Hopkins! The turnout was great, and we were able to reach a huge audience–all while having a blast singing along to Skyway Avenue, Say You Like Me, and of course, Check Yes Juliet. My middle school self was very pleased to say the least. After the concert, we were able to speak with the manager of We the Kings and give them some Mtn Dew Black Label to try. The best part of the day by far, however, was when We the Kings stopped by a house afterwards to chill with all of us! It’s also where I finally took a photo of the ever elusive Travis Clark DJ-ing and chilling with some Mtn Dew Black Label!

Cara and I already have ideas planned for our next few taste testing events. We decided to work with the American Marketing Association (an organization we’re both part of) to hold a taste testing event at their Annual Regional Conference. Our biggest and most ambitious event will be completely organized and run by ourselves, to be called The First Annual Mountain Dew Pong Tournament (played with Mtn Dew Black Label of course!). We will have teams from different JHU organizations sign up to compete for first and second place prizes, and we hope to reach a wide audience through this tournament.

Not many people can say that they are a Mountain Dew Brand Ambassador, and I’m not going to lie, it is a pretty awesome thing to tell people. However, just like every other job or club or assignment I’m faced with, it is not an easy feat, but I look forward to leaving my mark as the “Mountain Dew girl.”

My Internship Experience With The Orioles.

Up until this semester, a pigeon was the only bird I associated with Charm City and orange was something that you ate, not a color that fit into my wardrobe. All that changed when I became an intern for the team that became a phenomenon this summer and fall, The Baltimore Orioles. I was assigned to the Corporate Sales and Partnership Marketing program and was exposed to the contracts and proposals for current and upcoming sponsorship accounts. Furthermore, I assisted and led many game day promotions and events that were directly correlated to the servicing of sponsorship contracts. The Orioles have over 100 sponsorship deals in place that range from the obvious advertisements plastered all across the outfield walls to more subtle details such as the “Natty Boh Brot” or a “GEICO” logo mounted on the bottom of the ALCS rally towels. In the end, whether you realize it or not, Camden Yards is filled with the logos and merchandise of local companies such as Under Armour to globally recognized brands such as Budweiser all throughout the park.Glenn

My tasks fell into two categories: gameday promotions and office duties. To start, gameday promotions mostly dealt with providing our sponsors with top-notch hospitality that includes all different kinds of perks. For example, one of the most prolific clients for the Orioles is Bank of America. Therefore, during game 1 of the ALCS, I escorted around 12 clients from Bank of America down onto the field for Batting Practice. At this time, these clients got to experience what it’s like for a player to be down on the field prior to a playoff game. These clients would be within arms reach of all the Orioles players and coaching staff. Frequently, these clients would ask, “You must be used to this by now,” and to be honest, I can’t say I ever got used to such a surreal experience. The whole city got behind the Orioles during their playoff run, and there truly was no place like Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

One of my more surreal moments was when I was side by side with Mr. Boh himself who was set to throw out the first pitch during an afternoon matchup against the Yankees. I escorted him onto the field, and he asked me (while in full costume), “Do you have any advice for throwing out the first pitch?” It was just a very funny situation as I was seen talking to a mascot that Baltimore seems to idolize. Some fans may have thought I was a bit crazy as it looked like I was just talking to myself, but in reality, I was doing my best to keep Mr. Boh at ease.

Glenn2Aside from the meet and greets with players, I’d have to say that my favorite promotion to run was the “Esskay Steal Second Base” contest. For this promotion, I would meet the contestant (who is usually around 8 years old) and their parent at the “Fan Assistance” Entrance of Camden Yards. From there, I would take them into the grounds crew area where the contestant is briefed on the task that lies ahead. They simply have to run from the outfield wall to second base in the middle of the fifth inning and pick up second base. Then, they must run it back to the outfield wall in under a minute. If accomplished, the contestant gets to keep the base, and it really is an unforgettable experience for the young boy or girl. When the contest is running, I am on the field and direct the child where to go. Again, Esskay is getting their name out there by sponsoring this event as the child is wearing an Orioles’ jersey with “Esskay” on the back.

