Archive for the ‘Professional Practice’ Category


On this post I will be discussing the topic of conversation, and how it has very much changed, especially between younger generations but also slightly on older generations, as technology changes and evolves allowing greater possibilities.

When people started using the internet more and more, and its popularity began to climb, email was already around, and was becoming a hot topic. People everywhere were emailing everyone about anything, as it was a new way to communicate between people, allowing the insertion of images and other multimedia along with it. Also, being a free service meant it was accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection.

You could see the same burst of popularity with instant messaging, like AOL Messenger and MSN Messenger, which became increasingly popular around 5 years ago. Along with the growth of Instant Messengers, came Video Chat, Audio Chat and also data transfer services peer to peer. This meant people could see, talk and also type text to their friends and family, for free, with ease.

At the same time, the Skype service was growing, which is a separate peer to peer video/audio streaming service. This has all changed how people communicate, with over 175 million people logging into Facebook each day, their version of Instant Messaging plays a big part on how people communicate, especially with younger and younger people using these kinds of services every day.

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Challenge 7: Reflective Skills

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Challenge 7 is Reflective Skills. This is me talking about myself and my progress through the course and also outside of college time. It is where I reflect about past work or past happenings and describe them how they happened and what I may have changed, etc.

Twitter Logo

I would firstly like to reflect on the usage of Apple Mac Computers during the course. Before this course I’d never touched a Mac, never mind used one, and having seen pictures I never thought I’d be able to get to grips with a different operating system. When I was being interviewed for a different Graphics Design course I was asked whether I’d ever used Macs and it had worried me that I wouldn’t be able to use it to the same level other students may be able to. I also was sceptical of other operating systems, especially ones made by Apple as I had come to the conclusion they couldn’t make any software with decent features, but on reflection I have noticed that Apples are easy to get used to, and that the software is good to use. I shouldnt have been worried as the interface is easy to get used to, and is in some ways better than the Windows counterparts.

Another reflection would be Twitter. In the past I have used Twitter and not been able to “get” the point of it, and I couldn’t seem to get into the swing of using the website, so just gave up 10 minutes after creating my account. We used Twitter as part of college to learn about its features and usages, and I slowly began to understand the point of it, and now I would use it daily, if my life were interesting enough to write about! On reflection I should have tried harder to get to grips with the website and I maybe would have then been able to use it in real life situations.

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Challenge 6: Ethical Branding

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment
This Challenge was about the ways that companies can use Ethical Branding to help sales of their products.  Such an example of a company doing this is Lush, which is a primarily a soap shop, also selling gift boxes and fragrances. The companies mantra is that they make cosmetics by hand as opposed to typical factory-made cosmetics. They also are against animal testing and ensure they source human-tested cosmetics instead. They are also involved with donating to charity as part of their ethical initiatives.

Lush Logo

I personally agree with their approach to selling such products, as most things we buy and consume as customers is made in factories and little attention is paid to if the ingredients could be not what we’d expect, could be sourced from people who are receiving a poor deal (I.e not fair trading), and also we pay little attention to whether things have been tested on animals. Lush is trying to put forward the message that such things are wrong, and so they set the standard by only selling products which adhere to their standards. This would make me, if i were a consumer of such products, go to them instead of to a typical shop which would sell similar products, as you know where they have come from, and that they are made to some kind of standard.

I think this approach to branding works for the company, and they do also provide a much more personal experience when you visit one of their shops, rather than  the typical bland “organisational” treatment you would normally experience from such a shop. You get a feeling that the staff like their job, and like serving you as a customer. This is why ethical branding does pay out, and i think that any profit Lush makes is well deserved.

Lush Shop Interior

Overall, Ethical Branding is a good technique for marketing and selling products, as long as the statements are 100% true, and that they make sure that they dont go overboard and make claims which are bigger than they are.

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Challenge 5: Marketing Strategies

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment
For this challenge I shall be looking at Marketing Techniques, and if specific ones would work today the same way they did then they were used.

The first technique I will talk about is the Old Spice one. It involved a former NFL wide receiver signed to film various adverts for Old Spice deodorant Company, with the intention of saying that if you used their products, you’d be as cool/successful/good-looking as he is. This was a rather casual approach to Marketing and more “personal” than “organisational”. Apparently the end result was that he responded to twitter comments by recording video responses personally. I think this was a good strategy as it put the advertisement on the same level as the customer, providing them with a personal experience rather than typical bland corporate advertising.

