Better (than I could ever imagine!)

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In the summer of 2015, it’s not surprising that when you’re due to begin a placement in the industry you’ve been studying in and things don’t appear to be falling into their perfect place – panic begins to kick in.

Yes a placement year in CAM is optional, but when you’re as super unsure about what direction to steer your life in as I was, all practical experience is welcome.

Amidst floods of tears and feelings of failure I couldn’t help but hold on to the ounce of optimism I had when I chatted with friends and they encouraged me that perhaps it was because there was something better “just around the corner.”

However, that little glimmer of hope was immediately disseminated with my instant response of doubt and disbelief “It’s a pretty BIG darn corner!”

*sigh*

A little patience goes a long way.

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Looking back, I’m sure being patient was the last thing I had in mind (and I’m sure my parents can vouch for that!) but looking back, I can now fully appreciate the process and time it took to fully prepare me for life a few thousand miles away from home in the Big Apple.

Little did I know, that for just under 8 months I would spend my time living in Brooklyn in Metro World Child headquarters, with Metro staff and interns from all around the world, endeavouring to serve God and be a small part of His big plan for reaching children and their families with the gospel in the darkest neighbourhoods of New York City, presenting them with the only source of hope that is found through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Having been involved with different aspects of ministry in my local church at home in Northern Ireland, I was super excited (and nervous!) to work alongside an organisation that was involved in a similar style of outreach in New York City (a place I had longed to visit!) and see how God was at work in another part of the world with people willing to be used by Him.

All things work together for good.

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From a young age, when posed the question “Where’s your favourite place in the world?” I always had one answer, “New York City.” Having never been there I guess that’s a bit of an irrational statement, but nonetheless, it was a desire that I knew was put in my heart for a purpose.

It was about 5 or 6 years previous before I set off on my New York adventure when I sat in my youth group on a Sunday evening after the church service and listened to a young girl, Sarah Reynolds share about her experience with what was formerly known as Metro Ministries in New York City. As we listened to her share the first-hand stories about “Sidewalk Sunday School”, “Yogi Bear Kids” and hearing gunshots while teaching children from the Bible on the streets of the poorest areas in the city, it all seemed like an overwhelming mix of intense excitement and legitimate fear. Still, I’ll never forget whispering in agreement with my friends, “I want to do that someday!”

A promise from above.

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When you live in a family of four children with a father who much prefers going to airports to have a picnic as you watch planes come and go every day of summer before he’d ever step foot on one – you can guess that foreign family holidays weren’t a thing in our house. So I’m sure you can imagine the horror of even suggesting I board a plane and cross an ocean by myself to a city full of strangers and streets rife with criminals.

Yea it took a while to get over that one.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the loudest, bravest, boldest person that exists and probably the last person you would want to send to the ghetto of any city, but when you’re in the centre of God’s will and He gives you a promise from the Bible like the one above from Acts to hold on to, stepping forward in faith is the best direction to go.

In every detail.

If I was to begin to tell about the kids I had the privilege to meet, the people I had the pleasure of serving alongside, or even the moments I saw God’s hand most evidently at work, well, we would be here for quite a while. So in an attempt to sum up my feelings on E V E R Y T H I N G that took place during my time with Metro World Child in New York City here’s a verse from the Bible, which even before I left for NYC could use to describe the amount of ways I have seen God at work in my life.

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Of course, there were tearful moments, sleepless nights and pesky lice problems (to name but a few hurdles along the way!) but I wouldn’t exchange my experience and memories for the world.

When people ask about my placement year and the reason for two years out of my studies I often jump to the most logical explanation I think they’ll understand for why I didn’t choose the ‘normal’ placement path. This range of excuses include: “I couldn’t get a placement”, I don’t think I tried hard enough”, “I didn’t apply for enough companies.” When in reality, perhaps it was just because God had something better in mind.

*Insert most commonly asked question*

Would you go back? To visit, for sure! Forever? We’ll have to talk to God about that one.