A major project that I worked on for my office duties had to deal with brand recognition and monitoring the reach of each sponsor. It is quite a difficult task to really conclude how many people see a certain sign in the Park, or a distinct billboard as they travel up a ramp to their seats. Therefore, I created a deck in order to find some of the most reliable and accredited programs that could put a number on how many people see certain signage. This was a very interesting task for me as I was able to study and analyze what a consumer really recognizes when watching a ballgame. For example, a great catch by Adam Jones in Center Field can be shown on the local news, ESPN and all across the country. As a result, brands are not only reaching a local audience, but they also are being viewed by people all across the country as well. Therefore, the Orioles had to show their clients that it would be beneficial to the company to agree on such deals because millions of eyeballs are seeing their company on a daily basis. Overall, finding a program to put a distinct number on how many people recognize certain sponsorship was vital to the Orioles’ Corporate Sales Department.

Interning with the 2014 AL East Champions truly was an incredible experience. From my interview to my time in the office, everything about the organization was first class. I am quite lucky to be able to say I am part of such a storied franchise, and I am excited to be back for the start of the 2015 season. Orange and black is now an integral part of my wardrobe. Go O’s!

Glenn Hyams ‘16

JHU AMA Presents: Student Alumni Panel

Earlier this month, the Johns Hopkins University undergraduate chapter of the American Marketing Association (JHU AMA) kicked off its Fall Speaker Series with a panel of JHU alumni working in marketing and advertising capacities. These alumni included representatives from Under Armour, AOL Digital, T. Rowe Price, Stanley Black & Decker, IMRE, and Factory Athletics. Students interested in pursuing careers in marketing, advertising, and digital media fields attended the event to learn more about the various industries represented.

Alumni Taylor Schulte, Tyler Goodell, Claire Sandgrass, Zoe Longenecker-Wright, Dave Carisiti, and Jason Budden speak at the alumni panel.

Alumni Taylor Schulte, Tyler Goodell, Claire Sandgrass, Zoe Longenecker-Wright, Dave Carisiti, and Jason Budden speak at the alumni panel.

The alumni spoke about several topics, most of which focused on breaking into the marketing industry, tips for surviving your first few months on the jobs, and other pieces of advice centered on helping current students make the most of their college experience to prepare for a transition into the real world. Richard L, an event attendee, commented that “thanks to them [the alumni], I feel much more prepared to send out job applications than I had before.”

Some key takeaways from the event:

  • Connect, connect, connect! Expand your professional network by reaching out to people in the industry via LinkedIn. (Note: always send a personalized message when seeking to connect).
  • Try it out. Find an internship, either during the semester or summer, in a marketing-related field, to see if it’s for you. An internship in this field is also critical if you want to land a job at a firm.
  • Clean up. Make sure your social media pages are devoid of undesirable content and make sure your resume is always updated and polished.

The JHU AMA will be hosting multiple upcoming events, the next of which is on Monday, November 10th. Hershey Associate Brand Manager Anthony Criezis will be speaking as part of the AMA’s Fall Speaker Series, and all interested parties are encouraged to attend a very informative discussion!

Analyzing Disney Media & Millenials As A Marketing Intern in New York This Summer.

This past summer, I interned for Disney Media Ad Sales and Marketing in New York. My department’s responsibility was to provide Sales with the tools, resources and marketing ideas they need to drive advertising revenue for Disney Channel, Disney X D, Disney Junior and Radio Disney. From my first day at Disney to my last, I was treated as if I was another member of the department which meant I was expected to do analyst level work. This gave me an appreciation of how this key unit functioned as well as what life in the real world would be like in two years when I graduate. While the commute from my home on Long Island was a bit taxing and expensive ($382 a month), going to sleep at 930PM to wake at 6AM was the biggest adjustment I had to make as any normal Hopkins student could attest to.

