Volvo

Pay Up or Shut Up

Native advertising. Branded content. What are those? They’re advertisements (typically online) that are placed within a publication whose contents blend with the context of the user experience. “What?” As I assume you just said to yourself. Well, it’s just a new form of ads that are less annoying and more entertaining. For all intents and purposes, let’s call it the future of advertising.

What does all this mean? Well blog readers, students, people seeking knowledge and also people desperately trying to connect with interesting people, it means shitty ads are on the decline.

What is the actual meaning of native advertising? Maybe a new annoying and innovative version of ads? Deceitful messaging? Perhaps even a desperate cry to make money for your brand?…#budlight. The answer will be debated for the next few years to come. Some people may say that the advertising industry should take caution or become self-conscious of their new and eager ways of connecting with people–I’m most certainly not.

67% of consumers feel positive about the advertising they see around them. And that was when advertising looked like this.   And now, thank God we at least have videos like this.

I have no complaints. Do you? That’s a rhetorical question. If in your head you are still saying, “but wait, no I think that ads are extremely annoying and….” Then start a Kickstarter campaign for a new way to pay for your mindless Internet activity because ads are keeping you from paying for your 140 character news bits, cat videos, Facebook stalking and celebrity photoshopped porn (maybe you pay for that last one).

Anyway, I’m not the biggest proponent of online advertising, either. Everyone gets annoyed when you try to show someone a song or video on YouTube and the excitedness is delayed because of a dumbass Geico ad. However, advertising in general is paving a toll free road for us to access our favorite websites. In this case, the more enjoyable and entertaining advertising, the happier we all can be.

If you still aren’t convinced, then tell me why and we’ll talk. At this point, not even Mark Copyranter himself could keep me from trying to steer you to an alternative perception.

Whether we’re talking about Siri taking over the world, printing guns or free Internet, the future is something we cannot predict. We can dream, imagine, think and maybe even plan. However, it is not something that we can necessarily control.  If that sounds cynical and blunt, then you are awarded no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. If you are still upset, then please buy more RAM for your brain, increase your bandwidth and figure out more shortcuts to your laptop because this is where life is heading.

This is the current future of online interaction. Advertising in some way, form or fashion is evolving into entertainment. This is beyond your ordinary Coca Cola shoutout in a Mary Kate and Ashley movie. Where we are now with advertising is authentic productions, short stories, documentaries and sometimes parodies.  Don’t tell me you haven’t cringed during a Red Bull video or laughed at a branded video from Funny or Die.  If you don’t keep up with these social trends or choose not to, then I applaud you more than Spike Lee during a Knicks game–it’s nice to be unplugged.  Just know that even Alexander Supertramp himself couldn’t survive alone without technology in today’s world. Clothing, bare essentials, maps, weapons and a few good conversations can keep a dream alive, but they will hardly allow you to achieve it.  Be opinionated,  pursue your dreams and keep the Internet alive and well.

 

Side note–please realize that you just read an entire native advertisement for this blog; branded under Two Beers and a Coffee.

 

 

 

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Eargasms

Have you ever had a song come on and just envelop your brain and take your emotions on a euphoric journey? Ya, me too, everyday pretty much. There are certain sounds that make me tingle inside and my hairs stand up. The cool thing about when that happens is certain songs could come from any genre, however, my brain has pinpointed the type of music in which it enjoys the most. Also, have you ever had a song trigger a certain smell, memory, time in your life, or even a dream? Yes, me too. Granted, not every conjuring of a memory through a song is the happiest. However, I am so intrigued and enamored by this ability of music to trigger emotions and sometimes to make you feel on top of the world. We all know when we hear a song that gives us an eargasm, we immediately share it on our best friends wall or go to the next party and say, “bro, I got the next song, trust me, it’s fire.” Okay, maybe not those exact words but you can relate.

I was curious about this ability of music so I decided to delve into some information. Researchers have found that songs can activate our visual cortex, which is why usually you try to paint a picture that matches the sound you are hearing. Songs can trigger neurons in the motor cortex, leading you to nod your head and boogie. Also, your cerebellum comes into play, which tries to figure out the sequence of a song before it happens, based on previous songs you have heard.

