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There’s No I In Team

Are you having flashbacks to your middle school gymnasium after reading that?

Middle School Laura could care less about what her basketball coach was trying to say during his halftime pep talk. “There’s No I In Team”. All she cared about was if the kids in the stand would think she was disgusting because she was sweating. Middle school girls don’t sweat- get it?

High School Laura grasped a better understanding of a team dynamic while playing Varsity sports. Maybe?

College Laura experienced other types of teams. She had some group projects, but let’s be honest, how much ‘team-ing’ is actually happening in a group project? We all know there’s the one person who is a major social loafer. College Laura got hired at Apple Box Studios 1 month after graduating college.

New Hire Laura had a lot of adjusting to do. She had to learn how to work with 7 new people. She had to learn how those team members already worked together and how she could fit in.

Meet Present-Day Laura (this is she). I have been working at Apple Box Studios for 2 years and 9 months. In those 2.9 years, a lot of things have changed. Our team dynamic has changed, our team roles have changed, our team goals have changed and our team size has changed. I have learned MANY things from being an ABS team member, but one of my favorite realizations is that There Is No I In Team. I might be having a bad day, but that doesn’t mean the team is having a bad day. Advertising is a collaborative business which requires us to work together. We are constantly working together to brainstorm new ideas, providing feedback on designs, discussing ways to improve a project, revising videos and more. And each team member brings something different to the table. For me, I’d like to think I bring some pizazz, some project direction and a well-timed joke here or there. The outcome when we work together would not be the same if we were working alone.

What I am trying to explain in my post is that I am grateful There Is No I In Team. I am grateful for my team always having my back and I hope they know I have theirs. And I love when we all get together and swap ideas.

Just type “Importance of Teamwork” into Google and see what appears. I guess my middle school basketball coach was onto something- teamwork is pretty legit.

P.S.- Middle School Laura would never have been this emotional on a public forum!

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Look Familiar?

Tapping into nostalgia to look back on some timeless holiday commercials.
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The ball has dropped, the glasses have been raised, and in the spirit of Guy Lombardo, Aud Lyn Sygn has been sung. Another trip around the sun, but how’d we get here again already? Feels like just yesterday we were carving the Thanksgiving turkey. In reality, the tree has been trimmed, presents wrapped and December was here and gone in the blink of an eye. Another Christmas has slipped through our fingers. Hmm… if only the work day could be as swift. Soon the walls will be bare, the lights unplugged and we will be back in the normal swing of things. I can’t help but to think of Jerry Seinfeld’s bit where he says: “People snap out of that Christmas spirit like it was a drunken stupor. “Oh my god, there’s a tree inside the house!”” Isn’t that the truth?

Although the years go by, some things seem to stick. I’m not talking about the typical traditions and family customs that lie more at the heart of the holidays, but the more irresistible, commercial stuff that throws us all into a Groundhog Day-like trance each year. There’s the holiday movie marathons, the non-stop Christmas radio and something a little more subtle to most: Christmas commercials. As we enter this new year, I would like to reflect on this past month and some of the traditional holiday commercials that help make each year “the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f****** Kaye.”

I’ll begin with possibly the simplest commercial out of the bunch that most anyone across the country would recognize even by just hearing it. Christmas Bells was introduced by Hershey’s in 1989 and has been around ever since. The commercial features a stop motion clip of a red and green Hershey’s Kiss bell choir forming the shape of a Christmas tree, clinging, and clanging the song, We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It is very minimal, with just a white backdrop and “Happy Holidays from Hershey’s Kisses” text at the bottom that has varied through the years. In 2012, to keep up with higher definition televisions and a crisper look, an identical version was recreated entirely with CGI. Your average joe would never know the difference with the new CGI version, but in 2020 when Hershey released an alternate ending where a hand reaches in and grabs a Kiss, the nit-picking nostalgic fans gave some negative backlash. Hershey made it clear that the original spot wasn’t going anywhere and certainly would still be running, but they wanted to make an additional version to shine light on Hershey’s Kisses’ importance within holiday baking as well. It is still known to be the longest running national Christmas commercial.