For now and until graduation, I’m just going to enjoy good old Northern Ireland.

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Rachel Henry is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn at: Rachel Henry

The Fearless Girl

“Everything we want is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair.

 

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Thanks to Instagram’s savvy (but creepy) technology, posts we genuinely are interested in often appear on our ‘explore’ pages. This is usually pretty useful for me for four reasons;

  1. To look at healthy food I’ll probably never make
  2. To look at unhealthy food I definitely will make
  3. To watch fitness videos whilst lying horizontal on the sofa
  4. To stalk my best-friend’s ex-housemate’s sister’s friend’s brother (see relevant Kardashian meme below)

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Last night however, a picture caught my eye.

The image depicted what looked like a young girl, squaring up to a bull with the caption #TheFearlessGirl.  Pretty random? So I dug a little deeper.

One Google search later and any hope of getting a decent night’s sleep became a distant memory. Instagram had lead me to one of the most inspiring yet controversial campaigns of 2017. (THANKS Kevin Systrom!)

Here’s what I found out…

On 7th March 2017, the day before International Women’s Day, The Fearless Girl was erected on Wall Street. She arrived overnight, seemingly out of thin air and stood roughly 50 inches tall. With her hands triumphantly placed upon her hips and facing Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull statue, she took New York’s heart of finance (and the world) by storm.

But why?

Fearless Girl was created for financial advising company State Street Global Advisors by creative agency McCann New York.

Their research identified one key issue;

“The problem is this – women are not making it to the top of any profession, anywhere in the world.” – Sheryl Sandberg, 2017.

They found that companies with women in leadership perform better than those without  (MSCI, November 2015) and aimed to challenge 3,500 companies (a quarter of which had no female board representatives) to add more women to their boards (NBC News, 2017).

They wanted to create a symbol of leadership for the women of today and tomorrow and brilliantly illustrated this with Fearless Girl. She represents courage, strength and ambition but with child-like innocence. When we look at Fearless Girl we see determination, not yet tainted by corruption. We see bravery, not yet tarnished by the unjust. We see heart, not yet disappointed or betrayed by deceit.  

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When I look at her, I see myself. I see 8 year old me playing games of British bulldogs against the boys, determined to win, never for a second doubting that I could.  I see myself studying hard for GCSE’s and am reminded of  the tears of joy I cried as I opened my results to see that (despite all odds) I had achieved a B in maths. I see myself at University. I see my hockey team victorious at Inter-provincial championships. I see myself working long hours far away from home on placement. Fearless Girl reminds me that there is nothing more rewarding than working hard for something and the feeling you get when you achieve it. America’s king of Monday night television, Stephen Colbert, dubbed Fearless Girl as a symbol, “representing women’s daily experience of having to face a tonne of bull.” She reminds us that as women, we’re inevitably going to face an abundance of daily hardships, but who’s to say we’ll let it stand in our way?

Did the campaign work?

Initially for State Street, yes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Fearless Girl spawned almost one million tweets and an array of free publicity for State Street, including thousands of mentions on TV programs and hundreds of articles in papers around America. State Street estimates the traditional and social-media exposure generated by Fearless Girl is valued between $27 million and $38 million. Not bad for a rumoured budget of $250,000 (Wall Street Journal 2017). The statue’s resonance in social media highlighted the fact that digital campaign success can often stem from a purely offline idea.

And that’s not all.. Fearless Girl is now one of the most highly honoured campaigns in the history of the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity and one of two campaigns ever to have won four Grand Prix at Cannes (Adweek 2017).

However

State Street came under fire in March, when documents by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program stated that, “since at least December 1, 2010, and continuing thereafter, State Street discriminated against Females employed in the Senior Vice President (SVP), Managing Director (MD), and Vice President (VP) positions by paying them less, in base salary, bonus pay and total compensation, than similarly situated Males employed in the same position.” (Quartz Media 2017). The company initially rejected the claims but has since agreed to pay nearly $4.5 million in back pay and over $507,000 in interest to settle the dispute.

