From the Big Apple to Indy, How PR differs in the Markets

By Elizabeth Friendland

Throughout my decade of experience in advertising and public relations, I’ve worked in both New York (literally on Madison Avenue, a la Don Draper) and Indianapolis. The former always seems to impress clients and bosses, and is usually followed by a wide-eyes stare and a “So what’s it like?

Honestly? Working in the media capital of the world is a lot like working in good ‘ol Indy.

Clients are demanding. Deadlines are tight. The workday creeps into the nights and weekends. Account management and creative continue to disagree. Budgets run over. RFPs are both full of dread and excitement.

That’s not say there weren’t a few differences – but they might not all be what you’d expect.

1. Media relations didn’t get any easier.

Often, clients (and sometimes bosses) assume that by virtue of living in New York City, a PR professional is better equipped to know the right journalists (and therefore produce great placements). I’ve landed clients in the biggest outlets you can name, from The New York Times to Vogue to the Today Show — and it wasn’t because I had a 212 area code.

Rather, I got these placements through traditional research; I zeroed in on a contact (producer, reporter, booker) that I thought would be receptive, I contacted them with a super-targeted and personalized pitch regarding a truly compelling story, and I followed up.  Sure, occasionally I’d grab drinks or lunch with a writer, but that usually happened long after we solidified a working relationship through phone and email contact. I can assure you no one checked my zip code when deciding whether to run a story or not.

2. The industry environment was actually less competitive.

I’ve found that smaller markets, such as Indy, are actually much more competitive and cutthroat than larger markets like New York. In Indianapolis and other similarly sized cities, there are a limited number of clients that can afford the services of agencies; therefore, we’re all trying that much harder to vie for a smallish pool of business. For professionals, finding a job can be extremely tough – there are very few positions to go around, so agencies can be hyper-selective.

In New York, it seems nearly everyone works in or around the advertising industry, and jobs are plentiful. While it’s easier to get a foot in the door and obtain a job offer, the stakes are higher; there’s a seemingly endless supply of New York transplants waiting behind you to take the job you won’t (or can’t) do. While agencies in New York do have egos, it doesn’t feel as cutthroat as a small town; there’s plenty of business to pass around.

3. Clients took more risks.

Yes, it’s a cliché that Midwestern owned or based businesses are more conservative, but I’ve experienced this to be true. While few clients, regardless of geography, are flexible enough to totally run with any crazy idea an agency pitches its way, my New York clients seemed to have a larger capacity for risk. Perhaps this reflected a more liberal culture, or perhaps it was solely a business decision – to compete in a larger market, you sometimes have to be over-the-top to attract attention.

4. Salaries were inflated (but it didn’t help).

I remember sitting in the president’s office when she gave me graduate for my first big girl job offer. She asked what I wanted to be paid, and I told her a number nearly ten thousand more than I was making in Indianapolis as a receptionist/PR assistant. As I steadied myself for her shock and horror, she laughed and exclaimed, “Oh, we can do much better than that!” and then threw out a number more than double what I had been making. I had visions of myself living in a penthouse apartment, rolling around in a bathtub filled with dollar bills. I was rich!

That didn’t last long. The reality of New York City rent, utilities and elevated prices on everything from food to toilet paper set in, and within a month I was phoning home for cash infusions. While my salary would have placed me solidly in the upper middle class in Indianapolis, I was struggling to cover the very basics in New York.

5. The pace was unrelenting.

There’s a reason Sinatra sang, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” New York doesn’t hold your hand. I found myself in the office before 6 a.m. and heading home close to midnight. I’m not sure I took an actual lunch hour the entire time I worked there (but man, do I miss deli deliveries!). While my bosses and supervisors were all lovely people and supportive in their own way, there was not the kind of mothering or hand-holding that is truer to the Midwestern spirit. “Figure it out!” was the refrain I heard time and time again.