This next spot doesn’t fall far from the (Christmas) tree, as it comes from the same family. The M&M’s “Faint” commercial first aired in 1996 featuring ahead-of-its-time CGI of the Red and Yellow M&M bickering as they walk in on Santa delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. Santa and Red M&M both pass out as they come to the quick realization of each other’s existence while Yellow M&M is left wondering what to do. The unresolved ending has featured various “Happy Holidays” messages over the years with very discreet changes. It wasn’t until 21 years later that we finally got to see what happened on that fateful Christmas Eve night. In 2017, MARS’s aired a sequel to the original commercial that begins where the other left off. Yellow decides that he must save Christmas and delivers all the gifts by manning the reindeer and sleigh. It isn’t until the next morning that a finally conscious Santa, Red and Yellow see that all the gifts were delivered to the wrong people. Just when Yellow thinks that he ruined Christmas, we see images of people exchanging the gifts to the correct recipients accompanied with hugs and thanksgivings. With all three perched on a rooftop, witnessing everyone come together on Christmas morning, Red gestures that along with not ruining Christmas, he made it even better. The heartwarming conclusion to the 21-year saga is wrapped up like a Christmas bow, with a fitting message reading, “Bring Everyone Together With M&M’s.”




“This holiday season, my good friend gave to me…” These opening lines may only ring a bell to someone that has lived in PA at any point over the past 30 years. This Pennsylvania Lottery commercial, titled Snowfall, opens with an elderly man named Joe walking the well-lit, snow-covered streets, handing out lottery tickets to his friends. As he makes his rounds to Rita, at the coffee shop and another at the local news stand, carolers fill the streets, singing a twist on the classic 12 Days of Christmas tune. Introduced 1992, The Pennsylvania Lottery has been airing it ever since. Well, sort of. If not for some publicity and the World Wide Web, I’m sure almost nobody would ever know that a shot-for-shot remake was created in 2013 to better suit the High-Definition broadcasting that has become the standard. Though the lyrics have endured minor tweaks to reflect the current games offered, The PA Lottery painstakingly held on to as much detail as possible in an effort to stay true to the beloved classic. Of course, the haters still claim that the old one is better (I may or may not be one of them), but opinions aside, you can’t help but to tip your hat to the efforts of keeping the spirit of a tradition alive.




This final commercial that I am going to discuss has branches reaching to Ohio and West Virginia, but it’s heart (and star) lies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is not known for sure, but this ad is heavily debated as the longest running Christmas commercial. Eat’n Park’s Christmas Star originally aired in 1982 when CEO at the time, Jim Broadhurst, wanted to create a video holiday card to thank the city of Pittsburgh for their support of Eat’n Park. He wanted to air something in the same vein as the old Budweiser holiday commercials, where promoting a product was not the main objective. Legend has it that when pitch after pitch were turned down and a deadline was soon approaching, a young duo at a local ad agency struck gold when the two happened to both make an impromptu visit into work on a Sunday. In a team effort, they came up with one heartwarming message that Pittsburgh refuses to let go. The iconic commercial features an animation sequence of a star trying with all of its might to rest atop a Christmas tree. After some failed attempts, the tree leans over to help the star reach the top as a build-up of triumphant music plays. As the star sits atop the tree, they both shine bright as a voice reads, “We hope the special lift you get this holiday season lasts all year long.” The message is nothing but positive. We see that by helping others, we not only better ourselves, but we make the world a more beautiful place to live.




So, what has made these ads stand the test of time? Some don’t last more than a year before they are replaced. Others, such as the Folger’s and Budweiser spots, have had a nice run and hold some historic popularity but somewhere along the line, have fluttered out as the years went on. It’s hard to really say. Yes, they are all great commercials. Well-made, creative, catchy, but I feel that at one point or another these have all walked a tightrope act to get to where they are today. I feel that the more years that these have run, the more that they etched their way into tradition, lessening their chances of getting canned. During the holiday season, people tend to be more nostalgic, more sentimental. This is ideal in advertising because by tapping into nostalgia you’re more likely to connect with your audience. After years of seeing something during the holidays, it becomes ingrained within their holiday memories. Each year when you see one of these pop up on the TV, it can take you back to when you were a kid, much in the same sense that holiday movies and music do. Some of these have run for so long that not only do people have their own memories of it growing up, but now their kids do too. Being able to share these commercials multi-generationally gives us another opportunity to share another type of tradition with our loved ones. Even for those brief moments when flashing across our screens while watching the tube with friends and family, they can evoke, in each of us, deep-rooted holiday memories of the times when they first caught our eyes.

