Hashtag McNightmare

Situation:

In 2012, McDonald’s released a twitter campaign meant to focus on their commitment to fresh and quality foods. The campaign used two hashtags, “#meetthefarmers” and “#McDStories,” to allow the company and twitter users to share their experiences with the store. What McDonald’s didn’t anticipate was the different ways in which the second hashtag, #McDStories, could be interpreted.

Image result for McDStories

Soon enough, users were sharing brief stories of their experience with the food chain, and it was not positive. The hashtag completely backfired. Within two hours of release, McDonald’s pulled the #McDStories hashtag from their twitter, but not #meetthefarmers.

What McDonald’s did achieve was reach. The hashtag is still being used almost six years later.

What was at stake here was the reputation of McDonald’s and the effectiveness of their social media presence. What did they do to come back from the hashtag horror?

What Did PR Do?

The social media director at the time, Rick Wion, released a public statement through the L.A. Times and said, “As Twitter continues to evolve its platform and engagement opportunities, we’re learning from our experiences.”

In addition to the public statement, Wion also sent out an email which included information regarding the effect taking down the hashtag had.

“Within an hour of pulling #McDStories the number of conversations about it fell off from a peak of 1600 to a few dozen. It is also important to keep those numbers in perspective. There were 72,788 mentions of McDonald’s overall that day so the traction of #McDStories was a tiny percentage (2%) of that.”

Analysis:

In 2012, Twitter was just starting to become popular. It had only 100 million users compared to the 336 million today. Twitter was new and exciting and people, businesses and companies were testing the social media waters.

We can see just how important it is to consider and bounce ideas off colleagues is to avoid vague meanings of, say, hashtags associated with an important campaign.

The wording Wion used in his statements were strategic. Saying, “we’re learning from our experiences,” shows that they acknowledge their mistakes and want to improve.

I think at the time, what McDonald’s did by pulling the hashtag was appropriate. And they only pulled one of the hashtags used in the campaign, showing that they still cared about what they were supporting. They could get away with pulling one hashtag. If they did that today, it would probably receive more backlash from users.

The internet is permanent. Even though they pulled the tag, people still use the tag in their twitter posts today. Social media users are smarter now and they can see through those who try to con them in any way. It’s important for social media directors and public relation professionals to be educated.

I think McDonald’s could have found a way to create an opportunity from the hashtag to better focus on the issues of different stores and locations rather than take it away completely. But overall, what they did was the best immediate choice to defend their online brand and presence.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/24/mcdstories-when-a-hashtag-becomes-a-bashtag/#70bb615fed25

http://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-twitter-campaign-goes-horribly-wrong-mcdstories-2012-1

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/mcdonald-meetthefarmers-twitter-campaign-met-snide-comments-bad-reviews-article-1.1010980

 

 

 

 

 

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Wells Fargo Creates Corporate Fiasco

Situation:

In September 2016, a scandal broke within Wells Fargo. It was discovered that employees were creating fake accounts and had been doing so since 2011.

An investigation revealed that over 1.5 million accounts were created using fake emails and PIN numbers without customer knowledge or consent. Employees did this to boost their figures and therefore increase their pay and bonuses.

To add to the disaster, Wells Fargo was guilty of firing employees who tried to call out the company on ethics regarding the creation of fake accounts.

Since then, the company has been involved in various court cases and settlements involving the employees as well as customers of the bank. Other scandals have surfaced as well, creating a PR nightmare for the company.

What did PR do?

As their initial response, Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees who were involved with creating these accounts and the company fined a hefty $185 million.

A few weeks after the scandal broke loose, head executive, Carrie Tolstedt, was the first to step down. Tolstedt was the head of the department which created the fake accounts.

The company also promised to stop promoting unrealistic sales goals – saying that these goals lead employees to create fake accounts.

In early October, the CEO, John Stumpf, stepped down and announced his immediate retirement.

In March of 2017, Wells Fargo announced a settlement of $110 million for customers whose information was used for fake accounts. The settlement later increased to $142 million.

