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Advertising to the Millennial Generation

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Advertising to the Millennial Generation is an honors thesis project that combines research with a creative application. The thesis is broken into three main sections: a literature review of the

Advertising to the Millennial Generation is an honors thesis project that combines research with a creative application. The thesis is broken into three main sections: a literature review of the Millennial Generation, three case studies identifying brands or advertising campaigns that have successfully reached Generation Y, and the application of these findings to an advertising campaign with additional marketing mix elements for Bose headphones.
Before creating a campaign targeting Millennials, this thesis first identifies which consumers belong in the Millennial demographic. The definition given looks beyond the ‘age 18-34’ demographic information and analyzes the generation’s unique characteristics, their feelings of being misunderstood by businesses, the importance of social media and technology in their world, and what motivates them to take action.
The subsequent case studies examine the advertising tactics of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, the burgeoning social news and entertainment website BuzzFeed, and Beats by Dre headphones. Each of these brands successfully captured the Gen Y demographic group, with an emphasis on the younger end of the 18-34 age spectrum, and effectively communicated their understanding of Millennials’ culture. Each of the three campaigns contained social or digital elements to create engaging and relevant content for the niche of younger Millennials. Immediately following the case studies, best practices are outlined to summarize the findings.
Finally, a digital campaign is proposed for Bose headphones. The literature review, case studies, and best practices contributed to the culminating campaign, which will allow Bose to reach the younger Millennial audience.

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  • 2014-05

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Manipulation! How Spokespeople Affect Brands and Their Consumers

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Advertising has been a part of the marketing landscape for decades, evolving over time. Among the many tactics of advertising is the use of spokespeople, or brand personalities, that represent

Advertising has been a part of the marketing landscape for decades, evolving over time. Among the many tactics of advertising is the use of spokespeople, or brand personalities, that represent a brand and its offerings. Spokespeople have been around as early as the 1950s, with brands hiring well-known actors and actresses to represent everyday products. Since then, they have evolved to be more than just a brand representative. Fast forward to the 21st century, spokespeople have developed symbiotic relationships with brands, helping them create authentic connections with its consumers.

There are many successful cases of spokespeople enhancing a brand’s popularity and growing their sales, but what would happen to the brand if their spokesperson engaged in controversial behavior? The basis of this thesis, and my research, revolves around this research objective: to better understand if, and how, spokespeople affect a brand and its consumers. I conducted primary research in the form of a survey to test consumer’s attitudes and behaviors towards brands and spokespeople; additionally, I conducted secondary research to understand how spokespeople can impact a brand’s stock and sales performance. I expect spokespeople with high levels of association with the brands they represent to have a strong affect on a brand’s performance and perception.

The results of my research defy my expectations. Spokespeople that have a weaker association level with their brands had a strong affect on a brand and its consumers, and vice-versa with strong association levels. In the primary research, spokespeople with weak association levels with Nike and Papa John’s had a significant impact on how participants viewed and engaged with the brands. In addition, secondary research indicates there are significant affects on a brand’s performance as a result of the spokespeople, despite the weak association levels.

After conducting research, I concluded that to have effective spokespeople that can positively impact a brand and its consumers, they must possess two characteristics: trustworthiness and authenticity. The successful cases of spokespeople from my primary and secondary research possessed these characteristics. Consumers need to be able to trust the messages that come from spokespeople, and they need to be able to understand that the relationship between the them and the brand is authentic and makes sense. Therefore, if the spokespeople brands hire are trustworthy and authentic to the brand, then they will positively impact the performance and perception of the brand.

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  • 2019-05

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Advertising Made to Last Versus Advertising Left in the Past: An Analysis of Effective Advertising in American Culture

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Historically, advertising was best when it was informative because people did not look at advertising for entertainment. Stories, however, were helpful in selling products and promoting trials. Advertising has since

Historically, advertising was best when it was informative because people did not look at advertising for entertainment. Stories, however, were helpful in selling products and promoting trials. Advertising has since evolved with society. Copious amounts of research still go into advertising but some old principles get left in the past. Some can be adapted to today’s digital world while others simply do not ring true anymore. Today, the best of the best showcase in the Super Bowl. This has proven to be very beneficial to those that dazzle and entertain viewers.
The USA Today Ad Meter has been used for decades to rank Super Bowl ads and can show us what works well. All ads that run during the Super Bowl are rated by thousands of viewers and then ranked based on average ratings. The Ad Meter is the most used tool to look at these ads and discern what viewers enjoyed seeing. Entertaining ads do very well on the Ad Meter while informational and simple ads often sink. The Ad Meter does a good job telling advertisers what worked but it does not tell us why it worked or what people want to see.
These entertaining ads do well on the ad meter because, according to the following research study, people prefer entertainment in Super Bowl advertising, whether the product is relevant or not. People are willing to watch a Super Bowl ad that is longer than a normal ad would be because they expect entertainment and the length allows for a story to develop. People also have a strong preference for humorous Super Bowl ads but the emotional/meaningful ads that make it into the top 5 are almost the exception to the rule because the results of the research performed here show very little preference for these ads. While the Super Bowl still seems to be a beneficial way to advertise, the price is a big barrier to entry. Luckily, digital culture gives smaller businesses the power to capture viewers in other ways. The study’s findings suggest that many younger participants often just watch Super Bowl ads on YouTube after the game. Younger people are also watching the Super Bowl less and becoming numb to scrolling through ads on social media. It is important, now more than ever, for advertisers to have attention grabbing tactics for a generation with such short attention spans. Advertisers need to follow the trends to keep up with social media, but it will be worth it.

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  • 2020-05