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Jason Alleger

Have you ever wondered what marketers know about you? In a nutshell, websites have access to your (a) IP address and (b) web browsing data. I will walk you through both and you can decide if it’s creepy.

IP Address: This is provided by your internet provider and gives away your zip code. That’s why if you search for an address it will give you one nearby. Go ahead and try it, type “Walmart” into Google and you’ll see their locations nearest you.

Web Browsing Data: You leave a trail on every website you visit. This gives a better snapshot of your specific demographics—gender, age, if you’re pregnant, looking for a job, a holiday shopper, etc. To get an idea of what marketers know about you, check out Google’s Ad Preferences.

For example, here’s what Google knows about me:

  • Male, age 25-34 who speaks English (100 percent correct)
  • Live in Utah (also correct)
  • Interested in online communities, specifically social networks (I check Mashable daily)
  • Interested in computers & electronics, specifically consumer electronics and even boils that down to gadgets and portable electronics (yes, I usually watch the Apple events live-stream)
  • Sports cycling category (we have a bicycle safety client)
  • Listen to urban & hip-hop music (pretty close, Google. I prefer alternative/indie but am flattered nonetheless.)

Using this information, marketers will tailor ads to be more relevant to you. Interestingly, according to a comScore study, just the exposure to display ads will increase your likelihood to purchase the advertised product.

What do you think: is using online data invasive or do you appreciate it? Let us know in the comments.

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Contributed by Lora Stead

Death is on my mind.

I’m not talking about the Halloween-themed death with goblins and zombies, but the real-life loss of a loved one. My dear grandmother passed away this week at 90 years old, after living a full life of love, marriage, motherhood and service. It has been very hard to lose this dear part of my family, yet I’m grateful she was able to live for so long. I saw my grandmother for one of the last times after attending a remembrance event we put on last Saturday with the Utah Department of Health and the Teen Task Force to honor teens killed in Utah car crashes.

The event was held in conjunction with the release of the 2011 Teen Memoriam booklet, which shares the stories of some of these teens. For the past five years, the parents of teens killed in Utah traffic crashes have chosen to bravely share their stories so others might choose to drive safer. Hearing their heart-wrenching experiences, I was struck with the contrast of saying goodbye to my grandmother in her old age and these parents and siblings who never got that chance.

I can’t imagine being in the shoes of loved ones who have experienced the death of a youth. Unfortunately, there are far too many who know how that feels. Twenty-three teens were killed just last year in Utah traffic crashes. My heart truly goes out to their families who try to live without their vibrant teens.

I know we all think it will never happen to us, to die young or that we will lose someone we love at a young age, but I’ve listened to the tears and stories of those that have. Car crashes are real. Death is real. But death from car crashes can be prevented.

Please choose to drive safely. To quote the mother of 18-year-old Rinze Davidson, who died in 2011, don’t drive unsafely because, “It’s not fair to the people who love you.”

To read the stories of these teens, check out the Teen Memoriam, which is available on the Don’t Drive Stupid website.

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A media and technology journalist at a prominent newspaper once lamented that she had the dubious role of writing her own obituary. The irony is not easily lost on anyone who continues to read about the declining circulation of today’s newspapers in you guessed it, an actual newspaper. So with Newsweek‘s announcement last week (written in the magazine’s faster-paced, hip digital younger sister, The Daily Beast) that as of December 31st, it will no longer send its content to the presses for publication and eventual delivery to your mailbox, we are left to wonder not if, but when, digital media will finally kill off its elders.

But not so fast. The story of newspapers and magazines is not quite the same. While single-copy sales at newsstands are down 9.6 percent, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reports a 1.1 percent increase in paid subscriptions for the first half of the year. Ad revenue for magazines increased 2.6 percent to $18.3 billion. During the first nine months of the year, a whopping 181 magazines were launched, while only 61 closed. While these figures aren’t signs of a bullish growth industry, they certainly aren’t the signs of a dying one either.  The Economist, New Yorker, The Week, Men’s Health and The Atlantic have all seen healthy gains in the past year, with The Economist going from 844,000 to 1.6 million subscribers in a single year.