The company has paid more fines in other cases involving different areas as well.

PR for Wells Fargo has had to work hard for a company with many internal ethical issues. Have they taken the right steps?

As an added PR bonus, Wells Fargo released a video on how they will earn trust back.

Analysis:

It has been almost two years since the scandal broke, and Wells Fargo is still paying for it (literally). From what I have learned, the timeline of scandals and amount in fines charged to the company, alone, shows that public relations can only do so much for a company with substandard behavior.

Image result for wells fargo

I think that within the first few months of the break, Wells Fargo performed all the normal and necessary procedures such as firing all guilty employees, paying the fine and having the CEO step down. The greater problem is that illegal activity and scandals kept being uncovered. Over the next year or so, the company was accused of various illegal practices over and over and it didn’t seem to stop. Not only were the employees involved in illegal practices, but top executives in the company were involved as well. This tells us that ethical practices and their corporate social responsibilities were largely ignored. Good ethics in public relations is important, especially in regards to corporations and companies.

It seems as though Wells Fargo is going to have to keep paying fines and take part in settlements until the internal workings of the company are fixed, otherwise they will keep losing customers. I can imagine that I would want to switch banks and take part in the settlement if my information and account was used. This scandal really is a PR nightmare and I think there a lot of lessons to be learned from the company’s mistakes.

It takes years for a company to build credibility and a good reputation and just one moment to ruin it all. Wells Fargo and its public relations are going to have to work to the bone to regain the trust of their customers and will need to for a long time.

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/24/news/companies/wells-fargo-timeline-shareholders/index.html?iid=EL

http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/08/investing/wells-fargo-created-phony-accounts-bank-fees/index.html?iid=EL

https://www.barrons.com/articles/wells-fargo-growth-on-hold-1525967026

 

Nike’s Not So Perfect Headquarters

Over the last year or so, women who work at the Nike headquarters have been coming forward with complaints about male coworkers and the culture within the company. The complaints were mostly about the “boys club” culture within the company, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Nike Campus in Beaverton, Oregon.

After reporting these complaints and issues to the company, the women were not receiving any help or seeing any changes, so they took it upon themselves to fix the problem. Their solution was to send around a survey to the female employees and send it to the CEO, Mark Parker.

About one month after the survey was delivered and in the weeks following, at least six top male executives either left the company or announced that they would be leaving the company. One of which was the president of the Nike brand, Trevor Edwards. Other top positions have since been vacated.

As several top male executives have been resigning, more women are being promoted into senior leadership and executive roles.

Nike is also in the process of reviewing its human resources division and the operation of it.

Today, Thursday May 2, Parker called for an all-staff meeting in which he apologized for the “corporate culture that excluded some staff.” In the email invite to the meeting, Parker said he wanted “everyone to know that [he’s] personally committed to making Nike a place where everyone can thrive in an environment of respect, empathy, and equal opportunity for all.”

From a public relations point of view, Parker’s actions were acceptable. Because the human resources department was not able to handle the complaints in the first place, the women had to take action and gain the attention of the CEO before any changes were officially made. The resigning and voluntary retirement of handfuls of executives and employees after the delivery of the survey shows that Parker didn’t take things lightly.

Image result for nike ceo
Nike CEO Mark Parker

All-staff meetings for a company of that size is also rare, therefore showing that Parker cares about the company and wants to make things right. His statement from the email was carefully worded but it stated what he wants the company to be. It also suggested that Nike hadn’t previously been a “place where everyone can thrive…”

It is commonplace, when crisis or scandals occur within companies, for CEOs to step down or resign from their position. So why hasn’t Parker stepped down? There wasn’t too much magnitude to this issue. Sure, it is being talked about, but Parker took the necessary steps to resolve the issue within weeks of receiving the survey. I don’t think he tried to cover it up in any way after receiving the survey. Action was taken. The most important being the rare all-staff meeting held to apologize to employees.

It will be important for Parker to keep his words and insure the company really is an “environment of respect, empathy and equal opportunity.”