So my question is this; A cleverly insincere marketing ploy or a heartfelt do-good campaign?

I’ve always tried to see the good in people. A somewhat naive personality trait, but one that allows me to sleep at night with less worries and angst that leave me tossing and turning in the sheets. When I see pictures of the grown women and the little girls standing next to Fearless Girl, I can relate to the emotions the 50 inch statue provokes. She inspires us all to be the best and forces us to believe that we can be, no matter who or what is standing in our way. To create and implement such a heartwarming campaign, I really do believe State Street were trying to promote real positive change. That being said, I can hardly ignore the initial benefits it brought about for their business, and the unfortunate tsunami of negativity that followed.

Ernest Gaines tells us to, “ Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.”

Well… Are campaigns fooling us and merely created for the benefit of organisations?

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Hannah Martin is a final year Bsc student in Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @HannahMartin596, and Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-martin-b31334112/

Harvey Weinstein: Protected by PR

Over the past four weeks, Harvey Weinstein has joined the ever-growing list of men who apparently can’t keep their hands off women.  This list includes President Clinton, President Trump, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, men who don’t know how to behave as Gentlemen.   

How did a culture of silence build up around Harvey Weinstein?

The pace of the allegations against Weinstein has been rapid over the past four weeks, allegations against him include sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape and the systematic silencing of victims.  The New York Times divulged the information on Harvey Weinstein in a scathing article which accounted for many of his victims.  According to The New York Times a female assistant working for The Weinstein Company claimed Mr Weinstein harassed her into giving him a massage while he was naked.

“I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”

– From Lauren O’Connor‘s memo

 

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Since the explosive article appeared, the number of women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or sexual assault is staggering.  Over 50 women have bravely stood up and accused him of something.  Yet Mr Weinstein has, “Unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex.

I find it inconceivable that a man like Weinstein, with such a disturbing scope of behaviours was considered a normal and genuine man.

Harvey Weinstein has been protected by Hollywood.  All things ‘Hollywood’ are all things ‘PR’, and Weinstein was most definitely all things ‘Hollywood’.  He was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood – a ‘movie god’, possessing an unrivalled combination of political influence, power and money; and so it was clear the disgraced film mogul’s own institution were keen to keep quiet.  It is now the case that The Weinstein Company has fired Weinstein (that’s right, from his own company) in response to the publicity surrounding his sexual predatory behaviour.  In my opinion, The Weinstein Company should have had fired him 30 years ago when IT found out; rather than now, only when WE have found out.

Weinstein’s friends were his fixers and lawyers, they too are the powerful PR of Hollywood, yet once again, they kept quiet. Quentin Tarantino revealed on the 20th October 2017 he knew about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged misconduct towards women for years. “I knew enough to do more than I did”, the film director declared to The New York Times.  So why did he remain silent, consequently protecting Weinstein?  Behind the glitz and glam of Harvey Weinstein, he was piling up the victims and according to two company officials who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity; he had reached at least 8 silent settlements with women.

 “The men who do this, do it because they have the power and wealth to get away with it. They deliberately pick on women who are less powerful than themselves.”

– Joan Smith, writer, speaking about Weinstein

In a just world, Harvey Weinstein’s actions are indefensible, yet Weinstein defended them when he issued one of the strangest public apologies I have ever read. It’s clear he is now struggling to hire someone adequate enough to do his PR for him, now we all know the truth.

He starts by saying, “I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”  Sorry Mr Weinstein, but sexual harassment and assault was never culture, you should blame yourself, not ‘The culture’.

Weinstein goes on to say, “Over the last year, I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me, and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought on therapists, and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women, and regret what happened.”  Mr Weinstein, if you need a team of people and therapists to tutor you on how to behave like a civil, decent man and keep your hands to yourself; you really have no respect for anyone, not just women.

