Great Kick-Off to the SMC!



MKTG 317 Textbooks

Textbook: MKTG 6 Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, South-Western Publishing Textbook: What Happens in Vegas stays on Youtube via Erik Qualman. #Socialnomics 2014 by Erik Qualman is the fifth version of the most watched video series on Social Media. Qualman is a #1 best selling author and keynote speaker on digital leadership. The video was produced by Equalman Studios. Source data for the statistics in the video is available in the book Socialnomics (sold on Amazon) | @equalman


The Social Media Club held it’s first Official Meeting on Thursday, November 20th at 6pm in Lillis 282! The meeting featured two Social Media Professionals Zach Wright and Kris McDonald. Over 100 students attended!

Bios on our Guest Speakers

Zach Wright
Enablement Consultant

Zach Wright is an Enablement Consultant for Sprinklr. Sprinklr offers the only Social Media Management System that enables global scale for the social enterprise. Enabling brands to innovate faster, grow revenue, reduce operating costs and manage risk.

Zach has been working in Social Media for 6 years and has worked with large brands such as GrubHub, Seamless, Nestle, Kraft, Sears and Kmart. Zach has fine-tuned his skills through his work with large digital agencies and brands alike. He has had recent career stops at GrubHub, Razorfish, and Sears Holdings.

Zach has been apart of Social Media panels throughout the United States, and mentors students all over the nation. He is also a Professional Advisor for Ohio Universities PRSSA chapter. Zach loves to boast that he has never lost a bet to Kasey Skala.

Zach’s LinkedIn
Zach’s Twitter

Kris McDonald
MMGY Global
Social Media Strategist

Kris McDonald currently works as a social media strategist at MMGY Global, the largest integrated travel marketing agency in the world. His current client roster includes the Trump Hotel Collection, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic. Recently, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel were awarded with Adrian and SMITTY awards for their Google Glass campaign, the first of its kind in the travel marketing space. Prior to MMGY, Kris served as the managing partner of rei digital media, a boutique digital agency in Overland Park, Kan. He worked with a variety of companies and brands from startups in the Kansas City-area to well-established national brands such as the NCAA, Turner Sports Interactive, Lee Jeans and Majestic Athletic. Kris is a graduate and proud alum of Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan.

Kris’s LinkedIn
Kris’s Twitter

Honey Maid and the Business of Love

APRIL 5, 2014

Honey Maid and the Business of Love


For a long time, prejudice made a certain business sense. You could argue that it was immoral or wrong; others insisted that it was moral and godly. But there was little dispute about the business piece of it. Bill Clinton liked gay people, but he signed the Defense of Marriage Act nonetheless. Karl Rove knew it was smart to put all those anti-gay-marriage initiatives on the ballot. Coors beer could advertise in gay magazines while funding anti-gay interests and keeping any hint of the “non-traditional” out of the ads it ran for general audiences. The regressive side in the so-called culture wars was presumed to include a majority of American consumers; businesses, worried about their image, tended to defer to them.

Now, Honey Maid, that old-fashioned brand of graham crackers, has launched an ad that shows, in the most radical and moving way of any national campaign so far, how much that has changed. It shows a two-dad family, a rocker family, a single dad, an interracial family, a military family. The two-dad household is featured at some length; you cannot be distracted away from it. Most striking is the tagline of the ad: “No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will. Honey Maid. Everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family. This is wholesome.” The ad is deeply heartwarming—not simply because it shows diversity (which other companies have done) but because it labels these families with the word “wholesome,” which is exactly the kind of word that tends to get claimed by the evangelical right. People have long suggested that the new structures of the American family are “unwholesome” as a way of rationalizing intolerance. The idea of what is “against nature” has been central to messages of prejudice about both interracial relationships and homosexuality.