Hearing a certain song or sound is tied to memories. If you hear a song that played during your first kiss, then the medial prefrontal cortex, where memory is stored, is activated. I thought this was pretty interesting… Since the medial prefrontal cortex is one of the last areas to be destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have found that people with the condition can remember songs from long ago, even when they can’t remember what they did yesterday.

Brain imaging scans demonstrate that our emotional reaction to music takes place in the brain. In a study of a woman who had damage to her temporal lobe, researchers found that while the woman was unable to distinguish between melodies, she was still able to have the emotional reaction that you might expect from hearing happy or sad melodies. Imaging scans have also shown that music that sounds happy activates the reward centers of the brain, releasing dopamine, which in essence, gives us the same dose of happiness that we would get from a piece of chocolate, sex or drugs.

Is music the ultimate cure for depression and stress? Music has been found to boost the immune system of patients after surgeries, lower stress in pregnant women and decrease blood pressure and heart rate in cardiac patients. Music therapy has also proven to be more effective than other types of therapies in patients suffering from depression, and it’s been shown to lower levels of anxiety and loneliness in the elderly. You don’t have to be sick to benefit from the reduced stress and increased happiness that music can bring. Live music is the skeleton key for happiness because it provides a social bond. When you are around people who enjoy the same thing as you do, a friendly bond is created, a proven factor in the search for happiness.

I hope you guys found this information as interesting as I did and continue to boogie to your favorite tunes and for that matter discover new sounds! Share the music that brings you happiness by commenting so we can all enjoy it and connect with you. Here’s a song that is brightening up my life right now.

-Bradford

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Peaks and Pits

The past few months I have ended my day, each day, by reading Humans of New York (or during SXSW, Humans of Austin.)

If you are familiar with the blog it is likely that you share the same fondness for it and have adopted a similar daily or weekly ritual of your own. If you are not familiar with the blog, or the book, it is an ongoing collection of photographs of people that the photographer encounters around the city paired with a quote from the subject depicted.

While the photographer does not always reveal the question that prompted the response captioned on the photo, I’ve come to learn that often times it is a variation of one of the following:

“What has been the saddest moment of your life?”

“When was the happiest you have ever been?”

“What is your biggest struggle?”

The responses are simple, quirky, heartfelt, shocking, thought provoking and everything in between. I think that is what draws the fascination – the feeling of gathering an intimate detail or a small piece of insight about a stranger.

Reeling this idea back to a much, much smaller scale… It reminds me of a tradition I had with my friends in college. At the end of every week of senior year a group of us would go to dinner and take turns sharing “the peaks and the pits” of our week. The peak was the best moment and the pit, the worst.

That sounds incredibly cheesy, I realize, mainly because it is incredibly cheesy. But we grew to love “peaks and pits” because it gave us the opportunity to hear each person pinpoint their two extremes. It also forces you to really reflect on your own week. It’s interesting how easily you can gain insight into the trend of someone’s week by just watching which they struggle with more – identifying a peak or identifying a pit (OR narrowing it down to just one peak versus just one pit.)

I learned that asking a person to explain the best moment and worst moment of their week (or in HONY’s case, of their life) is a simple way to transform small talk into a genuine conversation.

And isn’t understanding people what success in this business is all about?

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Cheers!

Christina

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The Final Countdown

Hi Friends!

It’s been forever I feel!

Well, I have been finishing up my college career in the meantime. I have been feeling all sorts of emotions; excitement, fear, anxiety, and not mention, I have been having panic attacks about where I am going to live, and what I am going to do. #thankscollege  But, as my four years of college slowly dwindle  down into my final 3 weeks I want YOUR HELP!!! I want to make a final bucket list of all the hidden gems/ last horrahs I can do before I go into the REAL WORLD to keep me preoccupied before my graduation tears start running. 

I love adventures and trying new things, so please think back to when you were in college and tell me what made your years special!

 But let’s make this fun… Because leaving college is kind of a bummer… If you comment with good/kind ideas I will take a picture and post the TOP 3 on the blog after my graduation! Feel free to be wild, I only have 3 weeks left! What do I have to lose?

HELP A SISTA OUT!! 

But, please be nice!

-OKP

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Let the Shrinkage Begin

coldshower

Most people will claim a hot shower is where they do all their best thinking. It’s probably where you come up with your most groundbreaking ideas, your think tank. A time to reflect on your day and what you have going on. At least that’s what they are for me, 20 minutes of thought as I just stand under hot water with no distractions whatsoever. Now, why on earth would you give up these relaxing, hot water think sessions?