DisneyInternship

Many of the tasks I was assigned focused on the Research side of the business. I had to create a weekly “Landscape Report,” which outlined the competitive environment for Disney Media as well as updating other key reports which encompassed anything from analyzing VOD (Video On Demand) Ad campaigns to pulling weekly ratings from the StarTrak system for stunts (airing shows out of their normal time periods) and marathons (running a whole season of past episodes back to back). One of the main lessons I learned from the summer is that the Ad Sales Department of Disney only needs one story to tell in order to sell a spot to a potential company. You could comb through mountains of data, but all you need is one positive nugget of information and you run with it. Additionally, if a point you want to use doesn’t necessarily work at first, there are ways to make it work by using phrases like one of the highest rated instead of the highest rated or by saying the show is number one in its time period as opposed to comparing it to all programs that air throughout the week.

I also worked on projects that dealt more with “Consumer Insights.” For example, I developed numerous decks for clients ranging from addressing the interests of “Hispanic Consumers with Pets” to the affinity and preferences of “Toys and Games for Preschoolers and Toddlers.” I analyzed large Mintel Reports and from there, I generated stories that likened a consumer and their affinity for the Disney brand. I specifically enjoyed these projects as they allowed me to get creative and play with images and market the company to the best of my ability.

I also wrote sections of “Ad-Intel” Reports which analyzed the business foundation of potential advertisers such as Nike and Microsoft. I analyzed anything from current products to their key target demographics to their potential revenue stream for FY 14. By breaking down these industry giants, I was able to understand the fundamentals of running some of the most successful corporations in the world.

I was also chosen to be “Group Leader” and oversee an Intern Project that dealt with media consumption among the Millennial Generation. The “Disney Media” portion of the project focused on analyzing specific social media tendencies in the kid space, which became a bit tricky as you are not supposed to join a social media site until you reach the age of 13. However, we were able to determine that although kids aren’t supposed to be on social media before 13, they are. As a result, a lot of the same patterns we found with Millenials and their use of social media rang true for kids as well.

I along with 12 other interns presented our Millenials data to 80+ Executives from throughout the Disney/ABC Television Group. Being able to not only craft a presentation but to verbalize it as well is an invaluable skill that I will need later on in the business world. I made it through without any “ummms” or pauses, and I even answered ad hoc questions in the middle of my portion. It really is something to have people in the audience who have generated billions of dollars in ad revenue for Disney, ABC and ABC Family listen to your words and take in the slides that you created.

Besides the networking aspects in the television industry that this internship provided, it really proved to me that I would love to one day pursue a career in the media/marketing side of business. This summer I was lucky enough to come to work for a company that affects millions of lives a day and that everybody recognizes. Therefore, you take extra responsibility and pride in everything you create. Don’t tell anyone but Disney Channel now joins ESPN as my favorite network and I’ll be watching “Girl Meets World” every week when it returns for its second season (date and time to be announced).

Glenn Hyams, Class of ’16

Writing Seminars Major, Minor in Entrepreneurship & Management, Concentration in Marketing

JHU Graduate Produces Mother’s Day Video.

Ever since I started my graduate school adventure at Miami Ad School San Francisco (a portfolio school for advertising), I have been shown the true value of personal projects.

Personal projects that allow one to freely execute a campaign without being limited by the corporate aspects of advertising; personal projects that encourage individuals to pursue something true to themselves, while having fun playing with social norms.

This is how the idea of “Call Your Mom” came about. Everyday, we walk by so many strangers without interacting with them at all. My team and I wanted to break this social norm and get to know strangers in a unique way – by gaining insight into their relationship with their moms.

We therefore took to the streets of San Francisco and asked people when they had last called their moms. The end result was beautiful, and fully supported a notion we strongly believe in: if you are passionate about an idea, go and execute it. The benefits of advertising don’t just have to come from the professional workplace.

 Jiayi Wang ’13

I hope you enjoy it …

My Movie Internship: Hollywood Is Just As Business-Orientated As Wall Street.

