Louise Stix

Manager of Corporate Communications and Creative Services, Savin Corporation

I graduated from Lake Forest College in Illinois with a degree in Art History. My first position out of college was as an Assistant Curator of the art collection at First Chicago Corporation, a large bank, where I observed many aspects of business and decided that a career in marketing was preferable to that of a museum curator. I first learned consumer package goods marketing disciplines as a product manager at American Can and then at Cadbury Schweppes. However, the allure of the advertising business was too great to resist and my experience as a brand manager was attractive to agencies like BBDO who were looking for this type of experience in their account management personnel. As an account executive at BBDO, New York, I worked on major brands such as GE Lighting, Black & Decker DustBuster, Wisk and others. While there I learned about advertising strategy, creative development and production. My expertise was attractive to public relations firms with package goods clients and I decided to round out my expertise by joining a PR firm where I worked on Colgate Oral Care products.

I returned to the corporate side in my present position at Savin Corporation where I draw on all of my experience in marketing, advertising and public relations to run the equivalent of a communications agency within a company. My department is responsible for most of the internal and external communications for Savin, and our primary focus is developing and implementing integrated marketing communications programs. We handle Savin's public relations, websites, e-communications, print and electronic product collateral, and, of course, advertising. This is where the fun comes in. It is exciting to see creative ideas come to life and to take something from an idea to execution in the marketplace and see how it works.

"It is exciting to see creative ideas come to life and to take something from an idea to execution in the marketplace and see how it works."

I work with copywriters, art directors, web designers, producers, printers, designers, photographers and other communication specialists. I also work closely with Savin's top management and our agency to develop a strategic communications plan that we can execute across many of the customer touch-points that are available. We extend our marketing communication strategy includes beyond advertising to our web site, direct marketing, electronic mail and other collateral.

My career has been evolutionary in terms of the areas I have worked in, what I have learned,and what has taken place in communications the past 25 years. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. It is important to be adaptable and never stop learning. When I began working in advertising, network television, magazines, newspapers, radio and out-of-home were the media options. All of the cable TV networks, different radio formats, the 11,000+ magazines, the Internet, and digital technology did not exist. Who could have ever imagined that the television commercials for Savin's new "Think Inside the Box" campaign could be produced entirely through computer technology and that the only "shoot" we had was a one-hour digital session to film the machine in the closing frames! The myriad of media options now available require creative thinking and a well-planned IMC program if a company wants to communicate effectively.

In addition to working at Savin, I am also an adjunct professor at Norwalk Community College where I teach Principles of Advertising and Introduction to Business. I am in the unique position of being able to "practice what I preach" and "preach what I practice." I don't think there is a more interesting and dynamic field in which to work and teach. I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy it as much as I have.

awareness and sales had increased considerably, but some advertising people still think the ads were so creative and entertaining that they overwhelmed the message.40 With the increasing amount of clutter in most advertising media, it may be necessary to use a novel creative approach to gain the viewer's or reader's attention. However, the creative execution cannot overwhelm the message. Clients must walk a fine line: Make sure the sales message is not lost, but be careful not to stifle the efforts of the creative specialists and force them into producing dull, boring advertising.

• Is the creative approach appropriate for the media environment in which it is likely to be seen? Each media vehicle has its own specific climate that results from the nature of its editorial content, the type of reader or viewer it attracts, and the nature of the ads it contains. Consideration should be given to how well the ad fits into the media environment in which it will be shown. For example, the Super Bowl has become a showcase for commercials. People who care very little about advertising know how much a 30-second commercial costs and pay as much attention to the ads as to the game itself, so many advertisers feel compelled to develop new ads for the Super Bowl or to save new commercials for the game.

• Is the ad truthful and tasteful? Marketers also have to consider whether an ad is truthful, as well as whether it might offend consumers. For example, the Just For Feet athletic footwear chain ran a commercial on the 1999 Super Bowl that featured a Kenyan runner who was tracked like an animal by white mercenaries, drugged unconscious, and fit with a pair of running shoes—which goes against centuries of Kenyan tradition. The spot led to charges of neocolonialism and racism from outraged consumers and the media and created a major public relations problem for the company. Just For Feet had to pull the spot after running it only one time and ended up suing its ad agency.41 The ultimate responsibility for determining whether an ad deceives or offends the target audience lies with the client. It is the job of the advertising or brand manager to evaluate the approach suggested by the creative specialists against company standards. The firm's legal department may be asked to review the ad to determine whether the creative appeal, message content, or execution could cause any problems for the company. It is much better to catch any potential legal problems before the ad is shown to the public.

The advertising manager, brand manager, or other personnel on the client side can use these basic guidelines in reviewing, evaluating, and approving the ideas offered by the creative specialists. There may be other factors specific to the firm's advertising and marketing situation. Also, there may be situations where it is acceptable to deviate from the standards the firm usually uses in judging creative output. As we shall see in Chapter 19, the client may want to move beyond these subjective criteria and use more sophisticated pretesting methods to determine the effectiveness of a particular approach suggested by the creative specialist or team.

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