Monthly Archives: October 2011

Education Evolution

 

The University of North Texas is growing rapidly. Over the years since I have attended the school I have seen expansions, demolitions and an increase in the student population. This year the school received the largest donation in its history. With such upward movement, I would assume that the school would have increased the recruitment process or has been receiving more media attention.

 

Over the past few weeks, however, I have noticed a growing trend of other universities in the state advertising closer to the UNT campus and more frequently. Stephen F. Austin has become much more visible in North Texas. Many of the billboards throughout the DFW are advertising the many programs offered at the university.

 

Some schools are as far a way as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Temple University now has billboard and transit ads throughout the city as well. One might ask the question “Why would they choose to advertise in a city that is so far away from its main campus?”

 

 

With the explosion of online course and online degrees the possibilities for educational opportunities will soon be unlimited. Soon, advertising within such a small radius around a campus will be the least of a university’s worries.

 

Seemingly, the competition for admission will shift gears and eventually, students will prefer to take classes online and continue with everyday life. As a student who worked, interned and went to school, I know that I would have been a prime candidate for exclusively online classes. I can only imagine how much free time I would have had or how much money I could have saved. On the other hand, having an in-class face-to-face interaction with teachers and other students is essential to having a true college experience. If all classes were exclusively taught online we would lose touch with each other.

 

Communication is growing and changing our world each day. Education has been enhanced greatly by the evolution of communication applications; however we should not lose sight of genuine interpersonal interaction in dealing with education.

Advertisements

McDonald’s Monopoly Scam?

Each fall season begins with the changing of the weather, the introduction of the latest wool fashions and for those of us who are fast food junkies, McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Each year the international food company partners with different brands and offers prizes based on monopoly games pieces. This year the prizes range from spa packages, to cars to cash prizes. My friends and I are huge fans and collect the pieces every year. Often times throughout the run of the game, we gather and compare pieces, attempting to cash in on one of the cash prizes, seeing as how we are poor college students.

 Recently, as my roommate and I sat in our living room, completely stuffed from the McDonald’s meal we had just devoured, I thought, the companies that partner with McDonald’s are gaining so much advertising from this contest. On every single bag and cup McDonald’s distributes throughout the duration of the game, is a picture of the products up for grabs. This left me wondering… Does McDonald’s reach out to these brands or do the brands seek McDonald’s for endorsement? This is definitely a decision I assume the company would engage the Public Relations department. From an ethical view, the involvement of other brands in this contest could yield both brands, credibility as well as a boost in profits. The magnitude of the advertising campaign embarked upon during this contest is almost as heavy as Super bowl ads (… well at least to food lovers.)

 

Many individuals have claimed that the game is rigged, that the winning combination of pieces is distributed in different sections of the country, making it virtually impossible to collect all the pieces needed to win the grand prize of 1 million dollars. From a public relations standpoint, this theory however can not be true. A company as large and as integrated into American society would not dream of “jipping” its customers… would they? McDonald’s sets the standard for fast food in this country and others around the world.

 

This season, I have been playing pretty consistently (It helps that I have been so busy that I can only eat on the go, no time to cook!) So far I have collected the pieces for several different prizes. I am actually one piece away from the 50,000, 200, Spa package, Nissan Versa AND the 1 million grand prize. It should also be mentioned that today was the first day that I won a prize instantly. McDonalds advertises the game by claiming that 1 in 4 tickets is a winner. I have been playing for weeks, as previously stated, and only today did I actually win something. This is false advertisement! Unless there is something stated in the fine print that negates their claim.  The idea that I am one away from winning so many prizes, but yet I have won nothing, except my free small Frappe, really strengthens the viewpoint of many that this is all a scam.

 

Because McDonald’s is such an important brand in our economy and cultural system, the idea that they would cheat their customers is appalling. I hope I win something else soon or else this faithful customer might not return to the boardwalk next year.