Many people overlook the fact that Hollywood is just as business-orientated as Wall Street. From a strictly business perspective, a movie is a staggering—and very risky—investment: producers and studios can pour hundreds of millions of dollars into a single production in hopes that the revenue generated from ticket sales, home-video sales, merchandise, etc. will turn a profit. Investing in a movie is precarious because of the underlying notion that no one can predict whether or not a movie will be good, and if it is good, if audiences will want to see it and purchase tickets. In order to dilute the risk factors, then, studios rely on securing high-profile celebrities and creative teams, reverting to known blockbuster genres, remaking classic hits, and making sequel after sequel (Saw 7, anyone?).

Unsurprisingly, box office sales are the primary way a movie earns money, and most movies earn close to 50% of their domestic gross in their opening weekends. The rare exceptions are the movies with strong legs, like Gravity or Avatar, which hold well in the marketplace for continuous weeks. Thus, luring audiences into the theater that opening weekend is especially critical, and consequently studios carefully deliberate release dates and spend huge amount of money marketing a film. In fact, most tent-pole movies (a movie, usually a blockbuster, that ‘holds up’ or balances out a studio’s financial performance, e.g. Despicable Me 2 or Harry Potter; they’re often expected to turn a profit in a relatively short amount of time) can have advertising budgets comparable to their production budgets. That is to say, if a movie’s cost is $80 million, it could have close to that in marketing efforts behind it. Additionally, if a studio knows a movie is going to be a flop, and they generally do, they might increase or decrease the marketing budget, either to make one last push to persuade audiences to see the film or to cut their losses. Securing a strong opening weekend turnout is also the reason why movies with widespread critical acclaim publicize their reviews early, while studios with flops on their hands tend to keep poor reviews under wraps until the last possible moment in order to prevent them from discouraging audiences.

From trailers and posters to TV spots and other publicity efforts such as Comic-Con parties and online presences, creative advertising attempts to both raise awareness about the movie as well as highlight it as worthy of the ten-dollar ticket price to see it on the big screen. A film’s trailer is without question its strongest advocate, and as such, most studios begin creating a trailer months in advance of its release. Studio executives work with the filmmakers as well as with external production companies (known as trailer houses) that specialize in either print (the poster) or audio-visual (the trailer) media to design a campaign that positions the movie in a particular, meticulously crafted light. Everything from the music and dialogue to the font of the copy (text) to the emotion the trailer evokes is highly scrutinized and debated because the trailer is not only the first glimpse audiences will have of the movie, but also, if constructed successfully, the most influential marketing tool.

Executives begin researching the campaign by reading the film’s script and watching trailers for similar movies. They study those trailers to understand what worked well and what did not, but to see how other marketing departments have approached a related topic: what angle on the story did they take? Was the focus more on the visuals or on the story? How much of the plot was revealed and in what ways? While they are researching, executives meet with filmmakers to decide how they want to advertise the film, read the script, and look at dailies. Dailies are visuals (both photo and video) of everything that has been filmed, uncut, on a single day; as filming progresses, the quantity of dailies increases and the executives have more footage to work with. The creative process really begins here, when executives work with trailer houses to select and edit the footage, piecing together the trailer that aligns with their vision about how they want the film to appear. The trailer houses send a number of versions of each cut of the trailer to the executive, each with varying music, copy, visuals, etc. The executive then considers what works well and what needs to be changed, and the trailer houses then make the edits. This editing and re-editing usually lasts several weeks. Once the trailer is ready, and the filmmakers have given their approval, the trailer is usually screened before several test audiences of various demographics. These test audiences comment on not only whether or not they like the trailer, but if the trailer is effective at accomplishing what the studio intended, e.g. was the film’s plot clear? did the jokes work?  When the trailer is finally ready, it ships, or is released.

Timing the shipping of trailers is crucial, as there are often specific movies to which the executives want them to be attached or accompany. Attaching a trailer to a movie means that the trailer will always play before a certain movie in the theater; the term comes from when the actual 35mm film of trailer would have to be physically attached to the film of the movie. Perhaps the most well-known recent instance of this was Warner Bros. attachment of Man of Steel’s teaser to The Dark Knight Rises. Studios can also vary attachment based on theater type, i.e. if you go and see the newest Thor in 3D, you would have been treated to a five-minute sneak peak of the upcoming Captain America. This strategy is more commonly exhibited with IMAX screens, as an added incentive to pay the higher ticket price. If a trailer accompanies a feature, it will often play before that film, but it doesn’t have to. Studios work with theaters to have their trailer shown before a movie, but the theaters have the final say and usually make their decision based on the expected audience of the film playing and the release date of the advertised film. In other words, the theater might not choose to screen a horror trailer before the latest Pixar film. This is why if you see a movie in theaters more than once, there may be different trailers before it each time, or if you see a movie at a different theater, there will also be different trailers.