Old Spice Guy

I believe in the past such a technique could not have been used successfully, as the tastes of the public have changed, humour is different and also the technology was not in place for such a campaign to be used, such as the decade which I posted about earlier, the 1980’s, which would not have hosted such an advertising strategy because then there would not have been Twitter, nor would there have been video uploading sites.

Another technique i shall talk about is the I Love Bees Campaign which was for the release of Halo 2 on Xbox. It was an Alternate Reality game involving websites which contained hidden messages, videos and clues to work out the reason why a beekeeping website appeared to have been hacked. Its virtual existence spawned real-life interactions when the website revealed a series of co-ordinates, which related to pay phones. It was highly talked about and forum members worked together to unravel clues and decipher meanings of codes and subliminal messages.

Halo 2

I think the technique worked well and generated a lot of media attention and publicity for the already anticipated game, Halo 2. The campaign was a great idea in my opinion and must have been very exciting to be taking part in, and I believe it probably got Halo 2 many more customers than without the I Love Bees campaign. I also think this technique could only work in the modern times today, as back in the 1980’s such a technique would have been impossible to implement in the same way due to our state of technology and ease of making such a game.

The final technique I will talk about is the Go Compare advertising campaign. It has been running for the last year and continues to do so at the moment, and features  a singing opera man who has an irritating singing voice which is highly repetitive. He is featured in different TV and Radio commercials, and on his Television appearances there are different scenarios that he encounters, such as one where he visits a man stranded on a beach and he informs him that he needs to renew his insurance. There are many variations of the advert, viewable at the link below.

Gio Compario

I believe this technique is well executed, but a poor initial idea. I don’t think it would work back in 1980, nor does it work to great effect in this year. The aim of the advert is to get the repetitive song into your head, so that the first insurance comparison website you use is that one. The problem with the idea is that the advert gets old quickly, and irritates many people, resulting in people purposely not using the website out of principle.

Overall, none of the techniques work as an idea nor are they possible due to the advancement of our technology today, so I believe that whilst some are good, some just couldn’t be used previously.

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Challenge 4: Case Study

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

For this challenge I have chosen the case study of the Harry Potter Franchise. The analysis of the product is as so; This is a series of 7 books, 8 films and 8 games + various spinoff products and events, worth a total of £15 billion, with the orignal writer of Harry Potter, J.K Rowling being reportedly worth 560 Million. As you can see by the figures, the Harry Potter Franchise as a product is a very successful one, with its fortune spanning the globe, and its wide target audience is partly to blame for that. The product of Harry Potter is the way they can market it, the books appeal to younger people as well as adults by the unique way that they’re written, and the films and games appeal to the general cinema-goer aswell as the hardcore Harry Potter fan, they are not limited purely to people knowledgable about the series. This is very beneficial to the profits from this franchise and it does make for very good watching, as the films are very good to watch.

 “Harry Potter is a billion pound asset created by J.K Rowling which has a huge following and includes 7 books and 8 films.”

Each of the Harry Potter films have been directed by their respective directors, not sticking to the same one, they are all, however, distributed by Warner Bros. I think personally that the directors and Warner Bros who oversaw the operation did a good job of capturing the spirit of the books and kept enough of the orignal content in to make the films relatable to the films, which I think is crucial in such a big project.

Harry Potter Artwork

The Entire Harry Potter series was written by J.K Rowling (Joanne Rowling), and the idea was conceived on a train journey in 1990. She is also famous for writing a book “From Rags to Riches”, which is a story about how she progressed from a woman living on benefits to a famous billionaire within 5 years. Joanne is now famous for her works and has gone on to see her very own imagination portrayed in film and games.

The roots of the franchise stem from the first Harry Potter book written by J.K Rowling, as the story goes she was on a train from Manchester to London when the idea struck her about a black-haired teenager who didn’t realize he was a wizard, the ideas grew from then and she has gone on to create another 6 Harry Potter books and become part of the huge franchise that is Harry Potter.

The first book was released on June 30th, 1997, this was Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, after much time waiting for a publisher to make the leap and publish the first book, and after then J.K Rowling continued to write the books, it has been said that she had written all the base storylines right from the beginning, indicating she had a burst of ideas of characters and different happenings and then after she was published she made these into full-sized books.

The future developments of Harry Potter will be the buildup to the Deathly Hallows Part 2, as this is the final film in the series. There is Deathly Hallows Part 1 recently out at the cinema, which is bound to make a record amount of money at the box office, as the Harry Potter films usually do. There will be the typical merchandising, as Harry Potter usually do deals with LEGO by releasing special Harry Potter Playsets, as well as action figures, general apparel, etc. There is also bound to be a console game released for the newest film, as has been the trend with every previous film. The future of the series is likely to die off and never be heard from again, due to J.K Rowling saying that this recent book is the be all and end all of the series, but as far as we could know, another book could make an appearance if the demand was there.