I’m excited to see how our beloved Christmas commercials will look next year. I wonder if any will begin to emerge as a new classic. Only time will tell…

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How To Come Up With Ideas That Rock

There is no secret sauce to creating compelling ideas. But maybe this article will inspire you to get there!

Some people get their best ideas when they are least paying attention: in the shower, on the toilet, during their commute to work. If you aren’t one of those people (me), there are some steps you can take in order to put yourself in the right creative mindset and drum up some rockstar ideas. But where the heck do you start? See an easily distracted, multitasking millennial’s take below:

 

 

To get the creative juices flowing, I need to be in the proper headspace. Personally, I want to feel like I have no responsibilities other than scrolling on Pinterest and wearing cute outfits to a coffee shop. To do this, I open up Spotify and crank one of my most-listened-to playlists: Jazz Vibes (https://spoti.fi/3d2yVZ6 – you’re welcome.) To accompany my tunes, I normally sip on a coffee or tea–in the morning, mind you, before the stress of the day’s projects take over. Voila, proper headspace achieved. I am now prepared to start working.

 

 

Like the great French writer and Novel Prize Winner (Literature), Andre Gide, once said, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” This gives us the opportunity to look back on what has already been created to inspire our brainstorming phase. I normally start with sites like Behance and Envato Elements to get my inspiration file (a folder full of various screenshots/a Google Chrome window full of 50 tabs) started. If you find these websites lacking, you can look to Pinterest or even plain ol’ Google for inspo.

Once surfing said websites, look for things that jump out at you and catch your attention immediately. Why do you like it? Is it the color palette? The messaging? Does it relate to your task at hand? Save that link. And repeat! Most of the junk you save will serve as eye candy but a few of those links can spark a strong idea once you give it some thought. How do you do this? You look through that inspiration file and think: How can I relate the sentiment of this piece of art to what I need to create? Can I take que from the layout? Can I transform the copy into a story that makes sense for my project? It’s imperative that you let your imagination run wild here! There are no limits, and no idea is too wacky to bring to the table.

 

 

After the inspiration file has served its purpose and your ideas are flowing, it’s time to jot down some details. Open a blank Word document and start creating an organized list of short titles plus a sentence or two that easily relay each concept. Bonus points if you provide visuals (i.e., pieces of that fantastic inspiration file you spent time creating)!

Once your doc is complete, a great way to generate even more fabulous ideas is to SHARE. Share with your coworkers, share with a friend, share with your mom. In pitching your ideas, you get others thinking of the possibilities. Your ideas spark their ideas, and their ideas spark your ideas. It’s a never-ending cycle of opportunity when you share your thoughts with other interested parties.

If all goes well, this group brainstorm session will help to create a solid set of refined ideas. And it only took 3 steps to get there! If not, take a walk to clear your mind and it’s back to step 1. I think the most important piece of advice would be to have fun doing this. To let your mind roam free is a gift, you never know where it’ll take you. Happy thinking!

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Turning Around Setbacks

AppleBlog, my name is Coleman Coco. I’m a senior student-athlete at Colgate University and project management intern here at Apple Box Studios, and I am excited to give you an insight to my time working my first internship. For starters, if someone would have asked me 3 years ago, what I would be doing this fall I would say that I would be finishing up my time at Colgate and playing my last season of college football. Now, in the present, that’s obviously not how things turned out, but I would not change a thing.

The COVID-19 pandemic set college athletics back in 2020, and on top of that, I started getting pain in my foot that would cause me to get surgery and miss the 2021 season. By rule of the Patriot league, the division that Colgate University football plays in, requires all student athletes that redshirt a season to enhance their academics during the recovery process. Knowing that I would not be returning to Colgate for school or football in fall 2021, I began searching for internships and opportunities that I could explore in my hometown, Pittsburgh. Apple Box Studios stood out to me from the jump, I was immediately very interested in the opportunity and willing to do what was needed to have a chance to intern. After the interviewing process, I was lucky enough to get a chance to work with the team. I personally cannot thank Apple Box enough for how caring they were for me during my recovery from surgery and their patience. It would be fair to understand the liability of hiring an intern that has to recover for a few weeks from surgery and hop around in a boot for a while.