Honey Maid knew its ad would provoke controversy, and it did. So the company has made a follow-up spot that has been released on social media. “On March 10th, 2014, Honey Maid launched ‘This is wholesome,’ a commercial that celebrates all families,” the online short proclaims. “Some people didn’t agree with our message.” Viewers see close-ups of tweets and e-mails with remarks such as “Horrible, NOT ‘WHOLESOME,’” “DO NOT APPROVE!,” and “Disgusting!!” The title card says, “So we asked two artists to take the negative comments and turn them into something else.” We then see thirty-year-olds Linsey Burritt and Crystal Grover, who collaborate under the name INDO, taking a printout of each hateful comment and rolling it into a tube, then grouping the tubes at one end of a vast, industrial-looking space to create an assemblage that spells out “Love.” The artists appear to walk away, their work done. Then the online ad proclaims, “But the best part was all the positive messages we received. Over ten times as many.” Then we see e-mails with epithets such as “family is family” and “love the Honey Maid ad” and “this story of a beautiful family” and “most beautiful thing.” The entire room fills up with tubes made from these messages. Finally, we are told, “Proving that only one thing really matters when it comes to family … ,” and then we see the word “love” embraced by a roomful of paper tubes. The pacing of the spot is impeccable: the first half turns hatred into love, and the second half provides evidence of love itself. In its first day online, it garnered more than 1.5 million views.

To arrive at the “ten times” statistic, the team used industry-standard “linguistic resource classification,” which is to say that it scanned for the frequency of words such as “excessive,” “miss,” “wrong,” “ridiculous,” “wasted,” “degrading,” “evil,” “crap,” and “ugly” versus “yay,” “best,” “love,” “happy,” “great,” “amazing,” “beautiful,” “like,” “you rock!,” and “heartwarming.” For safety, the artists read every e-mail that they used in their installation to make sure, for example, that an e-mail that said “so not beautiful” didn’t make it into the positive group.

Burritt and Grover were chosen because, according to a spokesman for Droga 5, the ad agency that designed the campaign, “They could blend sustainable practice, innovative design and thoughtful collaboration to help bring the Love Sculpture to life with recycled paper.” Burritt and Grover have occupied an interesting space between advertising and art: Burritt studied graphic design and worked in package production, while Grover studied interior design and worked in store design. Their primary work has been window displays in Chicago. Their history is one of aesthetically striking visual stunts, yet the force of moral conviction radiates from their work for Honey Maid.

Advertising both follows and leads to change. Marketers’ objective is to sell things, and they will seldom be brave enough to jeopardize their own interests, but their own interests appear to be changing. At some quiet moment when “Modern Family” was reaping good ratings, the mentality of corporate America began to change. Cheerios ran an ad last summer that showed an interracial family and received an astonishing amount of vitriol—nearly fifty years after Loving v. Virginia. Some of the responses to its posting on General Mills”s YouTube channel were so odious that General Mills actually disabled the comments. When General Mills did a second ad in the series featuring the same family, it hired screeners to sort through the YouTube comments and remove the most bilious. It debuted during the Super Bowl, in February.

Coca-Cola mounted an ad, also shown during the Super Bowl, that featuredpeople singing “America the Beautiful” in seven languages. It showed many kinds of families—including a quick shot of two dads with their child. It was easy to miss that family if you weren’t looking for it, and the vitriol expressed against Coca-Cola focused on what people believed was the subliminal pro-immigration message, even more than on the gay piece of it. Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes tweeted, “Coca Cola is the official soft drink of illegals crossing the border.” Allen West, the former congressman, wrote that the ad indicated that “we are on the road to perdition.”

It’s striking, and perhaps not entirely coincidental, that the Coca-Cola and Honey Maid ads have appeared in the same season in which Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, vetoed S.B. 1062, anti-gay legislation that had passed her state’s legislature. Her veto came partly at the behest of senators who had belatedly understood the bill’s financial consequences. Regard for equal human rights did not drive Brewer; the threat of losing the Super Bowl did. (How did the Super Bowl become the nexus of gay rights?) It turns out that tolerating gay people is good for business, even in Arizona. I’d prefer that people such as I get our rights because we command respect and evince dignity, but if we get them because there’s money in it, that’s fine.