Some of the figures about the franchise are:

  • 400,000 books sold as of June 2008
  • Genres are based around Fantasy, Learning from Mistakes and Coming of Age
  • The books have been translated into over 67 different languages
  • Different target countries have different versions of cover art and book titles
  • There are Adult and Child versions of the series of books
  • First book published 1997 – Last book published 2006
  • Harry Potter brand is worth £15 Billion
  • The most recent 4 books are the fastest selling books in history
  • All the Harry Potter films are the highest-grossing films in history
  • The franchise owns a themed area of the Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida

My opinion on the franchise as a reader of the books through childhood that they are high quality books with very solid and decent storylines, which are great for younger people as well as mature adults. The language isn’t basic, but it isn’t too complex for younger children to understand, and this is even more so in the films. I believe the money made from the franchise is deserved from the hard work and dedication to the series shown by J.K Rowling, and she has been able to see her stories and dreams come to life on paper, on the screen, and now in real life in Florida. The franchise has been a great success, and it is deserved.

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Introduction to Prezi

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Today we were introduced to Prezi, which is an online flash application which is an alternative to Microsoft Powerpoint. Firstly we were shown a TED Talks video about Metaphors, which was shown using Prezi. Instead of the typical kind of presentation seen on Microsoft Powerpoint, there is a single huge page of which you control which parts are shown, in which order. You can use text, images and sounds like Microsoft Powerpoint, and you also can embed video. It is a much more fluent solution to your presentation needs, and also has the added bonus of being hosted online so can be accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Also, it can be embedded onto a webpage as easy as any other flash animation/video is, which is something that Powerpoint cant do as default, or very easily.

Interface of Prezi

Our task for the lesson was to make a presentation on the topic of our choice to learn how to use Prezi and so at the end we could have a look at the different creative presentations people had made. My favourite was James Hopwood’s as his featured the number “1980” in very large font, and inside the letters there were images of 1980’s related things. This was creative and was good to watch. Mine was based on the same year, and mine simply moved between different good things about the 1980s, though I did need to tweak it so it worked better.

I personally would choose this over powerpoint anyday, and would use this in the future instead of it. It offers customisable presentations which work alot more fluently, and could be used much more effectively to get the point across. One thing i’d improve with  the technology is to make it more stable, as it is a bit buggy and does lag sometimes, which does affect the useability of the Prezi System, especially on computers with lower performance. This could be resolved with a stable .exe release with quality settings for different levels of computer power, which would also make it easier to put the presentation in a place such as a memory stick or other offline area.

The Prezi can be viewed here:

Challenge 3: Advertising Strategies

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

For the “Choose a Decade” Task 1, I chose the decade of the 1970′s. Our task was to research the decades between the 1950′s and the 1990′s. I researched the information about the different decades on Wikipedia. For Challenge 3, we are to choose an advertising campaign from that decade and compare it to how it would be marketed today. Here is the Company I chose to do the Challenge on.

I chose the McDonald’s Big Mac advertising from the 1970’s, as after watching all of the campaigns from the other companies in the same decade, the McDonald’s one seemed to contain an aspect of them all. The advert features simple cues, which aren’t subtle. It simply is saying “This Burger is Nice, Now Eat It”, rather than coaxing a potential customer into it by appealing to their taste buds. It is a very classic kind of advert, and is very typical from its time.

It differs greatly from Advertising Strategies used today, which are less obvious, and try to use the products price to sell the item, rather than the previously described advertisement which is just getting the consumer aware that the product exists.

Another point is that instead of spending all their budget on a single item from their menu, McDonald’s usually advertise themselves as a whole, promoting all of their food at the same time, and indirectly rather than jumping straight to the point. They do, however, advertise specific burgers sometimes, but still very differently to how they did in the 1970’s. McDonald’s also now do seasonal advertising which relates to the time of year, and various events which are happening like the World Cup, and advertising special menus for Summer.

I think McDonald’s are marketing their products in a creative and casual way, which isn’t just about telling the customer to buy their products, but is more about showcasing the casual nature of their fast food restaurants, and are doing it using high quality filming. On occasion they also use slight comedy or little minor details for comic usage, which further adds to the  rest of the decent marketing. There isn’t anything I’d change about their marketing strategy, as they’ve got it all sorted.

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