During the first few weeks of the internship, it is fair to admit that I was overwhelmed at times with the amount of acronyms and information that I was working with. As I grew accustomed to the level of work and expectations at Apple Box, I was able to step up.

One of the first projects that I was able to be a part of was the Mission of Mercy nonprofit event on October 22nd. I was able to help Thad Ciechanowski as a part of the video crew at this function, and after being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID, this year’s event was especially anticipated.

By the organization’s own definition, Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh is “a free, two-day dental clinic for under-served people living in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, many of whom are from working families who do not have access to dental work or cannot afford dental insurance. ALL services are provided FREE of charge by local dental professionals, assisted by a host of volunteers.” People who needed dental care and other medical help lined up outside of the Pittsburgh Convention Center for hours before the event even started to make sure that they could get the help they needed.

This experience helped me to understand what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to production of this scale. Whether it was meeting with TeleTracking, or shooting a commercial with Rocky Bleier, the number of moving pieces that go into the production of one event really impressed me.

Most of all, the charity of others was moving to witness in person, to say the least. Seeing so many giving doctors and helpers go out of their way to make sure the community is taken care of really hammers home the feeling of compassion. Altogether, witnessing the work that we put in at Apple Box Studios come to life at the event made the work feel all the more rewarding. So, while I recover and continue my internship at Apple Box Studios, I look forward to seeing our next project come to life.

 

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Expect the Unexpected

“The mind is like a flower, it does not bloom without the lights of appreciation, encouragement and love.” -Debasish Mridha

Expecting the unexpected has been a mantra that got me through my last two years of college and it has stuck with me ever since. It is not a special or inspiring saying, it is just a real one that I can relate to now more than ever. Being a 2021 graduate, I am still recovering from the intense year and half that unexpectedly came upon us humans. The spark of life, creativity and socialization withered deeply inside of me, and it has been hard to bring light back to each in such a dire time. With the anxiety of life being so high, I couldn’t imagine what my life was going to be like after graduation. I knew I wanted a job that was specific to my education– I just couldn’t imagine in a real-world sense what it would be like. The pandemic affected everyone in one way or another, and me, I felt lost. After spending so many years working so hard to graduate, it barely turned out how I expected, but I took life day by day instead of expecting that expectations would be met.

Being alone for so long (this includes my time on zoom calls and classes because that is not even remotely the same as being with people) forced me to produce my own “go you” energy. When I was working in the same space as sleeping, hanging out and relaxing, there was no distinguished space for me to really flourish.

It was a few months after graduation that I landed my internship here at Apple Box Studios. The moment I walked in, I was immersed with visual encouragement reminding me to step up and be noticed. It made me feel good because I felt seen and acknowledged, and made me believe I was headed in the right direction. I was greeted with the most kind, encouraging and enthusiastic group of people who are passionate about their jobs. I haven’t been around this kind of energy in a work environment in such a long time.

Now, I’m finding a rhythm within Apple Box where I learn, create and am challenged. Work is consistent and demanding —  the advertisement industry requires you to expect the unexpected and that is exactly how it is as a graphic designer here. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything else. It has been the perfect job for me, my coworkers’ patience among this high demand industry is unmatched. Apple Box Studios understands the creative process in such a critical and unique way, I have been able to find a perspective of creativity and work that I did not have before. I think Apple Box gave me more than I could have ever expected and more than they will ever know.

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The Ads of the 2020 Olympics – The Good, The Bad, and the Cringey

Hello, Apple Blog. It is currently July 29th, 2021 and you know what that means: Tokyo 2020 is in full swing! In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick recap: the 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed last year due to COVID-19. Now, with vaccines becoming more widely available, the IOC elected to resume the Olympics, and the opening ceremony kicked off on July 23, 2021.

Like the good patriot I am, I’ve been tuning in to cheer on the likes of Simone Biles, Sunni Lee, Katie Ledecky, and my personal favorites, the US beach and indoor volleyball teams. I’ve also been paying close attention to those corporate ad spots – you know, the ones that are going for literally close $800,000,000 nowadays – to see how those key sponsors are approaching the more fragile nature of the Olympic messaging this year.

And now, as the first week of the 2020 Summer Olympics comes to a close, I’m sure everyone is drawing conclusions and forming opinions about some of these more prominent commercials.

