Zag’s One Year Anniversary

On May 11, 2009, Zag IMC officially opened its doors, operating with myself, four interns and three clients.

As GCG Marketing’s sister agency, Zag IMC was created to be a full-service, professionally managed integrated marketing communications agency that employs up-and-coming talent (a.k.a. interns) for the execution of various projects.

The purpose behind Zag was to have the opportunity to reach out to small and mid-size businesses, as well as non-profits in the DFW community, that have a need for marketing. In many cases, these types of businesses don’t have a need (or budget) for a traditional agency like GCG. However, we are able to offer competitive rates for these smaller businesses by relying on student talent to execute the work.

I like to think of Zag as an incubator of sorts, not only for our interns, but also for our clients. The goal is to have our interns become familiar with agency life and gain real-world experience that may later help them in choosing the best career path. As for clients, the basis of marketing is to grow a business. Theoretically then, if Zag does its job well, those clients will one day become GCG clients.

At the onset of creating the business plan we didn’t want to have a specific niche. For example, GCG Marketing has many accounts in the healthcare industry as well as in oil and gas. I must say though, we’ve tried very hard to maintain a diverse group of clients, and the primary reason behind that is to give our interns as much varied experience as possible.

In order to emphasize the diversification of our client base, I’d like to introduce a few of our clients: Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, an equine hospital in Weatherford; McKinley’s Bakery and Café; DKJ Tool Grinding; Little Jack Horner’s, a furniture restoration/custom fabrication shop; Kincaid’s Hamburgers; ECX Team, an energy-commissioning company; A & D Pharma, a custom labeling firm and Chadra Mezza and Grill. All of our clients have been an absolute blessing due to their trust and readiness to try new things. We couldn’t have done it without them!

Now, a year later, we have grown into an agency, with more than 19 clients and nine interns, we are still chugging along and enjoying every minute.

Thank you GCG for giving us the space to learn and experience all of the amazing things this industry has to offer!

06/02/2010 at 11:04 AM Leave a comment

A note for our readers

If you are one of our six regular readers, you might have noticed that the post count has been lacking lately, but we have an excuse. Fortunately for us, all of us here at Zag have been working our tails off on other projects. And as the Blog’s manager, there are some things I have to deal with outside of the office, like attempting to pass my classes so that I can actually graduate in 17 days. I digress.

Like we were saying, Zag has been busy, so unfortunately for you, the blog will enter a short hiatus. Don’t fret; we will be back in a few weeks, after things settle down.

On another, slightly somber note, Collin, Ligia and I will not be returning to Zag in the summer. Each of us will send our regards during the hiatus through X.Y.Zag and Facebook, so keep checking back here to see what we have to say about our experience at Zag.

After the hiatus, expect to see some fresh faces. The new staff, along with Elisa and Kelsey, will continue to update you, the reader/blog stalker, about the agency’s happenings as well as their own views on the marketing world around them.

I’ll go into more detail when it’s my turn to spill my guts, but I would like to say it’s been an honor to be a member of this staff, and I simply wish the best to the incoming Zag class.

04/22/2010 at 2:14 PM Leave a comment

Tiger makes an interesting return to TV

Today, the name Tiger Woods evokes mixed reactions from the American public. After the discovery of his infidelity, the man that was once idolized by almost everybody is now under a microscope of scrutiny and tabloid-style harassment.

I’ll admit, I used to look up to Tiger. His grace and poise on the biggest, most challenging golf courses in the world was enough to have me tuning in to a sport that I’ll admittedly never succeed at.

But right now I think I am on the same boat as a lot other people. I don’t want to hear anymore about Tiger’s personal problems, and I just want to see him piece his life back together and excel on the links again.

It was reported that Tiger lost a large sum of money from his endorsement like Gillette, Accenture and Gatorade. One prominent company has stood by him in light of recent events, Nike.

Here is Tiger’s first commercial with Nike since the controversy. It will air during the Masters, where Tiger is making his first appearance in a professional golf tournament since November.

To be honest, I don’t know what to think about it. I’ve watched the ad about five or six times, but it seems very disjointed, and, frankly, kind of awkward. It’s not making light of the situation, but it certainly doesn’t help the whole “forgetting it” movement. Just imagine the buzzkill this commercial would bring when it’s wedged between an ad for Callaway golf clubs and Bengay. What do you think about it?

04/08/2010 at 1:59 PM Leave a comment

Old Spice: a brief study in rebranding

If you watch any TV at all, odds are you have seen an Old Spice ad recently. To me, the Old Spice brand has made a remarkable shift this decade, killing the old stereotypes that went along with the name.

Back in the day, it used to be that when I heard the name “Old Spice,” I would think of the signature cream-colored aftershave bottle—it is the king of the generic supermarket aftershave, joining the likes of Brut and Aqua Velva.

The products and marketing efforts Old Spice have made in the past five years have really changed the brand’s perception and reached an entirely new audience.

This year, Old Spice took a multi-campaign approach, like Geico, and released three different advertisements for its body washes—all catering toward a younger audience, more hip audience.

The first ad is clever, the second is slightly disturbing, and the third, well I don’t even know what to say about the third one. Just see for yourself:

“Look at Your Man”

“Armpit Mountain”

“Odor Blocker”

04/06/2010 at 3:13 PM Leave a comment

Happy April Fools’ Day!