A week ago I came across this post (read it, it’s hilarious and the man is a far better writer than I) about a life hack that was supposed to improve circulation, combat depression, strengthen immunity, increase testosterone, and increase energy. That sure sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Obviously, so I thought I’d try it out.

All it requires: 1) get in the shower, 2) turn the water to cold, and 3) last at least five minutes.

Thoughts after shower 1: Holy. Shit. Stepping out of that first shower I thought to myself, “there’s no way I’m going to be able to do this for a week straight, let alone make it a full blown habit.”

ColdGatoradeShower

But somehow I managed to stick to it for a full week. Now I can’t say that I’ve experienced any of the long term benefits yet, but there is something pretty pleasant about the cold. For one, it sure does wake you up and gives you a little boost of energy. We all could have predicted that one. It cut my shower time down by about 15 minutes. I mean, there’s no reason to linger under cold water. You’re in, you’re out.

The most unexpected benefit was the extinction of these think sessions we’re all so used to during showers. Getting rid of these probably doesn’t sound too appealing to you. But here’s why it should be. My mind was no longer worrying and thinking over what I had to get done that day or focusing on work. It was simply, “How can I wash my body and get the hell out of here before I freeze to death?” I found that it was the short few minutes of my day where my mind was able to take a short break from whatever had been occupying it.

I would absolutely recommend switching over to the cold side. If not for any of the other suggested benefits, but at least for those few minutes of not having to think about anything. Everybody’s mind needs to chill out. Try it, comment, tell us if you’ve had a positive experience with it. If you find your mind still wandering, then the water isn’t quite cold enough.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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A simple book review.

Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use your Own Stories To Communicate with Power and Impact by: Annette Simmons

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Business classes, teachers and parents have all preached about how clear, logical stories are best communicated. If the story is brief, even better! However, we can’t forget how some of the best storytellers are those that inspire, motivate and persuade an audience through a realistic anecdote or some type of “human element”.

Here are a few tips the author, Annette Simmons recommends for having a “Winning” story:

  1.      Think in Story – Or in other words, try and train your brain to make your stories make people feel something!
  2.      Find Stories to Tell – This is your opportunity to be interesting! Don’t always tell people what they want to hear.
  3.     Perfect Your Craft – practice, practice, practice—then kill it!

This book is great for those wondering how to define their ideas and find clarity of thought. It outlines basic categories of stories and even allows you to write in your book! If anyone is searching for a book to read in maintain his or her communication skills, I definitely recommend this book.

Happy Reading!

Olivia

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Taco Bell’s “Firstmeal” and “Breakfast Phone”

I am a huge Taco Bell fan, or as I like to call it, Tbell or Tbizzle. People can hate all they want on the food itself but as for their marketing and advertising goes.. we all know that it has changed the game by adding a fourth meal. The people Taco Bell are targeting have a tendency to stay up later than other, therefore they get hungry after dinner, and that’s where the fourth meal along with its advertising dominates the game.

Taco Bell has also tried incorporating some breakfast items in the past, however, on March 27, 2014, they are releasing the reinvention of not only their breakfast items, but also breakfast items in general. They are calling it “Firstmeal.” These items are included below in the picture.

Just hearing about the new “Firstmeal” and seeing what is going to be offered, such as a WAFFLE TACO, I think is going to stir up some Taco Bell buzz and lure in some early risers. Taco Bell has stepped up the marketing game in order to promote the “Firstmeal” by mailing out “Breakfast Phones.” Taco Bell is in the process of mailing out around 1,000 Samsung T404G phones from HipCricket to superfans and influencers. Recipients of the “Breakfast Phones” will be given diverse missions to complete in the hopes of winning prizes including a Waffle Taco button-up shirt or hoodie, a set of A.M. Crunchwrap sheets with hashbrown pajamas and free Taco Bell breakfast for a year. They are keeping the extent of the missions quiet for now because they don’t want circulate the secrets just yet. The phones began reaching some fans as of March 19.

Tressie Lieberman, the director, digital marketing and platforms of DigitasLBi in San Francisco says, “We just wanted to do something that was really personal. We’re calling them every day. You never know when the phone will ring.” Taco Bell chose their superfans and others they were sending the phones to through their activity on social media and their support to the brand.

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– Bradford

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