Weinstein closes with the following, “I am going to need a place to channel that anger, so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom, and I won’t disappoint her.”

As I’m sure many of you will agree, upon reading this my first thought was, “What is he talking about?”  How can he talk about the NRA, his Bar Mitzvah, the President, and an upcoming movie project all in an apology statement?  Is this an attempt by PR to distract us from the apology and his acknowledgement of his actions?  I don’t believe honouring his mother with a $5 million scholarship for women will eliminate the lifelong hurt and pain suffered by women he has abused either.

Harvey Weinstein has been protected by PR for most of his career and his serial sexual harassment went under the radar.  The powerful public’s who had every opportunity to challenge this animal unfortunately turned a very detrimental and destructive blind eye.

Lauren Hill is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University.  She can be contacted on LinkedIn.  

PR Student Survival Guide

I have just begun my final year of studies as a Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at the Jordanstown campus of Ulster University – scary! I’ve attached a link here for anyone interested in what the course entails. One of the modules in my final year is Critical Perspectives of PR. We have not done a PR module since first year so it all seems pretty new again and, like I’m sure many of you understand, it can be a bit daunting starting something new. Our first task was to write 3 blog posts around the subject of PR. As an avid blog reader, I was excited at the prospect but I wasn’t too sure what I should write about that would be helpful and interesting for you as a reader. So, I figured what better way to start than giving you some of my own (perhaps not all that useful or informative) advice on how to go about being a PR student. Halt all frantic “What am I doing with my life?!” searches on Google as this blog might just have the answers to all your university worries.

In our first PR lecture we were given the simple task of telling the room our name and an interesting fact about ourselves. Seemingly an easy task, especially for a room of people who are aspiring to be our next generation of PR specialists – but no, the dread set in. The first person started with their name and informed the class that they had swallowed a Barbie shoe as a child. One by one, each of my class mates started to tell us all brilliant facts about themselves. When it came to my turn I told the class my name, and the interesting fact I settled for was that over summer I hitchhiked from Slovenia to Italy with a Slovenian man whose only English was “Good music ya?” – but that is a different story for a completely different blog post.

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So, this is where my first tip sets in;
Be confident – you are interesting and your voice matters! Don’t sweat the small stuff as the saying goes. It’s easy to hide in a lecture hall full of 100 people, but don’t! Stand out, contribute, challenge your lecturer on everything they tell you. I guarantee you they would rather you be interactive and in debate than sitting in the back-row blank faced thinking about what you’re going to have for lunch from the culinary masterpiece that is the Jordanstown Student Union… It may seem like you are the only clueless person in the room but believe me for 1) You are not as clueless as you think you are and 2) If you’re feeling like this I guarantee you that you are not the only one having these thoughts.

My second tip is one of those learn from your mistakes type scenarios – or rather learn from my mistakes! Start reading. All those articles and textbooks that your lecturers keep telling you to have a look at – start actually looking at them and reading them. Read them twice if you can. We’ve all been guilty of rolling our eyes and thinking ‘I’ll skim read the article just on the off chance my lecturer asks me a question in the seminar’. But start taking interest in the articles they are giving you. You may just surprise yourself at how interesting you will find a lot of them. Also use them to start writing reference lists for your assignments. I always find it far easier to tackle an essay or assignment if I have a list of references ready for me before I even start. Try swapping your Daily Mail updates for a read of a newspaper a few days a week. Understanding what a newspaper looks like and how an article is printed on paper is such a huge part of PR. My older sister currently works in a PR agency and the first thing she does every morning is read the newspapers printed that day – it’s her longest standing companion in the office!

