Monthly Archives: February 2012

“The Fighting Sioux” – branding and tradition vs. racist concerns

Names and brands represent a significant investment for all organizations, no matter if they are for-profit corporations, private organizations, or higher education institutions. The University of North Dakota has resurrected its moniker – “The Fighting Sioux.” For decades the school has been of two minds about its nickname and logo. Some supporters view the name as traditional, while opposition characterizes the name as offensive to Native Americans. The logo features a Native American warrior with feather headdress. Merchandise with the logo is popular throughout North Dakota and neighboring areas.

UND had officially dropped the Fighting Sioux nickname in 2011, but after local residents collected 17,000 signatures to put the issue to a state-wide vote, the school was required to reinstate the logo back into effect.

The issue continues to cause problems for UND. The University of Iowa rescinded an invitation to an April track meet due to the school’s nickname. Iowa policy does not allow athletic departments to schedule competitions with schools using Native American mascots, unless the mascot is approved by the NCAA. In a related topic, the women’s hockey team from UND was not able to have their team photo included in the tournament guide due to apparel with the Fighting Sioux logo.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the essential elements of this issue?
  2. What have been the experiences of other schools in similar situations?
    1. Have students research the number of schools (high school and college) with similar nicknames that could be detrimental to a race or ethnical group.
    2. What have been the implications?
    3. What is the impact of a university logo on sales of apparel? On other aspects of campus life?
    4. How important is brand to universities?
    5. What could UND do to resolve the issue?

Source: Brandchannel.com, Associated Press, 2/28/12, CNN

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What makes a video go viral?

In this TED Talk video, Kevin Allocca has the dream job of watching You Tube videos for a living. Or is it a dream job? After all, there are 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day! Anyone can make and post a video. Anyone has the potential for fame online.

From the tens of millions of video clips, what is it that makes some of these videos go viral and reach millions of viewers? According to Allocca, there are three factors that are needed to break through the clutter:

  1. Tastemakers
  2. Community of participation
  3. Unexpectedness

Nothing happens overnight, and nothing goes viral with an initial boost from “tastemakers” and a large following of “participants.” This video tracks the timeline and tastemakers for three of the all-time viral video hits – Double rainbow, Friday, and Nyan cat. Enjoy the show!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the TED video (8 minutes). http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_allocca_why_videos_go_viral.html
  2. Survey the class:
    1. Who has watched “double rainbow,” “Friday,” or “Nyan cat?”
    2. Who has watched them more than once? Who has forwarded any of these?
    3. Ask students to share links from videos that they have forwarded, or have been forwarded to them.
    4. Discuss the attributes of those videos. What made them share them?
    5. Have students search for some of the more popular commercial-based viral videos (suggestions: Will it blend, Old Spice). Did the attributes apply to those videos?
    6. Using the three attributes mentioned in the TED video, how could companies use those to create videos with viral potential?

 

Source: TED Talks – www.ted.com

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Connect with your car – Tell its story

Subaru not only wants to connect you with a new car, it also wants to find out how you feel about your car experiences. The company has released an online campaign that invites customers to tell the story of their first car, using interactive menus and animation. Once you are done telling your story, you are then free to share it online with others, using social media and email. (This campaign was created by Minneapolis firm Carmichael Lynch.)

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss use of interactive online media with consumers.
    1. When does it work? What makes it flop?
    2. Have students go to the Web site www.firstcarstory.com and build their own videos. When they are done, ask for volunteers to post their video online. Then over the next week, track the progress and views of the video.
    3. Discuss how effective this campaign will be for Subaru.
      1. What are recommendations to improve the campaign?
      2. What should the objectives be for the campaign?
      3. Have students also view the Web sites of advertising agencies to see other examples of client work. (Find listing of agencies in local geography or check Advertising Age for listings.)

Source:  Ad Age Daily, 2/24/12

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