While premiering a trailer in theaters remains the most common approach, in recent years studios have begun exploring other avenues by which to do so, such as on late night talk show’s (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy trailer premiered on Jimmy Kimmel), during major television events (Universal’s Neighbors, the new Seth Rogen comedy, first aired its trailer during the Roast of James Franco), or at events such as Comic Con. This strategy is becoming increasingly popular, as with certain events or television programs, studios can target a more specific demographic. With the ability to watch trailers anytime online, the timing of shipping the trailer might appear to have lost some of its importance, but the opposite is true. The Internet can create immense hype for a film when a trailer is released and shared across various social media platforms, and studios need to time this hype to prevent it from coming and going too soon.

– Andrew Townson ’14 atownson@jhu.ed

Selfie Nation

A few years ago, I would cringe when I saw a selfie posted on a social media website, immediately thinking of the selfie bathroom pictures that frequented Myspace. However, the selfie has surged in popularity, with self-taken photos and videos being utilized as a tool for self-promotion and expression. Even Oxford Dictionaries highlighted the trend when it proclaimed the selfie to be the 2013 word of the year.

President Obama's famous selfie at the Nelson Mandela memorial

President Obama’s famous selfie at the Nelson Mandela memorial

Companies have released a wave of selfie marketing campaigns, aiming to transform their customer relations by focusing on individual experiences with their products. Instead of producing professional and poised photos, brands have tapped into user-generated content. Raw and unedited evoke feelings of trust, as consumers rely upon each other to identify new deals, brands, and trends.

Coach has launched a particularly successful selfie marketing campaign with its #coachfromabove hashtag. Customers are encouraged to share pictures of their Coach shoes around the world on Twitter and Instagram, with the possibility of being featured on the official company website. Other companies, such as Applebee’s, are using self-taken videos as a promotional tool. Applebee’s is giving customers the chance to be featured in national TV commercials by posting their reactions to new menu items on Vine with the hashtag #BeeFamous. Even museums have caught onto the selfie trend by promoting this past January 22 as #MuseumSelfie Day, sparking fun and ridiculous selfies posted by museum enthusiasts across the globe.

A selfie of Eminem with the Mona Lisa

A selfie of Eminem with the Mona Lisa

However, some selfie campaigns have drawn mixed reviews, such as Dove’s selfie film for their Campaign for Real Beauty. In the film, women exhibited self-portraits and wrote complimentary notes to one another. Although the video promotes redefining standards of beauty, critics have scoffed that the video is contrived – and obviously so, as the video is ultimately designed to sell Dove’s beauty products. Many selfie videos are artificial and contrived, such as the Turkish Airlines YouTube video featuring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi. The two athletes have a staged selfie shootout, and the fun and successful video has over 130 million views.

Celebrities have also come under public scrutiny for posting too many selfies on social media. In reponse to critics, James Franco wrote a defense of the selfie for the New York Times, emphasizing that the selfie is a legitimate and powerful tool for self-promotion. He wrote, “selfies are avatars: Mini-me’s that we send out to give others a sense of who we are.” Over the past year, I’ve come to terms with the selfie. I’ll send selfies to friends on Snapchat, and even upload a selfie to Instagram or Facebook every once in a while.

One of James Franco's many sefies

One of James Franco’s many sefies

A selfie I took in Havana, Cuba by the Malecon

A selfie I took in Havana, Cuba by the Malecon

Do you use selfies on social media? Should businesses continue to use selfies in marketing campaigns, or do you think there will be a new trend that will redefine social media marketing in 2014?

– Kara