Take breaks. It’s hard to see past the mountain of work and reading gradually piling up but it is so important to close the books, stretch, go for a walk, listen to some music, do whatever you find relaxes you. Clear your head for a few minutes when it all seems too much and come back with fresh eyes and a clear mind. Your education is important, but look after yourself, keep on top of your work and the rest will come. Here’s a link to my personal favourite ‘Study Break Song’ because if Marvin Gaye won’t cheer you up what will?C2

Finally – enjoy! Enjoy your time as a PR student. At the end of this journey you will more than likely be entering the big bad world of work which comes with a huge amount of great experiences but you will never have an experience like you will have at university. So, keep up with the work, read everything you can, make contacts in the industry, strive for that 2.1 or 1st class honours degree because you deserve it! But make time for your friends, take up a new hobby every week and drop it when you realise maybe learning Spanish on Duolingo just isn’t your forte and start learning French – Je m’appelle Claire (as you can see mine is coming along nicely). Find time for everything you want to do, go for a drink or two at the weekend, take time to travel and experience the world. Enjoy these years because they come and go quicker than you may realise and give you some of the best memories you will have in life.

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So finally, all that’s left to say is good luck! And if all else fails here’s a link to a wiki how page on how to survive Uni – although, speaking from experience, it may not provide exactly the strategy you need to pass!

Claire Stinton is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @clairestintonn and Instagram @clairestinton.

 

A Priti Good Day to Bury Bad News

Wednesday, the 8th of November. The scene was set. 25,000 eyes were watching the skies for the plane carrying Priti Patel. Ms Patel was humiliatingly summoned back from Africa for a face-to-face showdown with the assertive and commanding Theresa May. Ms Patel stood accused of lying to Theresa May by having meetings with the Israeli’s behind her back. So, the dynamic May, faced with this embarrassment to her government, did what most leaders with the upper-hand would do and allowed Priti Patel to resign, and remain an MP. However, Ms Patel has now become the second Conservative cabinet minister to be forced out due to scandal this week.

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With the pitchforks being out for Priti Patel, PR practitioners up and down the country were scurrying out round the back with their shovels to find a good place to bury some bad news.

Step forward M&S – they today announced that they would be opening fewer ‘Simply Food’ stores than expected as their food sales have taken a hit. Patrick O’Brien, UK research director at GlobalData Retail, stated: “When you compare that to the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, whose recent like-for-likes have been around 2% plus, that’s a pretty bad performance.”

He had previously described food as ‘a banker’ for M&S and “For it to be losing ground at a time of inflation is really quite damaging,” he said. Let down by a banker, imagine that.

For the group, overall total sales rose by 2.6% to £5.1bn, but pre-tax profit fell by 5.3% to £219.1m.

Our good ol’ friends at the Student Loans Company (SLC) also used this week to bury a bit of bad news as they announced the sacking of chief executive Steve Lamey. They stated that they were terminating his contract after ‘investigations into allegations about aspects of his management and leadership’. This makes Mr Lamey the third boss of the SLC to leave in a row, confidence inspiring eh. Shadow Universities Minister was on standby to give us some words of encouragement however!

“Whilst the full details have yet to become clear, the Student Loans Company appears to be approaching a situation of meltdown.

There needs to be an urgent, substantial inquiry into all aspects of the way they operate with HMRC.

This worrying situation has been compounded by an ongoing stream of accounts over the past few months in the media, and based on numerous individual stories appearing, of the inadequacies of the Student Loans Company to properly administer student loans and specifically repayments.”

And last, but certainly not least. The Government took advantage to bury some bad news. With arguably the most consequential story of the week as it was announced that Britain’s police budgets are to lose £700m by 2020. You hear it all the time, you heard it a lot through the last election and you’ll hear it again in January’s general election, the police are under ‘significant stress’. The police asked for an extra £400m per year and were duly given the opposite and by 2021 the workforce will have reduced by 2%! This is coming from the government that has previously stated they’ve protected police budgets. This is coming along with a 11% rise recorded crime. This is news coming out at the perfect time for it to not be noticed.