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nike-ceo-apologizes-for-corporate-culture-that-excluded-some-staff-1525399012

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/28/business/nike-women.html

 

Nike’s Not So Perfect Headquarters

Over the last year or so, women who work at the Nike headquarters have been coming forward with complaints about male coworkers and the culture within the company. The complaints were mostly about the “boys club” culture within the company, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Nike Campus in Beaverton, Oregon.

After reporting these complaints and issues to the company, the women were not receiving any help or seeing any changes, so they took it upon themselves to fix the problem. Their solution was to send around a survey to the female employees and send it to the CEO, Mark Parker.

About one month after the survey was delivered and in the weeks following, at least six top male executives either left the company or announced that they would be leaving the company. One of which was the president of the Nike brand, Trevor Edwards. Other top positions have since been vacated.

As several top male executives have been resigning, more women are being promoted into senior leadership and executive roles.

Nike is also in the process of reviewing its human resources division and the operation of it.

Today, Thursday May 2, Parker called for an all-staff meeting in which he apologized for the “corporate culture that excluded some staff.” In the email invite to the meeting, Parker said he wanted “everyone to know that [he’s] personally committed to making Nike a place where everyone can thrive in an environment of respect, empathy, and equal opportunity for all.”

From a public relations point of view, Parker’s actions were acceptable. Because the human resources department was not able to handle the complaints in the first place, the women had to take action and gain the attention of the CEO before any changes were officially made. The resigning and voluntary retirement of handfuls of executives and employees after the delivery of the survey shows that Parker didn’t take things lightly.

Image result for nike ceo
Nike CEO Mark Parker

All-staff meetings for a company of that size is also rare, therefore showing that Parker cares about the company and wants to make things right. His statement from the email was carefully worded but it stated what he wants the company to be. It also suggested that Nike hadn’t previously been a “place where everyone can thrive…”

It is commonplace, when crisis or scandals occur within companies, for CEOs to step down or resign from their position. So why hasn’t Parker stepped down? There wasn’t too much magnitude to this issue. Sure, it is being talked about, but Parker took the necessary steps to resolve the issue within weeks of receiving the survey. I don’t think he tried to cover it up in any way after receiving the survey. Action was taken. The most important being the rare all-staff meeting held to apologize to employees.

It will be important for Parker to keep his words and insure the company really is an “environment of respect, empathy and equal opportunity.”

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nike-ceo-apologizes-for-corporate-culture-that-excluded-some-staff-1525399012

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/28/business/nike-women.html

 

Ad Redesign

Principles of design, photography, typography and color can be seen in every ad. Most people don’t even realize how many factors go into creating an ad and why they are appealing to the audience. Fortunately, these are skills that anyone can acquire and use in their own work if they learn about the principles of design.

I was asked to analyze an existing ad and then use my findings to create a new, additional ad that would fit the campaign of the original and then make a slide presentation that would show what I learned and how I applied it to the new advertisement.


Target Audience Image result for converse ad

When making an advertisement, it is important to think about who you will be advertising to. This helps to determine what will be in your ad as well as what the message will be. In my analysis, I determined that the main audience would be teens to young adults and adults. I determined this because the male used in the campaign appears to be a young adult. The message “Sneakers are boring – wear sneakers” appeals to young adults and teens because who likes boring products? This shows that the company promises that wearing converse is exciting and fun rather than boring.


Design Analysis 

Photography

Photography was one of the main elements of this advertisement. It’s bold and is center focused. The colors are also an element but I will go over that later. One way you can tell a photo works is if your eye bounces all around the photo instead of in one spot. You’re supposed to avoid center-focused photos, but the background elements such as the other guy and the AC unit in the window keep it balanced and visually appealing. SlideDesignFINAL3

Typography 

The font and type that was used also added to the overall visual appeal of the advertisement. The font is a sans serif type and the font mimics a painted brush design. This makes it look more exciting and not boring, which works with the overall message of the design.

