When I was at a recent informational interview at Grady Britton I posed a question that sparked an interesting discussion and, as a result, this blog entry. Doing my homework and clicking through their website I noticed over and over again the phrase “print’s not dead yet”. That got me doing some more thinking about print and whether it is still (and will remain) a viable channel of communication. A lot of people are quick to dismiss it as a dying medium, but I disagree. The following are my opinions in a nutshell. Thinking back to my college days I remember a publishing and printing class I took as a communications elective class. The class was filled with fellow students who were crazy about books. Even moreso than myself, and I consider myself a devotee, in that they also loved the smell of books (I kid you not). From this I concluded that there will always be people out there who crave the tangible nature of print, whether they love the smell or just want to be able to touch, hold, highlight, scribble in margins and dog ear its pages as they read.
Even with the advent of e-readers and online news, I feel that there is still a market for print. Those who like to clip and post newspaper and magazine articles, highlight, scribble in margins and dog ear pages? You need to actually have a tangible print version to do the first, and the rest is much easier with print. Also these electronic devices require rechargeable batteries and those need outlets to recharge. They are not as pool or beach friendly as a print version book, newspaper or magazine. Get one of the print versions slightly wet, and it is not the end of the world. Run out of battery charge, or get sand or water in an e-reader and it is never a good thing but rather a hassle. One that requires additional expenses such as batteries, repair costs, and waterproof covers. Where will people who get burnt out on the hassles and downfalls of electronic devices go? Print. Furthermore print as a communication industry technique offers a type of visual component that is different than that served up with other tactics, and can make for a more well-rounded and profitable campaign. It is also still the most affordable and the most easily accessible. Thus I believe there will always be a demand for print and, consequently, a place for print in the toolbox of the media professional.
I was a child of the 90′s. Television commercials were especially interesting to me, and that is saying a lot because I hardly sat still. The ones I found to be the most creative, and the ones that drew the most attention from me, were ones for the industries in which I am interested in today within the field of public relations: retail/consumer, food/beverage and travel/tourism. Notable examples, or ones that captivated me, included a commercial for the Lloyd Center, one for McDonalds, and one for Disneyland. These commercials had a significant impact and influence on me and my current interests in the field.
The Lloyd Center one was a commercial they showed around Christmas time, because I distinctly remembered seeing the spokesperson in a Santa hat. More importantly, what sticks with me today is the jingle. “In the center of the city, in the center of it all, Lloyd Center’s got it all.” Then there was the commercial for McDonalds that introduced the Barbie and Hot Wheels toys as the new Happy Meal toys. It featured Ronald McDonald and Hamburglar, and its plot centered around Hamburglar trying to steal cheeseburgers from Ronald. Another one I remember is the Disneyland commercial for the new Indiana Jones ride, because it came out right around the time I went to Disneyland for the very first time. Similar to my 7th grade communications commercial project, these commercials are memorable. They are ones that I reflect on as part of my inspiration to become part of the communications industry.
Last week I shared some of what is behind my current passions. The flip side of how I discovered this career path has to do with a 7th grade communications class assignment. At first most of the syllabus made the class sound like it was going to be boring. However, the class turned out to be one of my favorites and one of the assignments in particular caught my attention. Our teacher’s project was for us to create our own commercials working with a group of classmates. These commercials were going to be shown at a school assembly, so this project was a big deal. Our teacher was so jazzed about the assignment, and you could tell it was his favorite because he had saved videotapes full of student commercials from several previous years that he shared when introducing the project. His excitement was infectious.
I remember being in awe that we were really going to be allowed to create our own. It seemed like an awesome privilege and it was even more fun because it could be about anything real or imagined. My group made up some kind of energy or soda drink, designed the story board, choreographed and videotaped the whole thing. Before this assignment I did not realize that people like myself were in charge of creating these commercials and this became an attractive career option for me. When I got placed in a communications class for my freshman seminar class in college I loved it, and I knew why, it had all started with my 7th grade class and our commercial assignment.