Anthony Boyd is a final year student on Bsc in Public Relations at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @anthonyboyd16 or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-boyd-4a5a63b4/

Make the most of your mobile by making a movie…

As one of the @CIPR_NI student ambassadors I have the pleasure of attending their events. This week I attended the Mobile Movie Making workshop hosted by the lovely Niamh MacCauley, Video Marketing Officer at Purple Dot Videos (@DgnEnterprise). Before attending this event I always thought of myself as a wiz at making movies, mostly for family events or to make a university presentation that bit more interesting. Little did I know how impactful a video could be to promote a product or make a company’s website stand out from their competitors. Niamh summed up just how important video marketing can be for her clients by pointing out that ‘it only takes two minutes to watch a video that would take ten minutes to read.’ In today’s digital age, everything can be done on our phones. Need to book a taxi? Use your phone. Want to pay for a coffee? Use your phone. Want to make a promotional video for a client? Use your phone!
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Many people would assume that videos made for a company are filmed using the most high tech equipment to make sure everything looks professional, think again! Niamh showed an example of a video she had made for a client, asking the audience to pick out which frames had been filmed using a phone and which were captured on a drone. It was impossible to tell! The whole video was smooth and high quality, I would never have guessed any of it was filmed on an iPhone. Whether you need a video for Facebook or for the foyer of a waiting room, a mobile can be used to capture and edit the piece. Niamh’s first golden rule of making a video for any occasion is to keep it short and sweet, especially for social media, no longer than sixty seconds. The workshop was graced with workers from Q Radio (@goQRadio) and Belfast Telegraph (@BelTel) to name but a few, many of whom use mobile journalism (mojo) on a daily basis. Niamh relayed her mojo tool kit; the first item may surprise you… a selfie stick. Yes, the holiday maker’s favourite selfie stick can be used to film mobile videos and create weird and wonderful angles. The only downside is you need an incredibly steady hand or you may end up with a rather shaky video. If you are not blessed with a steady hand a trusty tripod can also be used for mobile videos.
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The next piece of equipment Niamh recommended was the Mobile gimbal, which can cleverly transform a mobile into a smart motion camera. Although it may set you back around £200, a mobile gimbal is a must have if you want to create smooth and slick videos. A slightly cheaper must have to keep in your mojo toolkit is a power bank. As many of you may realise taking videos can drain your battery, so if you are taking footage at an event don’t be caught out by that red flashing low battery light.
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I don’t want to give away too many of Niamh’s top tips, so I’ll give you an insight into the practical elements of the workshop. Create your own coffee advert… In a group of tea drinkers, I was assigned to be the coffee drinker, not that I was complaining on a Friday morning. Our brief, to show the coffee being enjoyed and stirred. Once Niamh had rounded up all groups videos she was able to quickly edit it all together using the video editing programme Magisto, to show us the finished product. Magisto converted our mobile videos into a captivating story in a matter of minutes.
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Not only can your mobile be used to record videos it can also be used to edit your work. Niamh’s favourite editing app being Splice. Niamh finished by highlighting that a ‘website is fifty times more likely to appear on the first page of a search engine results page if it includes a video.’ So, get your mobiles out and start videoing!

Olivia x

Olivia McAleenan is studying for a MSc in Communications and Public Relations with Advertising at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @OliviaMcAleenan / LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/olivia-mcaleenan-88774413b /Facebook – Olivia McAleenan / Instagram @oliviamcaleenan

Dior Catastrophe With Cara Delevingne

WHAT DID DIOR DO WRONG IN THIS CAMPAIGN?

 Dior has successfully gotten international media coverage about their new Capture Youth product with the face of the product being Cara Delevingne. The response to Dior’s selection of a 25 year old model/actress, Delevingne, was definitely not the coverage or reaction that they expected. The target audience of this product is not having it, and quite an uproar has commenced with all different generations expressing feelings of confusion, anger, and hurt. Women of all ages say that Dior missed the target audience by selecting Delevingne to head the campaign because she’s too young, she doesn’t have any wrinkles, and they have nothing in common with her.

