Friday, February 18, 2011

HD Advertising: Is the cutting edge a double-edged sword?

In today’s market, a lot of time and thought goes into creating a television spot. Should it be funny or serious? What is the message? Every decision from concepts and logistics to target audiences comes together to make a spot. But in a world of fast paced and ever-changing technology, there is one more decision to be made, one that just a short time ago was not a factor at all: To go or not to go…HD.

In the past, a big reason that companies may have chosen to avoid HD advertising was the increased costs. A lot of stations did not have the ability to have HD footage uploaded directly to them for airing. And while it is still true in some cases, a lot of companies have taken the necessary steps to make this possible. Another way the costs for HD advertising were increased in the past was when third party delivery services were employed in order for the ads to be delivered and aired. Often times this process was viewed as burdensome, and with charges ranging from $150 to $250 dollars per spot, the polished look of HD was abandoned. All costs aside, there are some television stations that still do not accept HD spots from local businesses at all.

Another possible reason why a company may have wanted to avoid HD in the past were the precautions that had to be taken. Spots being aired in HD could become cut off, if not centered correctly on the screen. This is due to the change in screen size from a square shape to a more rectangular shape. But as technology advances, these problems are quickly disappearing.

As the problems of HD advertising fade out of memory, the old ways of SD are going along with them. Many smaller companies are choosing to advertise in HD in order to keep up with the big names in advertising. In return, they have a crisp looking ad that can hold its own during prime time rotation. To aid in the quest for HD spots, many production companies do not include increased rates for HD. There are some out there however, that do charge a premium for HD, mainly due to the increased time and data consumption it requires.

In the arena of advertising, any little way to get ahead or get noticed counts. As HD is becoming more and more common, it is easier and more sensible for companies to go this route. Although HD may still not make perfect sense for your business, it is small price to pay for the added quality on your next television spot.

For more information on HD Advertising, contact Propulsion Media Labs at 610-640-4040

Kevin Grove
Intern, Propulsion Media Lab
Communications Studies, West Chester University

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Making The Grade: Hiring Interns

“Yes, Hi, I’ll have a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad with whip.” We’ve all been there as interns ordering at Starbucks and wanting to add, “But it’s not for me, it’s for my boss and this is part of my job so I have to order ridiculous things with a big smile on my face.”

Yea, there’s serving coffee, lunch runs and the occasional re-painting of the conference room, but interns play a much bigger role in the small business world. In an atmosphere where a few people wear a lot of hats, companies seize the opportunity to lessen the load by hiring educated individuals who want nothing more than to receive prime job experience in return.

Companies are also more apt to hire a previous intern, than an outsider who simply sends an application. Businesses get to know their interns on a personal level, assess their work ethic and get a feel for their place in the company long before an application for employment is ever filled out. Internships create a strong channel to future paid employees.

Businesses that don’t necessarily have the budget for an in-the-loop marketing group can rely on a contemporary intern team for new ideas and authentic criticism partnered with a willingness to learn. Companies are getting to bring in outsiders for a fresh and objective perspective on the way their business policies and procedures are being regulated and executed, all for the lump sum of free.

Having in-house personnel that are able to understand the inner-workings of Facebook and Twitter and how social networking sites can be used to market a business is an asset all its own. These technology trends are sweeping the international business world and those left behind miss out on a boatload of free advertising.

Besides all of the benefits we see on the business side, consider this. Businesses are inviting people from the community to become an insider, something that usually happens only in permanent employment. Companies are saying, “Come in, get to know us and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Think of it in terms of a dating. Would you send someone a list of the things your good at and say “Hey let me know if we should commit to a relationship now?” I would hope not. Internships provide a strong foundation for its interrelationship with the community. Public Relations anyone?

The fact is that college students near graduation need the job experience and networking opportunities to land that first entry-level gig. Companies that pass on this alternative labor force could be passing on the chance to become more diversified, efficient, and profitable.

Nicole Devine
Intern, Propulsion Media Labs
Professional Writing Major, Kutztown University

Monday, February 7, 2011

How much does it really cost?

Benjamin Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” but you don’t need to be an economical scientist to realize that we’re still climbing out of a recession.

Pinching the penny is merely a short-term band-aid on the boo-boo of life. We’ve all cut coupons, entered discount codes and cut back on spending, but when saving changes from being a smart choice to a destructive force, businesses are damaged in its path.

Many businesses have slashed prices in an effort to accommodate the consumer’s craving to save. Often times, all this really accomplishes is a compromise of quality, so congratulations; you just lowered the value of your company/product/service. A scrape heals much quicker when it’s not being covered up by a hopeless attempt to ignore its existence.

Now is the time to protect the quality of your business. Price cutting forces other business to lower their rates to stay in the game, and then they lower once again? Where does it end?

Businesses should be built upon innate intelligence, innovative creativity and product quality. These things that once gave your business its prestige are the very same ones we should be saving from the cut, not cutting to save. Undercutting can only get you so far, and the cost of doing so is not worth the short-tem benefits.

The solution for this gradual, yet critical change in business mentality is simple. Punctuality is the key for success in a speed driven economy. Prompt responsiveness, production speed and actual human interaction via the telephone (A machine can’t ask you how your day is) are all elements we should strive to accomplish.

When you chose to break the mold, your reputation relies on upholding those values. We all have an honor to respect in setting the trends instead of following them. When the economy gets out of this funk, and it will, only the most distinguished will be left standing . Reputation cannot be compromised and still maintain its value. When the skies clear to a hopeful blue, the challenge of excellence will still be there, the only question is, where will you be?

Nicole Devine
Intern, Propulsion Media Labs
Professional Writing Major, Kutztown University

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Celebrity Treatment

I was watching TV this morning and I noticed something, other than the fact

that Anderson Cooper gets to go to the most remote and exotic places in the

world for a six-figure salary. I could have sworn I heard Jack Bauer on a

Bank of America commercial. You know, the one that goes "C'mon America, we

saved the bald eagle let's save some money." But why would TV's biggest

badass be selling me on a CD account without a mere mention of his name? I

had to do some research and Google set me straight. As it turns out, Kiefer

Sutherland does do the voice-over and in return he gets a paycheck. No

publicity stunts here. There would be no reason to link a

terrorist-fighting, hi-tech gadget carrying character with a savings

oriented banking chain. When I watched the commercial again (ah technology)

it didn't put me to mind of a TV hero, but instead created a level of

comfort between myself and an otherwise average bank.

My research led me to another finding; Bank of America and 24’s star aren't

the only ones getting in on the action. Beer companies, insurance agencies

and even law firms are relying on voice recognition to draw clients in. Who

wouldn’t want to hear Morgan Freeman introduce the evening news? That’s

exactly what CBS thought. And Budweiser wants us to know that George Clooney

also likes to kick back with a cold one. Tim Allen might know a whole hell

of a lot about power tools, but also knows the strength that Campbell’s soup

has on the soul. So do commercials really need a Hollywood star to sell

product? Not at all. This is great news, considering the fact that A-list

stars are synonymous with an A-list budget. What advertisers do need is a

signature voice. If you have the budget, then hire Gene Hackman, but if you

don’t, then you can rest easy knowing that there are plenty of experienced

and unique voice talent professionals who don’t have an agent that goes by

the name of Ari Gold. It could be as simple as a deep and powerful voice

telling you that Sunday is the day monster trucks will battle it out in the

pit of death. Enter Propulsion Media Labs: A-list talent at not so A-list

prices...and when you contact them to book your next professional voice,

it's YOU that gets treated like the celebrity.

Nicole Devine

Intern, Propulsion Media Labs

Professional Writing Major, Kutztown University