Glancing at the title you might think this post is about food, but you are wrong. It is about recent advertising that has caught my attention and sparked my interest. This post is also inspired by two articles: The Charlotte Observer’s “Eau de marketing, with hint of pepper” by Jen Aronoff and The Wall Street Journal’s “Does America Really Want More $2 Bills?” by Sudeep Reddy. First, with the introduction of new $2 combo meals at Taco Bell came their full-page newspaper ad in USA Today that featured a letter to the Federal Reserve. The letter requested that the Federal Reserve circulate more $2 bills, which have not been in circulation since 2006, ‘to meet the pending demand.’ It even spawned a petition. I find this approach to be very bold. The question is this: Is it too much to ask? Well, it is a nice thought that the Federal Reserve would go along with this, and perhaps it could happen, but my prediction is that since there is not much demand it will not happen. It is a clever request to be sure and definitely something that catches people’s attention, which should lead to more word of mouth for their campaign and increased sales.
The second thing that caught my attention was the article about the billboard for Bloom grocery chain that is designed to emit a smell evoking a grilled steak with a pepper rub. Let me say first off that it is refreshing to see a reinvention of the billboard. What an interesting way to draw people in with your advertising and make it work better for you. Of course, like any initial venture, there are downsides that the author notes in this article. The main ones being that the smell does not travel far enough and that the weather can alter or erase the smell or its effect. It sounds as though the technology is in phase one and that there are further improvements needed to make it more effective. Aside from that, what an inventive idea. Both of these are interesting ads. For Taco Bell, an interesting ploy, and for Bloom, their version of the billboard could be a trend to watch for in the future.
On my resume I list all of my experience that is relevant to the full-time public relations/journalism position I am pursuing. This includes: my experience with MediaLab at PLU, an elite student-run group providing a variety of communications services for local businesses, etc., my freelance experience writing for PLU’s newspaper The Mast and Scene magazine (PLU alumni magazine), as well as my internships: Oregon Zoo public relations internship, Premier Media Group internship (writing for 425, South Sound and Tacoma Live magazines) and my Dayton Communications public relations internship in addition to my current experience as a staff writer for Portrait of Portland magazine. However, what I do not mention is my previous part-time job experience that I feel makes me an even better candidate for the position I hope to obtain (that being a full-time writer or public relations position connected to the industries of travel/tourism, food/beverage and retail/consumer).
My internship at the Oregon Zoo has given me experience in the travel/tourism portion, but I also have work experience in the retail/consumer and food/beverage industry. My first job was as a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret during the summer of 2004, helping customers with their needs on the sales floor. The next summer, I worked as a sandwich artist at Subway and even became a living, breathing advertisement for a new store location, taking turns with my fellow employees in the infamous Subway sandwich suit to distribute coupons and publicize the new location on the sidewalks of nearby streets. Next, during the last summer before starting my series of internships, I was a Bales grocery store courtesy clerk. In addition to stocking shelves and servicing the bottle return, I was chosen to manage the Muscular Dystrophy root beer float stand at my store. My first foray into cause-related marketing. Even before all of the relevant experience on my resume I had the same fields of interest on my radar, and more and more they intersected with my course of study: public relations and advertising. The culmination being that I understand these industries better because of my first-hand experience within them.
There are three local companies that stand out to me within retail/consumer, food/beverage and travel/tourism. These companies, their achievements and their accomplishments are part of what inspires me to continue to pursue a full-time PR or journalism profession where I can represent them or companies like them. There are more that I admire, but these three are at the top of my list: Burgerville, Nike and OMSI. First, I admire Burgerville for its commitment to sustainability. They place an emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal food and use 100% compostable and recyclable packaging; which makes them stand out amongst fast food restaurants.
Next up is Nike, who I admire for their innovation. From Bill Bowerman’s unique outsoles created with his wife’s waffle iron, to the Nike Air technology and the Nike Shox cushioning system, Nike continually pushes the envelope in fulfilling its mission “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete.” Finally, there is OMSI (otherwise known in full as Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). I admire OMSI for the connection they have built locally and beyond. OMSI makes science fun, offering visitors hands-on experiments, interactive exhibits like its Earthquake House and of course the Imax dome or the Omnimax theater. I have a personal connection to all three of these and to the respective categories they come from. For now I scheme from afar, but someday I intend to advocate for and publicize them (or companies like them) from a full-time public relations or journalism capacity.