In fairness I can certainly see why Dior might have thought it was a good idea to have a beautiful 25 year old woman as the face of their campaign, but their obvious message, if you use our product, this is the results that you’ll get – the flawless look of Cara Delevingne, is so far out of the realm of reality as to be absurd. Now that being said, can we just talk about all the different ways Dior’s PR with this campaign was a huge flop? Dior’s intended audience is women who have wrinkles, so clearly women pushing mid-thirties and beyond. That makes sense; this is the correct target audience. These are the women who are going to be buying this product with the hopes of seeing less wrinkles and a younger face. Dior needed to be a little more realistic… no matter how much of this cream women in their target audience use, they are never going to look like Delevingne, someone who hasn’t lived long enough to have any wrinkles, so why piss off and offend your target audience? Delevingne would be perfect if you were targeting audiences who consisted of teenagers and twenty year olds. At least then Delevingne would give an accurate and more realistic product testimony on what the product did for her and could do for them. Dior’s target audience is not going to take this product seriously because they’re not seeing someone their age “using” it and showing the “amazing” results. The lack of common ground they have with Delevingne when it comes to products like this is decades’ worth. There is just absolutely no way that she can give a product testimony that will actually persuade the target audience to take this product seriously and to actually try it. Rightfully so.

You wouldn’t see Clinique release some product aimed at twenty year olds with Jennifer Aniston as the face of their campaign because the product doesn’t relate to Aniston and Aniston doesn’t relate to the target audience. (Still a huge fan of Jennifer, goals.) I honestly don’t understand how Dior thought this was a good idea. How did they not see the problems that would come from this? It was a good try, Dior, but better luck next time. Next time go with Jennifer Aniston or someone equally as beautiful and equally as mature. At almost 50 years old, Aniston is the beautiful woman whom your target audience would’ve related to the most and would’ve sold the product better.

INSPIRATION THAT DIOR CLEARLY NEEDED

 I guess it was wishful thinking that Dior paid attention and took notes from past campaigns that were successful. Let’s take a look at Aveeno’s 2014 Positively Radiant Face Moisturizer with Jennifer Aniston as the face of the campaign.

Younger and older generations look at Jennifer Aniston as a beautiful, successful, glowing woman. In the commercials you see Aniston’s face literally radiating with a healthy, young, and wrinkle free look. Yes, we know Photoshop has a lot to do with lack of wrinkles and the exuberant radiant look on her face, but when people see that commercial, that is not the first thing that comes to mind. The first thing that comes to mind is, “Wow, she looks absolutely stunning. I need to use whatever she’s using.” Next they see and hear Aniston’s product testimony on how that specific product is what made her face look so flawless on top of radiant. I mean, why would the target audience not buy and use a product that looks like it has successful results with a ‘credible’ product testimony?

DIOR’S NEXT STEP

Dior is one of the most well-known and respected brands in the world, so no matter how horrible this campaign went, they have the chance to really fix this. They could partner Delevingne up with an actress or model who is older and produce a short film. In the short film they could have a woman reminiscing about her younger days with her young, radiant, and smooth looking skin. Her younger self could be portrayed by Delevingne and have the more accurate representative talk about how well the cream has worked to getting back to her old skin.

No matter what Dior chooses to do next in response to this campaign, they better go at it with a more conscious and sensitive approach. Audiences don’t like to be lied to or insulted, and with this campaign Dior tried to do the former and succeeded brilliantly with the latter. It remains to be seen whether their reputation is injured beyond repair. After several decades of selling fine cosmetics, I tend to think they can rehabilitate their reputation, but this kind of campaign can’t be ignored. The modern consumer is a lot more intolerant of such antics and companies, like Dior, can quickly find themselves in quite a fix. A repeat performance may have women permanently abandoning the brand altogether in favour of a more respectful vendor.

 

Emily Williard is an exchange student, currently studying public relations at Ulster University, as part of her degree in Public Relations at Appalachian State University in the US. She can be contacted on Instagram at emilee_5 or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-williard-0196a4151.