Q&A with Dr. Larry Stultz.

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I’ve been an IMC student for over a year now, yet the resumes of the program’s instructors still impress me. One of those who is impressive both as a professional and professor is Dr. Larry Stultz. If you haven’t already had Dr. Larry for IMC 615, I’ll let you learn more about his background here.

When I took his class, he provided me with motivating, constructive feedback that contributed to- what I believe- is one of my best projects in the program (a Quiznos campaign, for anyone wondering).

I thought it would be interesting to get Dr. Larry’s take on the direction of the ad industry and advice for students entering his class. Can you guess what his favorite ad slogan is? Read on to find out.

Q: How do you envision the decline of print and rise of digital influencing future advertising approaches?

A: The rise of digital marketing and social communications has changed advertising and public relations in very human ways. Print advertising was always about pushing products, services, and philosophies. Print designers knew how to make graphic matter yell out to us and demand attention.

Ten years ago, Joseph Jaffe urged us to “join the conversation,” and the conversation became social at first. Then, it spread into marketing platforms that we all find much more personal and satisfying than print ever was.

Digital marketing gives us affinity groups we can purposely join and/or identify with. We all feel better about pull strategies, even if we do not recognize them as purposeful, because we feel we are making our own decisions about our media consumption, as well as our goods and services consumption.

Q: In your Creative Strategy & Execution class, you ask students to select a brand that is in need of revitalization. If you were the student, what brand would you choose?

A: Were I to choose a brand for my revitalization efforts, I would first choose an industry category I am passionate about. More importantly, I would select a category that will need me in the future. Creative Strategy & Execution is all about portfolio building.

Big box stores won’t be needing me. Electronics megastores probably won’t need me, and the me-too shopping mall clothing outlets won’t either.

I would try and discover the near-future preferences a growing target market will be developing, probably an online brand or at least one with an online market. I would select one of the struggling start ups and brand them into super stardom. Then, my portfolio would serve me well upon graduation.

Q: Favorite iconic campaign slogan?

A: The most memorable campaign slogans come from my early days in the advertising business, when I think advertising tried harder.

avislogo

Hertz vs. Avis- Whose slogan wins?

I remember the early days of car rental companies. Hertz laid claim to being number one. They weren’t number one, but they said they were and we believed them. So, competitor Avis was the one that got it right. They said “We’re number two, so we have to try harder.” Their employees wore big white buttons with red type that read, “We try harder.”

Of course, the iconic Rolling Stone magazine campaign was emulated for years. How many iterations of “Perception. Reality” have we seen since the 1980s?

If we look at current advertising campaigns, my favorite has to be Southwest.com and their slogan, “If it matters to you, it matters to us.” Southwest.com has aligned itself completely with the Internet. It has a social media presence and an online reservation presence that is killing the competition, including the online travel sites. They have rebranded their planes, too, with a bold and bright new look featuring a red, yellow and blue heart. The name on the planes is not Southwest Airlines, it is Southwest.com.

How do we know a campaign slogan is great? It must feel true and transparent. It must surprise us and make us smile or nod knowingly. It must not insult us. And it must make us wish we had created it ourself.

 

Thanks to Dr. Larry for answering my questions!

-R

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