Tag Archive | media

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.


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

How To Figure Out Your Future Over Intersession

Johns Hopkins can be an overwhelming place. You try to balance schoolwork with your job with your clubs and your sorority or fraternity. Suddenly you find yourself in your junior year and all of your friends are talking about all of the great things that they are planning to do after they graduate. If you’re anything like me, you have zero idea about what you want to do with your life, and you are insanely jealous of all of your friends who have it all figured out.

But fear no more friends, I’ve found the solution. If you want to start to get a handle on your future, the best thing that you can do is to sign up for the Media and Public Relations in The Big Apple over next intersession. It doesn’t even matter what year you are. This past intersession we had sophomores, juniors, seniors, and even a recent grad or two. Your level of experience doesn’t matter either. While most people in the class had at least taken Principles of Marketing (which is a great class and I recommend it to everyone), there were some that hadn’t and it was absolutely fine!

The class takes up two weeks of intersession and is 1 credit. During the first week, the professor, Leslie Kendrick, invites professionals from the Baltimore area to come and speak to the class. We had speakers from local marketing firms, television, radio, Baltimore Magazine, AOL, and Bloomberg Government. Even though I wasn’t interested in all of the companies represented, it was still really enlightening to learn about industries that I had no previous knowledge of. If I’ve learned anything from my years of trying to “find myself” and “discover what I want to be”, it’s that the majority of jobs that exist in the world are not ones that you have ever heard of before. As a History major, I never would have learned anything about marketing if I hadn’t gone on this trip and taken Principles.

In the Big Apple with Professor Kendrick

In the Big Apple visiting big media, PR, and advertising firms with Professor Kendrick

The second week of class is the trip to New York. In three days, we packed in visits to eight places of business, plus an alumni panel. It was exhausting but 100% worth it.  The networking that I did in New York has already landed interviews with two of the companies.

On Tuesday morning we woke up at 6 AM and dragged ourselves out of bed to put on business attire and schlepped our way to the coach bus waiting for us outside of Mason Hall. From there it was about a 4 hour drive to New York. Our first stop was Fortune Magazine, home of the Fortune 500 list where we spoke to an investigative journalist who told us stories about uncovering the sex scandals of billionaires. Next we went to Bloomberg, where unfortunately we were not greeted by our most famous alumni. An interesting aspect of Bloomberg is that there are no offices. No matter whether you are the new guy or the boss, everyone sits at a cubicle. It’s definitely an environment that would take some getting used to. Our last stop for the day was at Ruder Finn, a PR firm, where we were given a presentation on Citi, one of their clients, by Ally Burton, class of 2010.

Wednesday was the longest day of the trip. We started out at AMC Networks where we played trivia with alum David Epstein, and learned about the strategies behind TV advertising.  Next, we visited Grey Worldwide, the advertising agency behind the famous E*Trade baby, where we were given a hilarious presentation by a creative team and got to speak with alum Melody Nath. After Grey, we headed over to Sesame Workshop where we were greeted by chalk drawings of all of our favorite sesame characters and by a panel of employees who told us all about what goes on behind the scenes, beyond the show itself. That evening we had an alumni panel where we had the opportunity to network with alums working in TV, newspapers, PR, skin care, and online.

Thursday, our last day, we visited Landor and Burson Marsteller, two companies in the same building on Park Avenue. Landor is the branding agency that helped create the Old Spice campaign, and Burson Marsteller is another PR firm. At Landor, I was one of the last students left in the office when the chief marketing officer, Hayes Roth, decided to give us tour of the whole office. Sometimes it pays to linger!

The amazing thing about this class is that everyone we met, both in Baltimore and New York was so eager to help us, and in a world like ours where networking is everything, this is HUGE. Another terrific yet unexpected takeaway from the class was the reassurance that we got from virtually every single person who spoke to us, telling us not to worry about getting the perfect job out of college. One woman said she had 6 different jobs before she found the right one. This knowledge took a lot of pressure off of us, especially the seniors, who were the most anxious of the group (understandably).

So rather than wasting your time getting drunk next intersession, sign up for the Big Apple Trip and help build your future!

– Carter Banker

Why Kate White Is Leaving Cosmopolitan

It’s no secret that Cosmo is at the top of its game. In a New York Times Magazine article published over the summer, Edith Zimmerman revealed that Hearst publishes 64 international editions of the best-selling magazine in 35 languages, each edition promising “Fun, Fearless, Female” content in every issue. Though the late Helen Gurley Brown may have been responsible for establishing the magazine’s sexy tone, international readers can credit Editor in Chief Kate White for increasing the magazine’s circulation and presence abroad. White, who announced her resignation last week, officially stepped down today.

Succeeding White is Joanna Coles, the Editor in Chief of fellow Hearst publication Marie Claire. Coles gave Marie Claire a facelift by whisking Elle‘s Nina Garcia (of Project Runway fame) to the magazine as Fashion Director — thus shifting the prize winner’s feature from Elle to Marie Claire. Coles further earned cred with the fashion crowd when she became a mentor on the show’s spin-off, Project Runway: All Stars, earlier this year. Coles knows a thing or two about using television to bolster a magazine brand — in 2009, the Style Network’s Running In Heels chronicled the adventures of three Marie Claire interns. Marie Claire‘s largest-ever September 2012 issue boasted a record 237 ad pages for the publication. It’s a safe to say that under Coles’s leadership, you’ll see a more fashion-forward Cosmopolitan on your TV screens.

White, meanwhile, plans to focus on her writing and speaking career. In her new book, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know, which hits bookstands September 18, she advises, “A sign you’re ready to leave [a position] is when you’re totally comfortable at a job because you’re totally comfortable. Nothing scares you, meaning you’re not challenged.” I wish all the best to White and Coles as they embrace the challenges that come with their new positions. What can you learn from Cosmo’s business success?

– Devin