Kristen Marino

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Freedom to Be Creative

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During my education – in both high school and the first half of college – I have had lots of opportunities to be creative. But even in those moments, there have almost always been clear guidelines, instructions or requirements that have, in a way, stifled my creativity.

After my sophomore year I had more freedom to choose topics and projects in which I was actually interested, but it wasn’t until I watched the documentary “Briefly” by Bassett & Partners that I realized how much the years of restrictions had affected me.

While watching the documentary, I was almost shocked to hear the various creatives talk about how flexible the creative brief was. The idea that a “great project is a brief and response that resonate but don’t agree” was so new to me because in almostScreen Shot 2017-04-16 at 4.56.45 PM all of my previous experiences, the end result should have naturally and logically followed the initial assignment.

It was also surprising that the team actually prefers clients who don’t have one campaign in mind, but rather those that have a long-term marketing or branding goal. For example, Samsung’s brief to become the “credible number two to the smartphone leader” was intriguing because it wasn’t simply requesting an advertising campaign – it wanted a strategic plan to develop its name.

This relates perfectly to the statement made by one of the creatives in the documentary. “I don’t believe in briefs,” he said. “I believe in relationships.” In other words, creating a compelling campaign is not as simple as following instructions by the client. Rather, it requires a dialogue, an honest conversation about the brand’s ultimate goals, values and priorities.

Finally, the idea that you should “use the projects you’re given as a way to start to define how you think” greatly resonated with me. All too often I view assignments as short-term requirements I must complete to receive the grade I want or to add something to my resume. But when it comes down to it, I should view assignments as creative opportunities to explore what I care about; what I might want to pursue after graduation and what type of person, thinker and professional I might want to become.

Because, for better or for worse, May 2018 is only one short year away.

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Open Space in the Soda Market

Brands must have meaningful purposes and target specific niches. They must evoke positive emotional connections with consumers so shoppers will purchase them. While three soda brands – Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Pepsi – have unique messaging, there may be space for a new brand focused on individualism and defying the mainstream.

Coca-Cola’s Facebook messaging radiates with themes of closeness, warmth and nostalgia. It evokes happy emotions that create strong, positive affective links, which might persuade consumers. Its “#ShareACoke” hashtag reflects this, as well as its advertisements.

Coke’s planners probably discovered when, where and why people have soda. It probably learned that people have it when socializing and want to feel connected. Coke’s advertisements resonate with me because they remind me of memories with friends, leaving me more likely to remember those happy moments when I see Coke. These communications are probably not meant for those who do not enjoy socializing or soda.

Dr Pepper focuses on taste, necessity and craving. Its Facebook is filled with themes of wanting, relating to how people feel when they simply cannot go without the sugary beverage.

Researchers probably discovered when and why people want Dr Pepper and how they feel when they cannot have it. They might have found that people want it immediately and hate to wait. This could have led to copy about satisfying your craving, appealing to people’s physiological states and trying to evoke desire. This does not resonate with me because I strongly dislike Dr Pepper. Likewise, this strategy would not work for those who do not crave drinks or dislike Dr Pepper.

Finally, Pepsi’s messages are filled with celebrity, fame and football. They appeal to the need for social desirability, suggesting that if people drink Pepsi they will be popular, well-liked and trendy. For example, Pepsi recently did a massive sweepstakes.

Planners at Pepsi could have discovered that people drink soda to feel popular. They might have learned that people want to feel accepted and wish they could be like celebrities. This does not resonate with me because I prefer Coke, but it could work on those who want to be trendy and do not have strong preferences.

After evaluating these competitors, I think there might be an open space for a new brand. It could focus on individualism, being yourself without regard for what others are doing. While Coke focuses on camaraderie, Pepsi on being trendy and Dr Pepper on cravings, there might be a niche of those who want to be different and not stick to the status quo.