Tag Archives: Bailey Carpenter

“Aww, here it goes!”

by Bailey Carpenter

It was 11 p.m. on a weeknight, and having finally finished my homework, I settled in bed to watch TV. As I scrolled down the channel guide, I came to a sudden halt when I saw “Clarissa Explains It All” in one of the blue boxes, followed by “Kenan & Kel,” “All That” and “Doug.” I immediately slammed my thumb down on the “select” button.

What was this glorious gift from the TV gods? The first commercial break offered me an answer: “The 90s are All That” brought to you by the good people at TeenNick. It appeared someone had finally wised up at Nickelodeon studios and brought back TV favorites from the 90s, satisfying the cravings of 90s children nationwide.

Having previously planned to go to bed early, I ended up staying up into the early hours of the morning absorbing every second of shows that tickled my memory and made me miss my light-up Keds and neon windbreaker suit.

My excitement peaked, however, when another commercial break advertised the Twitter hashtag #90sAreAllThat and handle @90sareallthat_. I immediately pulled up the Twitter feed and found that I was not alone. Thousands of my peers were vigorously tweeting about the two-hour block:

audude08: “Its U Pick on @90sareallthat_ now watching #Doug. I love those 90s Nick shows… brings back the memories.”

AdamChaseFields: “@90sareallthat_ is the best thing that’s happened to television in SO long”

Kayla Aldridge: “@90sareallthat_ thanks for playing all these shows that i love.”

Bralein: “Made a Twitter account because I wanted to tell @90sareallthat_ that I want to see Aaahh!!! Real Monsters!”

Being the PR nerd that I am, I could not help but to reflect on the way Nickelodeon was not only bringing back its original audience from the 90s, but also incorporating the current lifestyle of that audience.

Nickelodeon is not the only network to take advantage of these connections: both Facebook and Twitter exploded with posts from my peers when Disney brought The Lion King back to theaters. According to a PR Newswire article, the film grossed $30 million in its opening weekend.

It seems now that my generation has some discretionary income, networks like Disney and Nickelodeon are using nostalgia to re-gain us as an audience and increase their profits.

In an Oct. 21 blog post, Kiren Pooni said, “The marketing and PR industries have successfully used nostalgia to play on the emotional connections consumers build with brands. When this is done well it is possible for former glories to be restored.”

It is safe to say that Nickelodeon and Disney have both “restored their former glory.” The 90s Are All That has expanded to include the TV show “Hey Dude” and brought back Stick Stickly to host an “interactive” portion of the two-hour block. Stickly’s show plays different 90s Nickelodeon favorites, as voted for on the 90s Are All That Facebook page.

Disney not only profited from the theatrical re-release, but is also experiencing high sales for The Lion King Blu-ray DVD released Oct. 4.

“Consumers are jumping at the chance to re-engage with their past and wrap themselves in the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from nostalgia,” Pooni said.

One major advantage of The Lion King’s return to the theater was that it not only brought in lines of now 20-somethings wanting to relive their childhoods, but also introduced the film to a whole new generation of children.

“What is clear is that in times of doom and gloom, there is comfort to be found in the ‘good old days’ and if you can capture that feeling in a brand, product or even a musical comeback, you could well be onto a winner,” Pooni said.

It looks like PR practitioners everywhere need to follow in the footsteps of Nickelodeon and Disney. Or, as Kel Mitchell says in “Kenan & Kel,” they should just say “aww, here it goes!” and incorporate nostalgia into campaigns aimed at sustaining audiences.


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Storytelling: the core of PR

by Bailey Carpenter

Public relations students like myself tend to share certain traits: we’re decent writers suffering from a Twitter addiction, we utterly despise math and we tend to get too excited in the grocery store when we see good rebranding. We have also chosen to study and practice public relations because we are drawn to a field that is constantly updating and changing — offering us something new every day.

Both PR practitioners and students are continuously asking What’s the next big thing? What’s in store for the future of PR? As graduation approaches, my classmates and I become more and more obsessed with what the future of PR may hold and how keeping up with the future might give us an edge in the job market.

This year, the annual PRSA International Conference was themed “Envisioning the future of public relations.” The conference, held Oct. 15-18 in Orlando, Fla., featured presentations from more than 150 PR professionals. According to the PRSA website, these sessions aimed to help the conference attendees “learn the latest strategies in communications from the visionaries who imagine and create the most innovative techniques in the business.”

However, with all the hype about the future and “the next big thing,” it’s now more important than ever to remember the basic foundation of PR: creating messages aimed at target audiences that are conveyed after establishing relationships with those publics.