So why Newsweek? When I worked for brands that could actually afford to advertise in the likes of TimeNewsweek or US News & World Report (also now only digital), general newsweeklies were always a hard sell. The enormous circulation that newsweeklies once had made them competitive to the mass audience you’d get with a TV spot in primetime. We looked at measurements like coverage and composition. Coverage is the percentage of your target audience that a magazine delivered (the more general the magazine, the larger the audience and coverage). Composition is the percentage of the magazine’s circulation that fits your target (the more niche the magazine, the better the composition. Utah Business is a niche publication for business leaders in Utah – see if you can spot our ad). As circulation declined, we could get better coverage elsewhere. Today it no longer makes sense to spend more than $125,000 on a full-page ad for a brand that could tell a richer story with the sight and sound of TV or the interactive dynamics of digital. Even as some magazines grow their circulation, convincing advertisers it is still a cost-effective form of advertising is an uphill battle.

So you tell us, is print dead? Instead of a carefully organized spread of magazines on our lobby coffee table here at PPBH, will we be offering our visitors tablets and e-readers with custom content while they wait? And will Newsweek be one of those choices? Look into your crystal ball and show us the future.

 

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When I left news for PR (aka the “dark side”) a year and a half ago, little did I know what I was really getting myself into. Sure, I knew I’d be writing press releases, holding media briefings and coordinating with news outlets. And like many naive newsroom veterans who have made the jump to PR, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the profession. I mean, come on… this was going to be easy. I’d been dealing with PR people for the better part of a decade. I knew what worked, what a newsroom was looking for and frankly, how to avoid many of the irritating and annoying behaviors that drove me nuts when I was working in news.

Newsflash. PR is so much more than simply working with the media. If your idea of work is an easy 8-to-5 shift, schmoozing clients and sending out a press release once in a while, this is the wrong career for you. While PR involves all of the things I just listed, that is really only 20 percent of the job. The majority of your time working in PR will be spent on comprehensive planning and research. It involves early mornings, late nights, working from home, lots of meetings and to dispel any myths… yes… even sometimes you get to work on holidays and weekends (insert shocked gasp). Most importantly, PR involves teamwork.

These days, I’ve officially traded breaking news for brainstorming. In fact, brainstorming is one of my favorite parts of the job, and watching a communication plan come to life is even better. One of the amazing things I have found at PPBH is that because we are a full-service advertising, interactive, public involvement and public relations agency, I get to work side-by-side with the best of the best across all facets of the communication industry. I cannot tell you how refreshing and exciting it is to work with people from every department as we devise plans and solutions for our clients. Because we involve so many people with different backgrounds and specialties, our team is able to come up with unique and creative ways to spotlight our clients that I would never have been able to think of on my own. Sure, PR isn’t what I thought it was going to be when I left the newsroom—it’s even better than I thought it would be.

Other lessons learned since joining the “dark side”
1. Event planning is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it will rain on your beautiful outdoor event. Sometimes the vendors don’t all deliver. You have to just learn to roll with the punches… and it sure feels great when you get fantastic news coverage despite the craziness behind the scenes.

2. Press conferences are still boring and media generally doesn’t like them. There are certain scenarios that call for a press conference (e.g., crisis, death, etc.) but other than that, it’s really best to steer away from them.

3. I no longer need the sounds of blaring police scanners to comfort me and I actually enjoy listening to myself think. My migraines have mysteriously disappeared and my hearing has also improved. I do find myself still saying 10-4 from time to time, though.

4. In PR, every day is a job interview. Having an “off” day is really not an option. That’s not to say that you need to be fake and happy all the time. But you do need to always bring your “A game” to the table. Your clients deserve that.

5. I still love breaking news and I get an adrenaline rush whenever a big story comes on. The difference now is that once I confim that one of my clients is not involved… I enjoy watching it from the comfort of my couch.

 

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Contributed by Jane Putnam

It’s a good question to ask yourself: how does your website make you (your company) look? Taking it beyond that—if your website was an employee, would you give them a raise… or fire them?