But how crushing that in the same week that Honey Maid has made history, we have the passage, in Mississippi, of S.B. 2681, signed into law Thursday, which takes the same tack as the vetoed Arizona bill but in very careful terms, allowing those with religious rationales to act out their bigotry, and enjoining government from interfering when they do so. I suppose that Mississippi, which doesn’t have an N.F.L. team, didn’t worry about not getting the Super Bowl. The anti-L.G.B.T. Family Research Council has taken credit for the passage of the bill, writing that its efforts

helped to bring along the business community—which, in Arizona, was so deceived by the media and outside leftist groups.… Mississippi companies didn’t have that problem, because the state tuned out the propaganda.

Where Mississippi has gone, other states will likely follow. With no federal jobs or housing protections, with no ENDA, gay people are vulnerable to such oppression. Being good for business gets us only so far. What, then, of Honey Maid? What, then, of making the word love out of all that hatred? It will take more than a pair of talented installation artists to bring about such a transformation on a national scale.

What Lululemon’s Yoga Pants Recall Reveals

Lululemon Athletica (LULU) has an image problem. On March 18 the Canadian athletic apparel company recalled 17 percent of its stretchy black yoga pants after store managers raised concerns that the material was too thin—so thin, the pants were inadvertently see-through.

It’s hard to tell anything’s wrong with the pants while you’re standing up, but striking a yoga pose or stretch-ing before a run, the issue—and your underwear, or lack thereof—reveals itself. In a press release, Lululemon says the problem is the nylon-and-lycra-blend fabric it calls Luon, which is in its Wunder Unders pants ($72-$98), Skinny Will leggings ($98), and Astro Pant ($98). “The only way to test for the problem is to put the pants on and bend over,” Chief Executive Officer Christine Day said in a conference call.

Lululemon is offering full refunds for the pants and has pulled the affected styles made after March 1 because that’s what’s available in stores, as the company notes. It blames the defective batch on a Taiwanese supplier, Eclat Textile, which denies it’s in the wrong. “All shipments to Lululemon went through a certification process, which Lululemon had approved,” Roger Lo, Eclat’s chief financial officer, told theWall Street Journal. So how long have the leggings been this risqué?

“My husband’s a personal trainer, and he first noticed it two years ago,” says Rachel Harper, executive director of a community fitness program in Montague, Prince Edward Island. At the time, Harper’s husband, Matt, worked at an elite fitness center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “A lot of women weren’t wearing underwear under their Lulus, and it was really disturbing,” Harper says. She contacted Lululemon but says the company never responded. “I think of it now as my personal mission. I pull women aside at the gym and say, ‘Um, do you realize—?’ They’re always shocked.”

The gaffe could cost Lululemon an estimated $60 million and stunt its popularity. In the past five years, the company has tripled its annual revenue, expanding from 70 stores to more than 200 as women across North America scrambled to buy its colorful, form-fitting clothes. There are Lululemon review blogs, Lululemon fan sites—there’s even an invite-only Facebook (FB) group for women who want to resell their used clothes. “I know women who have $10,000 or $20,000 worth of Lulu in their closets,” says Carolyn Beauchesne, who runs the blog Lululemon Addict. Beauchesne says that about two years ago she noticed the company’s clothing felt thinner and pilled more quickly. “I do have one pair of pants that, if I bend over, you can see my underwear,” she says. “But I don’t do yoga, so I figure I’m safe.”

This isn’t Lululemon’s first product glitch. In 2007 a New York Times investigation revealed that the company’s Vitasea line of seaweed fabric—which it claimed released “marine amino acids, minerals, and vitamins into the skin”—contained no seaweed at all. (Lululemon took the health claims off its labels but still sells Vitasea clothes; shirts cost $68.) Reports of bleeding colors have also plagued the company, and in 2010 it pulled its reusable shopping bags after they were found to contain lead. Last year, Lululemon withdrew a line of swimwear that became see-through when wet.

If Lululemon’s lucky, this recall will put an end to its transparency headache. Either way, it’s a good reminder to always do a downward dog in the dressing room mirror. “I was driving down the street the other day, and I saw a woman wearing Lululemon pants on the sidewalk while pushing a baby stroller,” says Harper. “She bent over to do something to the baby, and she ended up showing everyone—well, let’s just say it was gross.”