 

So… I’ve decided to share with you some of the ads that were more memorable – for better or for worse, along with some of the tea surrounding them.

 

  1. United Airlines – “Let Yourself Fly”

This past month, some Olympic sponsors were left scrambling to change seemingly benign ads due to global polarization among COVID concerns. United Airlines’ campaign was originally centered around unity, specifically unifying the US and Tokyo through air transport. This was quickly scrapped as it became evident that COVID concerns were much higher in Japan than they were in the United States, and therefore, it might not be smart to encourage “unity” with a country who banned all spectators three weeks out from the Olympics. They caught this in time to produce a new campaign [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTHJ4wQhIM0 ] featuring US Olympic and Paralympic greats practicing in an aircraft hangar, featuring the tagline “Let Yourself Fly”. Pretty generic, but really well received—it seems the internet loves seeing the different athletes in action. It’s simple enough, but hard hitting and effective – in a way, it kind of speaks for itself.

  1. Toyota – “Start Your Impossible” Series

Long time Olympic and Paralympic sponsor Toyota was not as lucky as United when it came to fixing COVID-related considerations– though you wouldn’t know that from watching American broadcasts of the Olympics. In fact, Toyota has multiple different ads, featuring Mexican Gymnasts  [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik82joBCD6Y] Paralympic athletes [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIYLnI5F0s0] and athletic profiles,[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr3jR2keirk] running on primetime broadcasts in the continental US, centered around innovation and progress in the face of adversity. (I will admit, that Jessica Long commercial made me shed a tear or two)  In turn, you would think that this Japanese-born company would be thrilled to run ads centered around national pride, progress, and excellence all throughout their home country. I mean, anyone who’s tuned into the Olympics even once knows that some of the biggest archetypes of Olympic ads are patriotism and national excellence. However, Toyota pulled every single one of its Olympic-themed advertisements from Japanese airwaves, and even went as far as encouraging its executives to not attend any Olympic-related events. Why? Because instead of the patriotism and focus on national excellence that Olympics typically evoke, the majority of Japanese citizens actually heavily opposed the resuming of the “super-spreading event”. Toyota had to flush millions of dollars in advertising in order to stay in the Japanese public’s good graces.

  1. Nike – “Best Day Ever”

Nike attempted to take a much more modern approach [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm_aiDpkGmQ ], touching on topics in activism to rally around a more general theme of inspiring innovation and progress for the future. While the idea of progress itself is, of course, great, the commercial’s emphasis on social justice buzzwords, was met with cries of “fake woke” and “pandering” from all sides. Shouting out athlete’s mental health (a nod to the controversial Naomi Osaka debacle),  featuring Sha’Carri Richardson, and prophesying a future where “The WNBA will pass the NBA in popularity”, this grasp to fit with the times is coming across as inauthentic. Calling for unity and progress under these terms actually proves to be even more polarizing , especially when we learn that Nike allegedly doctored the voiceover to be less “woke” in different countries. In this case, trying to appeal to ideas of unity, inclusivity, and progress backfired by taking a much too “out of touch” approach.

  1. Proctor and Gamble – “Your Goodness is Your Greatness”/ #leadwithlove

Proctor and Gamble was much more subtle, centering their campaign [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2rAXgR-qlw ]  around “kindness”, “loving your neighbor”, using the tagline “lead with love”. Part of a series of slightly longer athlete profiles, the main commercial features clips of athletes helping their opponents or contributing to charity endeavors. Staying on brand, the voiceover is one of a mother, seemingly talking to her child. Of course, such a theme as being a good sport and kind to people is one of the most universally appealing things I can possibly think of. Throw the motherhood card in there, and P&G has themselves a winner. Their other, 2-minute ad [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akKI70uJ9pg] is an extension of these values, following a series of athletes as they grow up to become Olympians, guided by their mothers to have respect and compassion. Featuring multiple languages and athletes representing multiple countries, these ads were watched by an international audience via streaming service, and received very well. Internet comments specifically pointed out that the overall message was beautiful and moved some to tears. And, well, isn’t that what advertisers really want?