Hirons Welcomes Six New Hires: Agency’s digital and Creative Departments Continue to Grow

Hirons welcomes six new hires
Agency’s digital and creative departments continue to grow

Indianapolis — Hirons Advertising and Public Relations has made six strategic hires in multiple departments to bolster an already talented staff.

John Molloy, Carrie Marsteller and Luke Woody-Fehribach join Hirons’ creative department.

Molloy joins Hirons as executive creative director and brings a wealth of experience on regional, national and international brands along with numerous local and regional ADDY awards. His work has been showcased in such prestigious annuals as Communication Arts Advertising and Design, LogoLounge and Graphics.

Marsteller makes her return to Hirons as an associate art director. A graduate of the Herron School of Art and Design, she spent her senior year interning at Hirons before relocating to New York City. There, she worked for many well-known clients including Bayer Diabetes and Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol with brands such as Smirnoff, Ciroc and Crown Royal.

New associate art director Woody-Fehribach comes to Hirons as a recent graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising and creative development. Woody-Fehribach interned with Barn-Find Productions (where he won a creative Emmy for his photography work), Redwall LIVE and Cardinal Communications.

Hirons also welcomes Jake Miller as a senior producer, Meghan Hamm as digital media strategist, and Chloe Lyzun as management coordinator.

As a senior public relations consultant and producer, Miller brings his award-winning talents as a former TV news anchor and reporter to Hirons. As a journalist, Miller has covered stories from natural and man-made disasters to the Super Bowl. A native Hoosier, Miller studied telecommunications, marketing and anthropology at Indiana University.

Hamm will serve Hirons as digital media strategist — a new position on the Hirons roster. She will be focusing on digital strategy in marketing campaigns. Prior to joining Hirons, Hamm managed online marketing at an ecommerce company. Hamm is a graduate of Butler University, where she received a double bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing/international business.

Lyzun has been promoted from intern to management coordinator. A graduate of Butler University with a degree in public relations and advertising, she previously interned with Live Nation, MOKB Presents and Do317 prior to joining Hirons.

“We are thrilled to add outstanding talent to the Hirons team as our year comes to a close,” said Tom Hirons, president and CEO of Hirons. “2015 will undoubtedly bring bold work as a result of our brilliant and enthusiastic staff.”

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About Hirons

Hirons Advertising and Public Relations, established in 1978 by Tom Hirons, is headquartered in Indianapolis and is ranked as both a top 100 advertising and top 100 PR firm in the U.S. Hirons is a digital leader in advertising, public relations, public affairs and media buying. Hirons’ clients include leading private, public and nonprofit sector organizations locally and nationally. Hirons is an employee-owned company. For more information, find Hirons on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Hirons provides a collegial work environment fueled by innovation and passion. Peer mentoring and collaboration inform everything we do, from conceptualizing to presenting award-winning solutions to our clients. Hirons employees are more than just worker bees; they’re actual owners of the company. In 2013, Hirons transferred ownership of the company to a trust on behalf of its employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. By giving our employees the keys to the agency (literally and figuratively), our team is uniquely motivated to produce the very best work possible — after all, we own the place.

To learn more about potential employment opportunities, visit http://hirons.wpengine.com/contact/career-opportunities/.

Employee Ownership: How to Attract the Very Best People

By Jim Parham, Chief Operating Officer

This month we celebrate employee ownership month at Hirons. An ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) is an employee benefit program that often goes unnoticed. Basically, the definition sounds much like the name—employees working hard to attain profits that, in turn, are distributed back to them in shares of stock.

I worked for an ESOP for 10 years prior to joining the ranks at Hirons & Company and the approach was very new to me. But employee ownership is on the rise in the United States and by all accounts, it’s working very well. There are currently 14.7 million participants with 8,926 ESOP or ESOP-like plans.

Hirons & Company is now four years into the transformation from a traditionally established company to an ESOP. We’ve worked with some of the best people in the U.S. to establish and manage this innovative and exciting way to run a company.