The chicken, the tea and the University

The closer I draw to graduation the more I notice places inDentonthat I have fond memories of. Places I have grown accustom to and will miss once I move away. This last week I indulged in one of my local favorites, Chicken express. Although I am aware that a franchise exists and that there are several locations throughout the Metroplex, I associate the chicken ‘joint’ as being special toDenton. Even my friends who have long graduated want to stop by and get some of their delicious sweet tea before exiting this town. I started to wonder, if there are other locations why do we only associate Chicken Express withDenton,Texas? It became an issue of Marketing and Public relations. Obviously the restaurant (referring only to theDentonlocation) has aligned itself with theUniversityofNorth Texas. Since I began attending UNT I have preferred Chicken Express tea over all other competition. Could it be because they provided the beverages at orientation and I was hooked from day one? Not only do they provide the tea for orientation, they are one of the most visited booths during homecoming. What makes Chicken Express tea so desirable to the student body of UNT? The have quietly marketed themselves as the preferred eatery for UNT. They support the school during Football season by placing messages on there signage, they also provide special tailored to students during finals and mid-term time. It can’t hurt that they are conveniently located on the edge of campus and within walking distance from the dorms.

 

ObviouslyDentonis a college town and many of the business cater to this population. It is also apparent that the businesses in and aroundDentonmarket specifically to the college ages demographic. Do these businesses conduct market research to find out how to appeal to these youth? Since many of the businesses in the area are mom and pop shops and eateries, my guess would be no. Some (including myself) might assume that they use common sense.  Which leaves me wondering, with the new Apogee Stadium and the many endorsements that can be found on and around the new facility, does UNT reach out to local business to garner financial support for them? At one time, Chicken Express ads would display on the scoreboard facing I-35.

 

Speaking ofDenton, the city, which has been trying to claim the number two spot underAustinas the hippest city inTexas, can not deny that its economic system is upheld by the populations of UNT and TWU (Texas Women’s University.) This fact encourages inquiring minds to wonder if the city of Denton and the marketers or individuals in charge of sponsorship, financing, and so forth for the Universities meet and discuss local business ventures; since the success of these economic systems are so closer related or even tied together.

 

Regardless of the correlation between UNT,Dentonand Chicken Express the fact still remains that I will continue to buy the delicious tea I was hooked on my first day on campus, with no shame. There is a strong possibility that I will return toDenton, just for the tea, as my fellow tea-lover friends do.


Irreplaceable Innovator

 

This week the technological world lost one of the most important figures of all times, Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, inc. His impact was not only felt in the technological world but also the world of communications. He changed the landscape of how we as PR practitioners interact with one another and our clients, both over the web and in person. The ideals that Jobs introduced to the world have enhanced so many different faucets of society that it is impossible to think of a world without him or his innovations.

Not only did Jobs inspire new generations of techies, he inspired all Americans to become more innovative; to look at things in the world in a new way. In the realm of public relations, communication is the most important aspect of what we do. Apple has created a seamless method of communicating through different platforms. One of the most revolutionary platforms that has affected an area that is near and dear to my heart is ITunes. ITunes allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to connect through a form of communication that transcends language barriers and geographical ones, music. With ITunes, not only can consumers purchase music in a digital format, which in and of itself is revolutionary, but also it allows every day people to explore new cultures that perhaps they never would have gotten a chance to. Because of ITunes I am now a fan of Fela Kuti, Esperanza Spalding, and Asa; artists I never would have been exposed to, had I not gone exploring.

At the University of North Texas all journalism students are required to learn how to operate a MAC versus a PC. It is an integrated part of our curriculum. (We even had a test over it!) The mac lab is where all journalism student meet, mingle, stress, cry, sweat, create and innovate. Since I have been a student at UNT, the campus has transformed into a primarily MAC operating school. The 24-hour computer lab, Willis, has nothing but IMacs. When I arrived several years ago, the school ONLY had PCs. When PCs were the standard, Jobs made being different cool. Students who have graduated come back to campus and are amazed to see the products showcased throughout the campus. Students in classrooms across the country, from elementary school to research universities are shifting to IPads instead of laptops. The tablet PC’s standard is an IPad. Prior to doing research and watching TV commercials, I actually had no idea that there were other tablets even on the market.

The Ipod has become an item that I can not imagine my life without. It has gotten me through workouts, break-ups and midnight study sessions. Although I have yet to purchase an Iphone or an IPad, they are both at the top of my wish list. My dream office has always (in my mind) consisted of an IMac desktop, Macbook Pro laptop, Ipod (with speakers to boot), and an IPad. All of these items were creations of one man; a man who no doubt will be remembered for generations to come. The legacy that Steve Jobs leaves behind is remarkable and unmatched by any innovator in my lifetime.

One wonders what would the world have been had Steve Jobs never started Apple. I can no longer imagine a world without the I products. It would be a great gesture if the Mayborn School of Journalism would name the lab in honor of Jobs, because in my opinion he has effected the way all journalist work and enhanced our field tremendously.