  1. Dick’s – “There She Is”

And I will leave you with one more ad that, although being very well executed, I mostly just want to include because it’s super cool. Dick’s “There She Is…” ad [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXUtbJVzMEQ ]is a compilation of female athletes absolutely kicking ass, set to the classic 1950’s Miss America theme song. We got it all in this ad, folks. We got appeals to nostalgia, we got inspiration, dedication to hard work, and a nod to progress. And although these themes are definitely more national and not global, it really is a great example of using modern considerations to appeal to widespread, overarching themes, because the internet has spoken, and people adore it. One YouTube comment even read “Thank you, Dicks! You have no idea what this means to a girl growing up in the 50s! Best commercial (I’ve) seen in years” (Literally, rip my heart out, why don’t you). The underlying arc of empowering female athletes is, of course, met with some pushback. But overall, it seems the consensus is that people love the juxtaposition of putting a song previously simultaneous with the epitome of the perfect American woman over videos of girls breaking barriers—but the song itself also evoked a lot of nostalgia. A lot of people also stated that they thought of their daughters immediately (once again, my heart!). The commercial seems to perfectly tow the line between pushing the envelope and appealing to audiences by showcasing relatable, realistic scenarios and evoking patriotism while acknowledging that times are changing.

 

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The Great Content Landscape Has Spoken

The landscape of effective storytelling is constantly changing. Arguably, the last ten years have seen more change than the 100 years that came before it. Notice, I said the “landscape” and not the storytelling itself. That’s because the basic ingredients of what makes a strong narrative are the same as they’ve always been; hooks, leading concepts and a journey of beginning, middle and end still rule the day when it comes to capturing an audience’s attention. What has changed are the containers we keep those ingredients in. Our definition of how we tell that story has been transformed by our primary consumption of media: our phones and the social platforms we use.

SHAPE

Anyone who has scrolled through their feeds has at the very least a cursory awareness that the shape of the videos has shifted towards the direction of squares and vertical rectangles. This is known as the aspect ratio, the first number being the width and the last being height. This revelation stands on the shoulders of the early 2000’s when we drifted towards the “widescreen” 16×9 formats of high definition video from the more square-shaped 4×3 of the standard definition world. We were told that wide was better since it more accurately reflected the wide angle we see with our eyes.  Now with 91% of people owning smart phones and 77% of people using some kind of social site or app, our primary screen time is on our phones. Apps like TikTok and Instagram have shifted our acceptance of the vertical-shaped video. This hasn’t eliminated our old friend, the widescreen-eye-friendly shape. I t has just invited other parameters to the table of media consumption. Now, when we make content and design the shape of the media, we think about 1×1, 1.25×1, 9×16 and of course 16×9. In essence, our list of deliverables has grown and what we thought we knew about eyeball aesthetics has been challenged.

LENGTH

There used to be a handful of time slots to tell a story. Lengths were based on our perception of how long people would pay attention. Content was largely delivered as short and to-the-point. News segments were always one side fighting with the other for two and a half minutes — that was all people could handle. At least, that was the contemporary wisdom of the day. Now, with the success of the internet podcasters, we see segments that are 3 hours long that can tackle the nuances of current and past events with the attention they deserve.

Ads are getting longer. Big brands like Subaru, Toyota, Adidas, and others are making advertisements that look like more like short movies than the traditional commercial spot. The logic is that longer ads will gain the trust of the audience more by incorporating cinematic elements like character development, plot and a relatable story. In essence, this gives advertisers a pathway to merge with entertainment in a more compelling fashion.

With the rise of streaming services, audiences are now more engaged in television mostly because it gives them more. Where we once thought of a three-hour movie as long, now we’ll sit through 12 or more hours of content. “Binge-watching” is now a term in our cultural vocabulary.

But longer isn’t always better. With the rise of TikTok, audiences can now scroll through a video feed of 15 second clips. Some of them are super funny, some of them give great advice, and others are just mindless escapes from reality. This trend brought others in the fold. With Instagram reels and YouTube shorts offering similar experiences, we are now concurrently seeing a thirst for shorter content alongside the longer-content cousin.

TRENDS

Shaking some of our conceptions about the rules of video has been the mission statement of the current media landscape. But what can we expect to see in the near future? Here’s a couple of trends that are sure to develop more in the years to come:

Shoppable videos – Here, you can add clickable items on a video that can take you to a store like Shopify. Like that yellow shirt she’s wearing? Just click on it and you can buy it in seconds.