Unlike many privately-held firms, where profits and control are handled by one person, a board, or Wall Street, an ESOP uses specific government-regulated methodologies to provide employees with an opportunity to vest in the company.

The benefits are obvious. Each year, stock shares are distributed to qualified employee owners, usually at no cost to the employees, and are vested over a period of time. The stock values are determined by the performance of the firm, not by a far-away board sitting in a high rise on Madison Avenue, New York.

Work hard, reap benefits. Work hard, gain equity in the company. Not a bad deal, is it?

Today, with Millennials accumulating in the workplace, companies are trying to find a way to build loyalty and longevity among their employees. The stereotype is that the average young professional is changing jobs more often than their jeans, and it’s a very expensive process to be constantly hiring and losing employees.

An ESOP operates much like a 401K retirement plan. So, while the stock benefit may be substantial, it’s not readily available to the employees like a cash bonus. This may be why some employee owned companies are not seeing the ESOP as “golden handcuffs” to keep valued employees around. But for those willing to invest and stick with the company, things can be pretty rosy in the future. Again, this is a positive outlook based upon company performance.

“I’m a young professional with a degree, energy and stick-to-itiveness and the Hirons ESOP works for me,” states Courtney Smallwood, the new business manager at Hirons. “Today, it’s often short attention span theatre with my peers when it comes to settling into a job. I prefer to be steady and stable in a position with growth opportunity, which is exactly what Hirons provides with its ESOP.”

ESOP’s have increased in popularity to the point that how-to seminars are popping up like daffodils in the spring. It seems that many firms, struggling to justify traditional organizational frameworks, are turning to this progressive and employee-centric model. The U.S. government is involved in ESOP’s too (well, what is the government not involved in?). The Department of Labor has a large number of employees dedicated to regulating ESOP’s and ensuring correct valuations and prohibited transactions.

Business in America is constantly evolving to meet customer demands. An ESOP is an important tool in the box when it comes to being malleable in the marketplace and attracting and keeping the best-in-class employees.

Intern Spotlight: Emma Miller

Intern Spotlight: Emma Miller

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Name: Emma Miller
School: Indiana University, Fairbanks School of Public Health
Major: MS in Biostatistics, MPH in Epidemiology
Internship title: Communications Management Assistant
Hobbies: Hanging out with friends, traveling, watching mindless television shows and playing soccer

Duties at Hirons:

  • Facilitate communications for public relations and advertising initiatives to ensure timely response to clients, task coverage, data management, quality control, and intra-company cooperation
  • Draft scopes of work, project timelines, meeting agendas, communications plans, press releases, messaging, and collateral copy for client accounts
  • Track media coverage and follow up with media contacts to ensure placement of client pieces
  • Worked as a member of the branding team for Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management to develop a presentation, talking points, social media strategy, and messaging for the new STEM focus

Favorite part about interning at Hirons:

A small company like Hirons facilitates teamwork and nurtures friendships among co-workers. I have had the pleasure of working with a number of talented individuals, all of whom bring a unique perspective to Hirons and the creative process. This has enabled me to see how the same task can be approached from a variety of different ways. The people here seem to really care about identifying your talents and integrating them into the work that you do. At the end of the day, we support each other at work and in our personal lives. You never feel alone here!

Also, we are a dog friendly office (and this girl loves dogs). There are usually two to three dogs roaming the office at any given time, which really helps the office mood during high-stress times of trying to get a project out the door. Our furry friends remind us to take a break every now and again.

What have you learned during your time at Hirons? How does this opportunity relate to your career goals?

The skills I have cultivated at Hirons are highly transferable to the public health field. Being able to effectively convey your thoughts through written and verbal communication means that you will be successful in the business world regardless of your role. Most importantly, I have learned that you should treat yourself as your number one client to ensure that your actions are conducive to your end goals.

Most difficult aspect of the job:

Omitting the Oxford comma.

A Diverse City

By Matthew Neylon, Associate Copywriter

My great-grandfather was a tannery union organizer back in the early twentieth century here in Indianapolis.