I’m sure most of you have had an experience with April Fools’ Day—either as the joker or the recipient. I thought it might be fun to share a few hoaxes with you that the media has played, and, believe it or not, people bought. I guess it goes to show: you can’t be convinced by everything you see or hear.

The Taco Bell Liberty Bell
In 1996, the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia, where the bell is housed, to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

The Left-Handed Whopper
In 1998 Burger King published a full-page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu, a Whopper specifically designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new Whopper included all the same ingredients as the original (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day, Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the left-handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new burger. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own right-handed version.”

Los Angeles Highways Close for Repairs
In 1987, a Los Angeles DJ announced that on April 8 the LA highway system would be shut down for repairs for an entire month. This was alarming news in LA, where it’s necessary to use the highway to get anywhere. The radio station immediately received hundreds of frantic calls in response to the announcement, and the California Highway Patrol reported that they were also flooded with calls throughout the day. The station later admitted that it was stunned by the intensity of the public reaction to the hoax. A representative from the California Department of Transportation called the station’s managers to share their opinion of the prank. Reportedly, “they didn’t think it was very funny.”

Well, those are just a few funny pranks that I thought would be good to share. Visit www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/ for more good April Fools’ Day hoaxes.

04/01/2010 at 1:34 PM Leave a comment

The Internet is growing up

Non-traditional media is a term that does not have a permanent shelf life. Actually, I compare being labeled a non-traditional medium to being tagged as a child star—sooner or later, you’re no longer one and, even worse, people will view you as ordinary. This is exactly what happens to non-traditional media over time.

Let’s take a look through history shall we? Billboards, television and magazines all had a period of time when they were looked at as a new marketing medium. Fast-forward to the present; there are now products designed to skip TV commercials. We don’t care what these once-new messages tell us anymore; they’re on a medium that is simply old news.

Within the past four to five years, marketers have discovered opportunities that only the Internet can provide. Since then, the Web has been thought of as the prime example of a non-traditional medium. Unfortunately, like the once-dreamy Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the Internet is growing up and isn’t as cute anymore.

I want to take a look at the recent phenomenon of online television viewing to argue my point. I can assume that most people participate in this because it: a) allows the public to see their favorite shows/movies for free and/or b) only has about one to two minutes of commercials for an entire episode.

Don’t expect this to last. Hulu, the second-most visited video site on the web right now, is facing pressure from the networks backing it to become a paid premium Web site. In addition to that, The CW network recently announced it is planning on adding TV-length commercial breaks for all of its online viewing.

So, to recap, (legitimate) online viewing is trending to become a premium service (essentially a cable service) and will feature full-length commercial breaks. If this doesn’t sound like a path to becoming a traditional medium, I don’t know what is. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just the natural cycle of media. I’m going to go watch a couple of Brat Pack movies now.

03/30/2010 at 2:05 PM Leave a comment

Cue the ominous “future” post

The other day a few of my friends and I were discussing our expectations for the future. We didn’t talk about our far-flung desire for flying cars and self-lacing shoes (I just had to throw in a nod to my favorite movie Back to the Future). Instead we talked about what we really want to do with our lives and the directions we all would take. Naturally our conversation revolved around topics like our plans for employment, family and more.

As a senior that’s feverishly getting my ducks in order before graduation, it’s really a bittersweet junction of my life. I’m going to be ecstatic to finish my final exams and (hopefully) never have to take another one again, but I will also truly miss the people and places that I have come to associate with my time at TCU, because after May, I will be stamped with the “alumnus” tag and move along to another stage of life—the proverbial “real world,” as they say.

Over a month away from walking across the big purple stage, you would think that I have a direction carved out for myself. The truth is that I don’t—the tough job market has really put me in a funk defined by stress, terror and a very small pinch of exhilaration. These factors made the conversation I had with my friends very interesting, yet insightful.

Not knowing the direction I’m moving in, and having the “living at mom and dad’s house” option breathing down my neck, I was forced to come up with a plan for my future on the fly.

These are a few goals in my life that I really hope I can stick to after graduation:

I will write. I love being a copywriter. That is one thing, among many others, I learned at my time in Zag. The power of word and language, coupled with graphics, in advertising are truly enormous. On the other hand, I also I have passion for literature as well. Eventually I hope my writing will develop to a point where I can write a novel or an interesting non-fiction piece.

I won’t stop learning. I will be more than happy to never take a test again, but I will always try to improve my work. I’ve been soaking up advertising history and attempting to grasp concepts in design and type on my free time, which has been sparse this semester. It will be nice to graduate and have the opportunity to dive right into these subjects on my own.

I will not sell out. No, I’m not taking jabs at the account side of the business; I just want to stay in the creative realm—simply put, it’s what I’m good at.

I will (hopefully) work on my own terms. By this statement I don’t mean I will be the rogue in the office. I want to be able to express my creativity on my own terms, that is, write and conceptualize with as much freedom as possible within an agency environment.

To be quite honest, I have never been a “five-year plan” type of person. I believe we live in a society that moves so quickly that you don’t know what to expect in a year, let alone five. This is why I hope the declarations I have made to myself will stick.

03/25/2010 at 3:45 PM Leave a comment

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