Here’s a video explaining the basics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXuutvVhoVw&t=36s

360 Degree video – What better way to experience something (other than being there) than by a 360 degree experience. You can now watch a video and click around the room to see a full view of the entire area. This is perfect for real estate, amusement parks or in the case of the video in this link, airlines. Be sure to click on the arrows in the upper left. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc26i8c2Ns8

Animated Explainer Videos – Less of a future thing and more of a now thing, these are popular because they are a great way to teach by illustration and words. They can be very effective at breaking down complex topics into a simplified explanation — like this Ted Ed video about hair in humans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd18yfQqa8A

Although this is just an overview of some observations, it does highlight some of the changes in the landscape where we consume media content. What we thought piques our interest has changed. As media content creators, we need to pivot and meet the audiences where they are. There still are traditional outlets like cable TV, newspapers, etc. But those are going away in lieu of a personalized digital feed. A story made just for you. In some ways that’s pretty scary, but in other ways, there is opportunity to innovate and create.

 

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Less is More (More or Less)

When it comes to video productions for digital media, many companies struggle with how long their message should be. I always say that, when deciding this, it’s best to put yourself in the viewers seat. How much information, based on the subject matter, do they really need to know? Will they be bored halfway through? You might find the subject of your business or your product interesting, but you are not making the video for you, you are making it for other people — and that’s a tough thing for a lot of people to separate. You may WANT others to be as excited about the content as you are, but the best solution is to always get to the point of the message you want to deliver. If you can’t capture someone’s attention within the first 15 seconds of your video, then you will lose most of your viewers. Don’t drag it out and don’t give too much information away so that there is no need for them to “Learn More” or whatever your call to action (CTA) may be.

If your message is about an event, then get them excited about the event! Show shots of what previous or similar events look like, give the highlights of what they can expect, and then end with a CTA like “Register today” or “Don’t miss out!”.

If your message is about a product, show the product and talk about the things that make it great or different. Again, get your viewers excited for what the product can do for them, but don’t start droning on about the product — I’m sure more information is sitting somewhere on a website where they can read about it at their leisure.

If your video is about your company, the same rules apply. Don’t pack in as much information as you can. You want them to call to learn more or visit your website or attend and upcoming event where they can meet you and ask questions. Leave them wanting more and then give them a way to get that information.

So how long should your video be? Well, that all depends. Facebook says that your best bet is to have an informational video that’s at least 3 minutes long, which is a little odd because, most people won’t sit for 3 minutes to watch a whole video. Actually, most people bail out after 15-30 seconds, which is why 15-30 second Social Media ads are sometimes the most effective way to get the information out.

If your content is really interesting and to the point, they may watch a longer video, but unless it’s some sort of Podcast or something that is news breaking, 3-5 minutes is really pushing it. If it’s something you are selling or information you need to push out, try to keep your video between 1.5-2 minutes long. Of course, this will take some restraint on your part, because you really want to tell the world everything about your [fill in the blank]. But statistics don’t lie. Longer is not necessarily better [that’s what he said]. Know your audience, put yourself in their seat so you can find the sweet spot of the perfect length of your video.

 

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Refreshing Your Personal Brand

8 months pregnant and painting

Painting at 8 months pregnant

Well folks, it’s been just over a year since what we thought would be a few weeks to “stop the spread” turned into a complete and utter disruption of our everyday lives. Many of us left our offices and set up temporary workstations in our homes, expecting to return to work in a short time. If you’re like me, spending all your waking hours within one place slowly started driving me crazy. After two months spent cooking elaborate meals and decadent pastries, I turned to the more productive task of home renovations.

New bedroom

My husband already owned our house when we met and hadn’t ever done much to improve its appearance. I hate bare walls and unpainted rooms so had slowly been redoing the rooms of our house and decorating the downstairs rooms but hadn’t ever changed the upstairs. We decided we needed to rip out all the carpeting on the stairs, the hallway and the bedrooms and wanted to install new flooring. The hallway walls were a terrible wood paneling and we agreed it just needed ripped out and drywall installed in its place. I was 7 months pregnant when we began this project so ripping out walls and old carpeting were a little beyond my capabilities. We hired one of our friends who is a contractor and wasn’t working due to the shutdown to help my husband do all the demo and drywall work. Originally, we planned to just paint the new hallway and one of the bedrooms for the nursery, but I got overly ambitious and talked my husband into letting me repaint all three bedrooms. I had never liked the upstairs of our house because of the old carpeting, wood paneling, and questionable paint jobs done by former roommates. Once we got the new drywall, flooring, and rooms painted it was such a transformation! I felt like I was living in an entirely new house that I loved. Tackling huge renovation projects while being 7-8 months pregnant isn’t something I’d recommend but changing a space you aren’t happy with is so worthwhile.