Unfortunately, if you told someone who wasn’t from Indianapolis that leathering and tanneries were still a thriving business in this city, they would probably believe you.

To those outside of Indianapolis and Indiana at large, they don’t fully understand that our city is reinventing itself.

Let’s take a look at Indianapolis’ changing landscape.

Craft breweries are booming in this town – our consumer has an evolving change in taste, and that’s what’s causing a 50% increase in these breweries in the last year.

Indianapolis has always been a top sports city, but we also boast about being a top city for emerging industries in the life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing, logistics, motor-sports and clean technology.

So Indy has some pretty forward-thinking and savvy industries coming onto the scene. But what about the more creative industries? How’s our beloved advertising industry faring?

Looking at the big picture, advertising agencies have floated in a pretty stable industry. Economically speaking, advertising remains stagnant relative to the rest of the economy’s growth. The landscape hasn’t changed much for ad agencies, especially concerning diversity.

Eight years ago last week, the New York City Commission on Human Rights held hearings on how the advertising industry hires, retains and promotes minority employees.

I’m not going to get into the politics of the hearings, the outcomes or the status of the retention of minority employees (because honestly, if you need to turn in report cards to the government on how you’re hiring a brown person, there’s something systemically wrong). Instead, I’m going to comment on why diversity is important and why it’s exciting to be working in advertising in Indianapolis at a time like this.

White males have traditionally dominated the advertising workplace. It’s the old boys’ club. We usually liken it to Mad Men.

Let’s look at the numbers:

In 2013, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that of the 51,000 advertising and promotions managers in the US, 93.3% were white employees, 0.1% were black, 3.5% were Asian, 16.1% were Hispanic or Latino and 67.8% were women.

Of the 907,000 marketing and sales managers, 88.5% were white, 5% were black, 4.7% were Asian, 6.6% were Hispanic or Latino and 43.1% were women.

There’s not a lot of racial diversity going on here. But what is diversity beyond race and gender?

To me diversity is an inclusion and collaboration of different minds and walks of life.

Now what’s a minority? I believe this definition is malleable and subjective. When we see a lack of this so-called diversity, we can then easily identify a minority as the person that is missing from the picture. And when the so-called minority is in the picture, they’re the response for “which does not belong?”

In Indianapolis, if you look at me, I would be considered a minority. Don’t call me a professional on the matter; just consider me more cognizant than my Indy peers.

But why is diversity important?

Evolution is not possible without a little moving and shaking, a little change. We only see forward progress when someone asks “why?”

When someone asks the right questions, it leads to more creative ideas, perspectives, insights and experiences. In advertising, we are the creators of thought. We are the change agents. But we can only influence change when we’re familiar with it.

Plus, doing the same thing gets old. If I only had the option of eating vanilla ice cream, I’d get bored. I would want some variety to maintain my sanity. Albert Einstein famously said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Regardless of the numbers, we need more diversity in advertising. After all, if we’re trying to speak to and influence the public, we should represent and know to whom we’re talking. That’s just common sense.

Our demographic makeup in this city isn’t the same as when my great-grandfather was organizing unions in the early 1900s. Yet for some reason, the advertising industry still looks as if it hasn’t changed since then.

Despite the lack of what I’ve been commenting, I’m just excited to be working in the job I love. I wouldn’t want to be working in any other industry right now. And although it isn’t reinventing itself as much the rest of the city, I’m glad to be at the forefront of the change. The only direction to move from here is forward. I’m also glad I work at an agency that embraces diversity.

I can’t wait for the day when we view diversity in advertising as an antiquated topic, like how my grandmother tells me stories of my great-grandfather tanning leather with immigrant workers. Imagine the day when we can say, “Back in my day, diversity was this new-fangled notion sweeping the industry.”

A Way with Words

By Madeline Morgan, Senior Editor/Writer

First, a caveat:

I’m a bit of a throwback. I cook dinner just about every night, bought my first smartphone earlier this year and have no clue when women stopped wearing pantyhose.