These questions aren’t meant to be rhetorical—we’ll help you answer them! (Seriously, we all hate that person that asks the thought-provoking question… and then doesn’t give you any direction or idea on how to answer it!) Check out these PPBH resources for all of your website, digital and interactive questions:

What questions do you have about your company’s online presence? Let us know in the comments.

Check out our ad in the October issue of Utah Business magazine. Recognize that person (behind the clown face)? The ad features PPBH’s very own Jason Alleger!

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Contributed by Patty Clark

The walk to retrieve your diploma from the distinguished head of your college can be pretty dizzying and surreal. Not only does your routine from the last four years completely change, you have the daunting task of finding someone to pay you for whatever obscure degree you thought was a good idea in your optimistic and (let’s face it) naïve first year of college.

Luckily I came from a great program that really helped prepare me for the big bad world of adults. Here are a few things that helped me land my first job in the ad industry as a copywriter:

Degree
A degree won’t automatically sign you up for a job these days, but it will put you on the playing field for eligible candidates. The easiest way to shorten the long list of potential hires is to scratch off the ones without a degree. It didn’t hurt that my advertising degree came from an award-winning program with reputable professors.

Portfolio
Any chump can maneuver their way through four years of college without learning a single thing. A portfolio is what proves you actually did something during that time. If you’re going after a creative job in the ad industry, a portfolio is definite must. Our program went one step further and made the management track create portfolios as well. And there’s a lot to show off. What projects were you involved in? What did you do? What was the strategy? What did the end result look like? Christie Clark is an advertising account coordinator here, and she found that a portfolio helped show off her work and presentation skills. It may not be typical to have a portfolio, but going the extra mile will definitely impress.

Reference
Thank goodness for the small world that is Utah. One of my professors knew the head honchos here at PPBH and gave the appropriate nudges and winks. Thanks to LinkedIn, or any other networking means you have up your sleeve, finding someone that works where you’re interviewing at might not be so difficult. Give them a ring and try to balance that thin line between acting eagerly excited about the job opportunity and desperately groveling for a paycheck.

Experience
After smelling like fries, soup and salad during my entire Freshman year, I decided I wouldn’t take another dining commons job or anything else unless it was resume worthy. I would take out loans if it meant I could concentrate on what would really help me. Eventually I got a great job at BYUtv giving me experience in both production and creative teamwork. I also did an internship at an advertising agency in New York called Arnold. Because of this, I could prove that I knew beyond the theoretical elements of the classroom.

The Extra Mile
Everything I’ve listed above is more or less expected. A killer portfolio and trusted reference are things that any other candidate could have. So why not try something outside of the expected? Ali Dangerfield, fellow designer here at PPBH, turned in an infographic instead of a typical resume. For my cover letter, I decided my hand at honesty and told them upfront a few reasons why they should and shouldn’t hire me. One reason to hire me: I’ve never been to jail. One reason to think twice: I read the first Twilight book. I know… Don’t judge me.

Good luck with your job-hunting endeavor. Tell us what helped you get your first mad job in the comments below.

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Pictured from left to right: Mitch, Christie, Thor, Dave, Raymo, Jason, Patty. Not pictured: Ali, Clayton, Christina, Jeff

Contributed by Jason Alleger

Along with advertising, PR, interactive and public involvement, PPBH is considering adding soccer as its fifth discipline. Employees at PPBH participated in their first outdoor soccer league through Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation. This was an excellent activity to get out of our offices and contribute to the local soccer community. We’ll let the statistics speak for how our team did:

2012 Soccer Record

1 Win

1 Tie

5 Losses

Other Notable Statistics

  • One rolled ankle. Ouch!
  • Four total yellow cards (much lower than projected with a Scotsman on our team).
  • We only scored one goal on ourselves. Total accident.

Want to play on our team next year? Be sure to check out our recent job postings.

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We’re thrilled to announce the addition of a new client to our roster: Harmons, Your Neighborhood Grocer®.

PPBH will be providing all brand communications, creative development, public relations, social media and digital services, media planning and placement, and event support for Harmons Grocery. We have lots of great ideas and planning in the works, and can’t wait to show you what we’ve got up our sleeve.