Johna Burke, senior vice president of marketing at Burrelles_Luce_, led a session at this year’s PRSA conference on the importance of storytelling in a world focused on digital communication.

In an Oct. 27 blog post Tressa Robbins summarized Burke’s session. “Burke began by stressing that storytelling is the core competency in the public relations profession, next to great writing,” Robbins said. “No more is it just local library readings, storytelling festivals and other analog channels.”

“Storytelling” may seem like a term that supports the idea that PR is “spin,” but in reality, PR practitioners do tell stories. They create messages and must find the right ways to relay these messages so that their publics will pay attention to them in a world bombarded with hundreds of media forms and constantly updating channels.

According to Robbins, Burke said the most important things to consider when conveying a key message are to reach your audience using the appropriate media, understand your publics and use the resources your organization provides in an economical way.

“Public relations professionals must leverage the art form — make your story compelling, make it stand out,” Robbins said. “Blasting your message out to the masses is not the way to reach everyone.”

Because the conference was in Orlando, Burke chose to use Walt Disney as an example of a great storyteller. “He knew that kids were his primary market, yet he recognized his secondary market was the parents… he also didn’t forget there’s always a tertiary market—audiences we may not have originally anticipated,” Robbins said.

It’s easy to lose sight of the message’s importance and the story behind it when you’re concentrating on getting that message across every possible medium.

“[Burke] warns us to beware of the desire to be the newest, coolest — using the ‘all sizzle, no steak’ analogy. People see through this, and will not support long-time relationships, which is what you need,” Robbins said.

While we need to remain focused on the future and adapt to the “digital age,” we also need to know when to take a step back and remember that those in public relations should always do just that — relate.


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Staying ‘tru’ to the moo

by Bailey Carpenter

Growing up, the most glorious days of the week at my elementary school were chocolate milk days. We would all clamor and push for the door and fight over the brown cartons until every last one was gone. Some of us even claimed chocolate milk made the mystery meat taste better.

Recently, however, schools have taken such heat in the debate over childhood obesity that chocolate milk was banned from many schools because of its high sugar and high fructose corn syrup content.

Dean Foods, one of the leading food and beverage companies in the United States, began working in 2008 to create healthier flavored milk options, and ultimately bring chocolate milk back to the schools. The result is TruMoo (www.TruMoo.com), “a better for-you chocolate milk” made with fresh white milk and containing lower sugar, fewer calories and no high fructose corn syrup.

The product was launched nationwide in August with an ingenious campaign that included school pilots in the Northeast and on the Pacific Coast, a Twitter handle (@TruMooMilk), a Facebook fan page and even a sponsorship deal with the Grammy-winning show “Majors & Minors.” Most of their efforts were focused on changing parents’ and school administrators’ existing perceptions of chocolate milk.

“Dean Foods recognized that if we could strike the right balance of ingredients, flavored milk wouldn’t need as much sweetener,” said Andrea Carrothers, MS, RD, and nutrition communications manager for Dean Foods. “Our aim was simple: develop a nutrient-rich chocolate milk that moms and schools could feel good about serving and with a taste kids prefer.”

Carrothers also said that TruMoo milk was the clear choice in taste-tests — TruMoo was even preferred over some of the other high-selling flavored milk brands in Dean Foods’ brand family.

Additionally, Dean Foods’ TruMoo has not only brought moms’ approval back to chocolate milk, but to all classic milk flavors: strawberry, vanilla and even coffee.

TruMoo is produced by multiple Dean Foods dairies across the U.S. such as Shenandoah’s Pride, Barber’s andLAND O LAKES. Shenandoah’s Pride and TruMoo received national attention earlier this year when Fairfax County Public Schools lifted its chocolate milk ban so that it could sell TruMoo made by Shenandoah’s Pride in its cafeterias. This successful integration with the school system has become a focus for the TruMoo branding.

The brand also gained recognition this May when it was made part of the Wendy’s restaurant chain’s national beverage portfolio. The nationwide product launch also included couponing and national TV and print advertising. The light-heartedcommercials feature moms weighing the pros and cons of the product, complete with tiny ‘devil’ and ‘angel’ milkmen.

The result of all these TruMoo branding efforts? According to an August 30 PRNewswire press release, in taste tests, consumers prefer “TruMoo over national brands, chocolate drinks, and Dean Foods’ own previous flavored milk formulas”; TruMoo was “recently recognized with the ‘Parent Tested Parent Approved’ seal of approval”; and “tens of thousands of schools across the country have converted to fat-free TruMoo.”

With that said, three cheers for Dean Foods for bringing back a ‘Tru’ cafeteria favorite — not to mention launching a highly successful branding campaign.

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