But as lead editor here at Hirons, I see a lot. And one thing I see is a bright future for good writers.

Granted, I want to see a bright future, not only for me but also for my youngest son, who is majoring in journalism at IU. Nevertheless, I see in him and in several of the young people I work with an appreciation for this very old form of expression —  the drive to find the right word, to say what you mean,  to say it in a way that is not only true but fresh.

It’s a love of language, and it is as much an art form as painting and music. Writers, like other artists, want to explore the unexplored, to show their audiences a new way of looking at the world. And, despite what you may hear, it is not a lost art.

Naysayers point to the dwindling ranks of newspapers and magazines as evidence that writing isn’t prized anymore. And they charge that email and texting are making nouns, verbs and entire sentences obsolete.

Well, businesses, governments and social institutions expect you to use all of those fine words and more when it comes to pleading their cases and telling their stories. They want words that are descriptive, persuasive and riveting. They want punctuation that is correct, unobtrusive and helpful.

So writers: Take heart. If your goal is to work for a newspaper, you might need to be open to other media. But most companies and nonprofits employ writers in communications, marketing and development departments, and ad agencies employ them to fulfill the communications needs of their clients. The subject matter may not be of your choosing, but the process is the same: innovation, clarity and precision in language.

I’ve written all my life, and I believe some of my best stuff – the most fun stuff – has been on subjects not of my choosing – the Baby Boom generation, parade floats, septic systems. But therein lies the challenge: How can I make this interesting to the reader, and to myself? How can I make the words sing?

It never gets old.

Ad Agency Success: What Being Creative Really Means

By Jim Parham, Chief Operating Officer

At Hirons, a successful Midwestern advertising and public relations shop, we have a department officially designated as the Creative Department. This has been a standard practice in the ad biz long before “Mad Men” made us famous, or infamous.

I contend that just about everyone in the communications business, whether media buying types, public relations teams or advertising experts, are, by their very nature, creative.

Carolyn Gregoire, a features editor at the Huffington Post, recently wrote an article on what makes people, well, creative. In her article, 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/creativity-habits_n_4859769.html), she suggests that creative people fail up. Meaning, of course, they are not fearful of failing and are not detoured by roadblocks.

Here’s an excerpt from her article:

“Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives — at least the successful ones — learn not to take failure so personally.”

She cites Forbes contributor Steven Kotler, writing about Albert Einstein: “Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often.”

While for most businesses, failure is not an option, creative people in the communications business spend a lot of time thinking, rethinking, then testing and redoing a lot of work. Why?  Re-examination and retooling make a better final product.  And, creative communications people are not at all adverse to critical input and smart suggestions to make the work better. Just ask any reporter about how important an editor was to the final product.

While exceptional creative work may not take a village, it requires at least several pairs of eyes to think about the work as the client and final recipient will view it.  Hence, many agencies test the creative work (display ads, television spots or key messaging) on targeted publics before it goes final.

We’ve all heard the statements about right brain versus left brain and who is truly a creative type. Overall, while brain science is important and cannot be discounted, almost anyone can be successful developing a creative solution to a pressing problem. Just ask Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, inventor, engineer and sculptor.

Hirons Announces Promotions and New Hires

Hirons Announces Promotions and New Hires

Indianapolis – Hirons Advertising and Public Relations is welcoming four new staff members to the team, in addition to promoting four tenured employee owners.

Kendall Bybee, Candice Ingram and Blair Tilson all join Hirons as Account Coordinators in the Communications Management department. All three will be supporting Hirons public relations and advertising clients and senior staff.

Bybee graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Journalism, and has interned with the International Art Project and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. In addition, she served on committees for both the Spirit & Place Festival and the Beth Wood Chapter of PRSSA at Indiana University.

Ingram is a 2012 graduate of The University of Alabama, where she holds both a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Telecommunications and Film. She has interned at WVUA-TV in Tuscaloosa, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Browns.