In the meantime, we’ve become quite fanatic (many of us, also, have been lifelong Harmons fans) about the Harmons’ selection, possibly verging on obsessed. Next time you’re at your local Harmons, see if you can resist this list of our favorite delectable treats.

  • Bob’s Burgers with some blue cheese is essentially a “half-pound of heaven,” according to Managing Partner John Haynes. The only thing you’ll be able to utter before stuffing your face is a hearty, “Get in my belly!”
  • The best produce around. The PPBH vegetarian on staff can vouch for that!
  • We indulge in their delicious fancy cheeses, with pinkies raised, of course.
  • The freshly made granola makes eating healthy seem deliciously sinful. We even have it straight from the source that Bob Harmon eats this granola every morning on the way to work.
  • We may have taken more than our fair share of free samplings, which usually results in buying whatever it was we sampled. Seriously, everything at Harmons is so good!
  • Hands down, the best bakery and gelato in Utah. It’s like having France and Italy right at your doorstep.
  • The green onion cheese ball with almonds is huge hit for us around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • The. Best. Guacamole. Ever.
  • Although it’s not in the food category, our employees gave an all-around thumbs up to Harmons’ flowers. Media Planner Jason Alleger attests that the last bouquet he bought from Harmons lasted three weeks.

We’re sincerely crazy about Harmons. The quality of the food and stores blows us away, and we’re proud to be their new partners.

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Contributed by Patty Clark

Halloween is definitely one of my favorite holidays. Scary movies, haunted houses and freaky costumes are all a part of what makes this a great country. Plus, who doesn’t love getting paranoid while taking shower for at least a month? Thank you Psycho and The Grudge. So if you’re into the same sort of mentally masochistic activities that I am, then check out these freaky advertisements:

The Devil
As you begin watching this, you’ll probably ask yourself what kind of demented person makes these kind of commercials, much less recommend them. But trust me, the pay off is worth it.

Take This Lollipop
This is actually a good watch for anyone, especially for kids and teens learning their way around the Internet. It features a pretty freaky looking guy who goes through your actual posts on Facebook, providing an effective cautionary tale about the importance of Internet privacy.

Old Spice Jungle Wilderness
Old Spice’s testosterone-filled commercials out-man itself once again, claiming even horribly disfigured beings could be attractive with some Old Spice.

Zombie Anti-Virus
Halloween isn’t complete without a good dose of zombies. Even in the midst of an apocalypse, there are some brands that just refuse to stop working.

Birthday Cake
This one is a classic, down to a brand everyone loves and a creepy child, signature of scary movies like The Sixth Sense.

Which one is your favorite? Do you have any others to add to the list?

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The exaggerated snootiness of the Grey Poupon mustard brand that was fun to mimic in the 80s is reaching out to your Facebook page—that is, if they think you’re classy enough.

Earlier this month Grey Poupon launched a selective social media campaign, “Spread Good Taste,” thought up in part by BYU graduates Mitchell Stevens and Jonathan Wright while at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The idea not only makes me laugh but it works for me. After years of companies and brands clamoring for me to ‘like’ them on Facebook, it’s the nasally-voiced gentleman, lowering his spectacles to size me up, that gets my attention.

“Excuse me,” he says, “but did we say you could ‘like’ us?”

Members Only
So here’s how it works: If you’re dying to be in with their “Society of Good Taste,” you must first survive a screening process by a panel of snobs who make commentary while reviewing your Facebook activity. Among other things, they (and an algorithm) critique your taste in art, music and books and analyze you and your friends’ grammar (I received a snide comment when they found “ain’t” in a post). If you score high enough, you are allowed to ‘like’ the page. If you don’t, they politely reject you and suggest ways to become more refined so you can try again.

Spreading Good Taste
Beyond Facebook, Grey Poupon is spreading good taste by pinning all things that fit their brand on Pinterest.

Amidst a few offended comments and those that feel denying fans goes against what Facebook stands for, most online commentary that I’ve read commends the campaign idea as funny, creative and definitely brand-appropriate. So what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

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