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An Analysis of the Cosmetics Industry as a Good Steward for the Sustainability Movement

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In 2016, in the United States alone, the cosmetics industry made an estimated 62.46 billion dollars in revenue (Revenue of the Cosmetic Industry in the U.S. 2002-2016 | Forecast). With a consistent increase in sales in the last several years,

In 2016, in the United States alone, the cosmetics industry made an estimated 62.46 billion dollars in revenue (Revenue of the Cosmetic Industry in the U.S. 2002-2016 | Forecast). With a consistent increase in sales in the last several years, the industry has reached continued success even during times of hardship, such as the Great Recession of 2008. The use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), external campaigns, and thoughtful packaging and ingredients resonates with targeted consumers. This has served as an effective strategy to maintain growth in the industry. Cosmetic companies promote their brand image using these sustainability tactics, but there seems to be a lack of transparency in this unregulated industry. The purpose of this thesis is to determine if the cosmetics industry is a good steward of the sustainability movement. Important terms and concepts relating to the industry will be discussed, then an analysis of sustainability focused cosmetic brands will be provided, which highlights the extent to which these brands engage in activities that promote sustainability. This is followed by an application of findings to a company that could benefit from using such practices. Overall, the analysis of the different brands proved to be shocking and disappointing. This is due to the sheer amount that scored very poorly based on the sustainability criteria developed. The cosmetics industry is too inconsistent and too unregulated to truly act as a good steward for sustainability. Though some companies in the industry succeed, these accomplishments are not consistent across all cosmetic companies. Hence, the cosmetics industry as a good steward for sustainability can only be as strong as its weakest link.

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2018-05

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Digital Storytelling | Unlocking The Key Elements to Effective Ads

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Abstract

My thesis aims to uncover the ultimate strategy behind short form visual stories, otherwise known as the digital advertisment. In this thesis, I analyze traditional storytelling, visual storytelling, and short-form visual storytelling in order to uncover the best practices advertisers

Abstract

My thesis aims to uncover the ultimate strategy behind short form visual stories, otherwise known as the digital advertisment. In this thesis, I analyze traditional storytelling, visual storytelling, and short-form visual storytelling in order to uncover the best practices advertisers should use when crafting a digital advertisement. 

Storytelling “reveals elements and images of a story while also catalyzing the imagination of the listener” (National Storytelling Network, 2017).  This tradition has two purposes for society: a neurological structure, and a social mechanism (for historic preservation, human interaction, and a vehicle for connecting with others) (Gottshcall, 2012; Scott, 2012; Paul, 2012; Woodside, 2008). 

Visual Storytelling is “using photography, illustration, video, (usually with a musical enhancement) to guide” the human brain along a plotline, and has an unlimited timeframe (Ron, 2017). There are seven key elements to effective visual storytelling: A listener/audience, an element of realism coupled with escapism, a focus on the dread of life, an element of the unknown, emotion, simplicity, and a three-part plot structure (Andrews, 2010; ProQuest, 2012; Zak, 2014; Stanton, 2014; Reagan, 2016; Jarvis, 2014; Petrick, 2014)

In the words of Sholmi Ron, from a marketing perspective, “Visual [short hand] Storytelling is a marketing strategy that communicates powerful ideas through a compelling story arc, with your customer at the heart of the story, and delivered through interactive and immersive visual media – in order to create profitable customer engagements" (Ron, 2017). This advertising strategy has four best practices: non-obvious logo placement, a comedic emotion, multiple emotional arcs, and a relevant message (Golan, 2017; Teixeira, 2015; Graves, 2017, Teixeira, 2017). These are important to understand because, in 2017, online consumers can be described as skeptical, conscious of content, individualistic, and drawn to authenticity (Teixeira, 2014). 

To supplement my findings, I conducted primary research by analyzing the 2017 Super Bowl videos against a criteria created using the best practices previously identified (in Part 1 and Part 2). Through the data collection of the 66 videos, I uncovered the most popular plotline is "fall than rise," the most popular emotions are humor, inspiration, and empathy and people tend to have a preference towards videos that are more realistic and simplistic in nature. 

In the end, I recommend that advertisers identify an authentic yet relevant message, while employing a comedic, inspirational, or empathic tone, and that they place their ads exclusively for their target market. Additionally, producers should use a fall then rise plotline (with multiple mini plot peaks and valleys), a "logo-pulsing" strategy, and a minimal amount of characters and settings to keep the audience's focus on the ad’s message.

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2017-05