Tilson is a recent graduate of Taylor University, with a degree in Public Relations. While in school, Tilson served as the Co Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Echo. She has interned with Taylor University, and served as the Vice President of the Taylor University PRSSA.

Deb Nowak has been hired as Executive Assistant. Nowak is accomplished in her field, with past experiences at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in addition to serving various leadership roles on committees for the Town of Speedway.

Chloe Lyzun has joined the agency as an Account/Traffic Coordinator. Lyzun is a graduate of Butler University with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising. She has interned with Live Nation, MOKB Presents and Do317 prior to joining Hirons.

Four current staff members have been promoted to new roles within the agency.

Kayla Carmichael has been promoted from Executive Assistant to Account Manager. Carmichael will use her knowledge gained throughout her seven years with the agency to lead clients including the Speedway Redevelopment Corporation, Eskenazi Health, and Stratice Healthcare.

After 14 years with Hirons, Jill Dodge has expanded her duties; in addition to serving as Print Designer, Jill is now lead Web Designer. Jill has worked on various major web projects, including the recent relaunch of IndianapolisZoo.com.

Erin Kimbowa has been promoted from Account Manager to Senior Account Manager. Kimbowa, who has been with the agency for six years, provides strategic leadership to accounts including Country Mark, the Indiana State Museum, Compass Rose Academy and Kelley Direct.

Karissa Tepe has been promoted from Account Coordinator to Account Manager. In her new role, Karissa provides leadership to accounts including the Indiana Secretary of State, Indianapolis Airport Authority, Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union, St. Elmo Steakhouse and Harry & Izzy’s Steakhouse.

“This is an incredible time of growth and evolution,” said Tom Hirons, CEO. “For 36 years, we’ve been providing our clients with bold ideas. Welcoming a new ‘class’ of employee owners and watching another group continue to advance in their careers with us is both humbling and thrilling.”

Hirons provides a collegial work environment fueled by innovative and passionate practitioners. Peer mentoring and collaboration inform everything we do, from conceptualizing to presenting award-winning solutions to our clients. Hirons employees are more than just worker bee; they’re the actual owners of the company. In 2013, Hirons transferred ownership of the company to a trust on behalf of its employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). By giving our employees the keys to the agency (literally and figuratively), our team is uniquely motivated to produce the very best work possible — after all, they own the place.

To learn more about potential employment opportunities, visit http://hirons.wpengine.com/contact/career-opportunities/.

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About Hirons
Hirons Advertising and Public Relations, established in 1978 by Tom Hirons, is headquartered in Indianapolis and is ranked as both a top 100 advertising and top 100 PR firm in the U.S. Hirons is a digital leader in advertising, public relations, public affairs and media buying. Hirons’ clients include leading private, public and nonprofit sector organizations locally and nationally. Hirons is an employee-owned company. For more information, find Hirons on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Intern Spotlight: Aly Weigel

Intern Spotlight

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Name: Aly Weigel
School: Indiana University
Graduation Year: 2016
Major: Journalism/Public Relations
Internship title: Communications Management Assistant
Hobbies: Drinking coffee, going to concerts, traveling, blogging, and finding a balance between working out and loving food

Duties at Hirons:

Hirons has allowed me to do a little bit of everything. Some of the things I have done during my time here are: research and organize information on current clients, write the first drafts of press releases, assist with projects and events, organize social media timelines and content, write blog posts, deliver samples and documents, create lists of local media outlets and contacts, and write and send pitches for news stories to local media.

Favorite part about interning at Hirons:

There are a couple of things I’ve really enjoyed about interning at Hirons. First of all, the staff here is absolutely wonderful. They are always so willing to help out whenever needed, and I never have to hesitate to ask questions when I don’t understand something. It’s apparent that the people who work here truly love their jobs, which has made me enjoy my time here that much more. Secondly, sometimes when you think “internship,” you think of mindless tasks and busy work, but that’s certainly not the case here. I’ve had the opportunity to work on important projects that have given me real hands-on experience in the fields of public relations and advertising. I feel like my time here is truly valued and utilized to the fullest, which keeps me motivated to work hard.