SlideDesignFINAL5

Color

Color is also critical when considering your design and message. Yellow and red are analogous and complement each other. The white text adds contrast to the design. The yellow shoes could also be considered contrasting because the eye is drawn to it. The colors work together and add to the visual appeal.

SlideDesignFINAL7

Being able to analyze and determine what makes an advertisement visually appealing is important if you want to make one of your own. Target audience, design , photography, typography and color are all element of design that go into making an appealing and successful advertisement. The best part is that anyone can do it if they know what they’re looking.

The final slide presentation: SlideDesignFINAL

Photo Sources:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/street-shoes-still-converse-all-star-68814/

White Black High Top Shoes Hanging on Electric Line

http://designtaxi.com/news/357065/Converse-Ad-Shows-That-People-Who-Wear-Sneakers-Have-More-Fun/

Image result for converse ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Ad Creative?

Advertisements are everywhere, it’s how word gets out to people. It’s a way of communicating and selling an idea to someone. So if ads are everywhere, they have to stand out to really capture attention from the audience. This is where “creative ads” come in to play. Creative ads, when done right, can make a plain product into something exciting. It can help the audience visualize what the product can do for them.

I was assigned the task of creating a creative advertisement for a boring household or office product and to use symbolic or non-literal ideas and concepts. The ad is supposed to be appealing and convincing to the target audience.


 Target Audience 

The first step is to determine a product to advertise. After that is to determine the demographics of the audience. I used a project specifics generator to determine my product, the gender, age, relationship status and media consumption of my audience. I got assigned to create an ad for an air freshener for single 18-24 year old males through a blog or magazine ad. I decided to go with the idea of a nature-scented air freshener. This appeals to most audiences, so I thought it would be appropriate for single 18-24 year old males. My ad also includes a male in the photo and he’s sitting in the comfort of his own home. This would appeal to 18-24 year old males.

CreativeAdFinal

(All images were pulled from https://www.pexels.com/)


Design 

For my design, I decided to use non-literal and symbolic ideas. Obviously there wouldn’t be real mountains and trees in your living room, but it’s the idea of it, capturing what the air freshener would smell like. I found two pictures that had similar colors so they would complement each other rather than clash or not blend well. I used photo shop to blend the two images together and to bring in the text at the bottom. I used a simple old faced type text and the color of the type is an off-white which blends and matches with colors already in the ad.

Although there are millions of advertisements out in the world, it is still possible to find a way to capture attention in a creative way. They make a plain or boring product into something exciting that people actually want to purchase or use. Knowing the essentials of design and knowing your audience is important. Take a moment to notice all the creative design and advertisements around you and why they appeal, or don’t appeal, to you.

Icons, Icons, Icons

Icons can be seen almost everywhere. Emojis are icons, and they are used by most everyone. Behind every emoji, every icon, there is a designer that put work into creating it. What is the process of creating an icon? My purpose of this blog post is to share my knowledge of how to create a set of icons.

I was assigned the task of creating an icon set for a topic of my choice. Each icon is supposed to clearly communicate a single message. I was in control of everything. The topic, colors and overall design. I have taken what I have learned about design and color and applied it to the design and construction of my icon set.

iconfinal


Target Audience

Understanding who your audience is is important because it helps determine how the icons are going to be designed. My design is not specific to any one specific group of people. However those interested in my design would be those who enjoy the outdoors and are looking for simple, effective icons.


Design

As I was looking at examples of different icons, I noticed that they were all fairly simple in design, but they were consistent in color and design and had a clear message. This helped me in designing my icons. I wanted to create something that I myself would use. So I decided to go with a nature theme. I tried to use different shaded of the same color on my icons as to create some contrast which would make it more pleasing to the eye. Symmetry was also a factor of design that makes the icons appealing.

treesunmtsmoon


Knowing the essentials of design and color are important when creating icons. They help in creating a design with a clear message. It is important to understand your audience. My understanding of all of these things helped me in creating an icon set. Now whenever you see an icon or an emoji, you’ll know a little more about the process of creating it. Thank you.