Since our major projects wrapped up, I have been focusing on smaller projects that are more manageable now that we have a baby, and both still work full-time. My home office has moved to our dining room now and since I spend so much time in there, I have been finding little ways to refresh the space. I recently found a “new to us” dining room set that I loved but hated the

Old and new upholstery

upholstery on the chairs, so I found new fabric to reupholster them for a quick and easy refresh. We replaced our ceiling fan light fixture that only half worked with a new fully functioning one.

 

Coffee/Wine Bar

Next, I put together a little coffee/wine bar on our sideboard because I am obsessed with coffee and love red wine. I am currently working on repainting our built-in liquor cabinet and bought new hardware to install on it. We are also working on hanging pictures and fun art in our hallway. I want to make a hanging wreath for our front door out of an old bicycle wheel. Fingers crossed I can also talk my husband into letting us renovate our kitchen and bathroom soon too!

 

Here are a few of my takeaways from my experiences that I hope inspire you to make the changes you’ve been daydreaming about.

 

 

• Never underestimate the impact small changes can make
• Loving your surroundings can help boost your mood and productivity
• When your skill set isn’t up to the challenge of creating your vision, ask for help from the experts
• Incorporate things you enjoy into your space
• Taking large projects can be daunting (especially at 8 months pregnant) but the results are so worth the effort

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The TikTok Takeover

With over 10 MILLION followers, Charli D’Amelio reigns as the Queen of TikTok

Just your resident Gen Z Apple Box employee here to discuss what the kids are up to these days: …it’s TikTok. The kids are obsessed with TikTok. And I, admittedly, am one of those kids.

This app, created as a platform for creating and sharing short videos, has literally taken the Gen Z/Millennial world by storm. The videos are driven by short ‘sounds’, which can be a part of a song or a VO taken out of context. Users then act, dance, or create a story based on elements of the ‘sound’. Once other creators put their own spin on the video to add to the trend, the sound associated goes viral at lightning speed.  If you aren’t interested in creating videos— do not fret. TikTok’s algorithm caters to visual consumption, serving videos and content that are similar to other videos that you have interacted with on the app.

I love decor and this account is one of my faves! The vibes are immaculate.

So sure, it’s mesmerizing. So mesmerizing, in fact, that millions of people (myself included) admit to watching two hours + of TikTok a night before going to bed. Why? Because TikTok is exactly what younger audiences are looking for in an app. It is no secret that Gen Z is addicted to technology; they are constantly scrolling, liking and sharing. TikTok is an overload of content that never stops. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, you will not see the same story or post twice. The videos are always new and the feed is endless, meaning you can stay on the app for hours without getting bored.

Like I mentioned above, I love decor. But I love fashion more. The fashion inspiration on TikTok is never ending.

An endless supply of content can create a lot of space for advertising, especially considering TikTok’s monthly audience is about 1 billion users. Brands are creating ads that are equivalent to native video ads, which appear in your feed and look like a regular TikTok but are actually sponsored ads. Current ads on the app range from clothing to food to software. Another way brands are advertising is with influencers. In typical Gen Z fashion, influencers are heavily integrated into the app, promoting products as you scroll through your “For You Page” (your personalized feed). There’s also some talk of implementing affiliate links on the app. Affiliate links are a win-win: the links would allow brands to harness the clout of influencers while also giving those influencers a cut of the sale. With its crazy following, advertisers have the opportunity to reach a huge audience (did I mention 1 billion users a month?). That sheer volume of users is enough to make someone consider advertising on TikTok.

 

[Image 1 Link: https://www.tiktok.com/@charlidamelio?lang=en]

[Image 2 Link: https://www.tiktok.com/@stayinginstudio/video/6925766358718319877?lang=en&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6930310176985843206]

[Image 3 Link: https://www.tiktok.com/@cocobeau.tea/video/6925091258734054662?lang=en&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6930310176985843206]

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