Most difficult aspect of the job:

Being a young college student who’s still trying to figure it all out, you could definitely say I have successfully mastered the art of procrastination. In a professional environment though, procrastination could potentially lead to a loss in business. The biggest challenge I have faced during my time at Hirons is learning how to manage my time wisely. Getting things completed efficiently, but also paying attention to detail is very important, especially in the world of public relations and advertising.

What have you learned during your time at Hirons? How does this opportunity relate to your career goals?

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked through the doors at Hirons on my first day, but I was definitely ready to soak it all in. Getting real life experience in the field that I hope to one day have a career in and developing my skill-set has been so exciting! In terms of what I’ve learned though, I think the real question is: what haven’t I learned? Having the opportunity to help with media plans, pitch to media outlets, communicate with clients, and even work in a professional environment are all things I had not previously experienced. These are skills that you just can’t learn while sitting in a classroom. I’m so thankful that I was able to have the opportunity to be a part of a thriving agency like Hirons and use my short time here to its’ full advantage.

Fun facts about Aly:

  • I’ll eat anything that involves peanut butter
  • I have lived on both coasts (California and North Carolina).
  • I also work at Scotty’s Brewhouse in downtown Indy, so if you’re ever in the area, stop by and say hi!

Just for Kicks

The World Cup is an exciting time, not only for soccer fans but for advertisers as well. With one of the highest viewing rates of any televised sporting event, soccer players aren’t the only ones who take center stage … or field.

Before the first kickoff, the reach of World Cup advertisements had surpassed that of Super Bowl 2014. According to marketing research by Google, advertisements related to the World Cup have been posted and/or shared 6.9 million times compared to the 4.7 million shares generated by Super Bowl commercials.

Fútbol, 1. Football, 0.

But how is this possible?

With such a culturally diverse fan base, soccer is considered the world’s most popular sport.  And, because of the way the game is played, advertisers have had to be more creative.

If you are familiar with soccer (unlike me), you probably know that it is a game played in complete halves with no breaks in between. While that may contribute to the high number of people actually tuning in, it doesn’t leave much room for conventional advertising.

This year, savvy marketers such as Nike, Adidas and McDonald’s have come up with a new way to grab viewers’ attention. Instead of traditional commercials, these companies are creating short films with very little product placement, generally not even revealing the name of the company until the very end. Some are funny. Some are inspiring. But they are all very entertaining.

“The Game Before the Game” is a short created for Beats by Dre. It shows the process of getting “game ready”— putting on your Beats headphones and tuning out the world. Viewers see a montage of people who are in need of some serious mental preparation, not only professional soccer players and a businessman but all kinds of celebrities:  Neymar Junior, Cesc Fabregas and Luis Suarez, sure, but also LeBron James, Serena Williams, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. By the time the ad is over, you feel as though you had watched a Hollywood film. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing their favorite celebrity?

Nike created an animated short that mimics the plot of “Space Jam,” which featured Michael Jordan helping some Looney Tunes characters win a basketball game against alien slavers. In Nike’s version,  All-Stars including Christiano Ronaldo, Wayne  Rooney and Neymar Junior are given new attire, faster shoes and some other advantages to beat the monsters on the soccer field. Although predictable, this ad appeals to both children and adults while also, of course, branding the well-known name of Nike.

Much like an actual movie, these short films leave you feeling refreshed. They are meant to be enjoyed and watched without feeling any pressure or urgency to acquire a new product.

These are ads you want to watch. And then watch again. And then share with everyone you know. That’s what makes a great advertisement, not something showcasing shiny products and phrases like “limited time offer.”

The most effective advertisements are the ones that amuse and uplift. If at the end of an advertisement I am laughing, smiling, or hitting the “share to Facebook” button, it’s done its job.