Archive | June 2011

Are you afraid of the PSA?

Gabriel Beltrone’s post “Don’t Cook Yourself in a Toaster, Waffle Iron or Tanning Bed” on AdFreak yesterday reminded us that, in recent years, public service announcements (PSAs) have drastically shifted from stern prompts to downright terrifying portrayals.

Need proof? Watch the old-school “Your Brain on Drugs” Partnership for a Drug-Free America PSA and then watch this domestic violence spot titled “It Rarely Stops.” Scary, right?

We believe the shift occurred not because people (teenagers especially) were no longer getting the message, but because softened images didn’t actually deter dangerous behavior. Tell a teen, “Don’t smoke cigarettes; they cause mouth and lung cancer,” and they’ll say, “Okay, yeah, I know.” But show them a woman whose face is practically decaying, and they’ll say, “Holy crap, that’s gross. I’m never smoking.” Or that’s the thought behind it, at least.

So our question today is, “Do graphic PSAs really influence behavior?”

North Carolina’s WXII12 tried to find the answer when its reporter asked three teens guilty of texting while driving to watch this graphic European “Don’t Text and Drive” PSA. Their reaction (seen here) was disbelief and shock. They said actually seeing the possible deadly consequences of their actions changed their texting and driving beliefs.

But did it actually change their behavior? Our guess is that it did for a while. They probably even told a few friends about it. But ten dollars says the majority of those friends didn’t look up the video. And twenty dollars says, after some time had passed, those original three teens probably began texting and driving again.

Of course, these are just guesses. Those teens may have stopped texting and driving forever; we don’t know. Our point is, graphic PSAs scare a change in behavior in the short run, but they probably don’t actually change behavior in the long run.

So what kind of PSAs can change behavior? Our opinion is true stories. Don’t give the people actors bloodied in a car crash; give them a girl whose best friend died when a texting driver collided with her car telling her story directly to the camera.

Or give them something artistic and memorable like the beyond brilliant “Embrace Life” PSA. We believe either of these options are more likely to permanently change dangerous behavior.

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YMCA Dream House open to public Friday

Experience the excitement as the 2011 Lake County YMCA Dream House, located in Concord Township’s Nature Preserve South at 8072 Rainbow Drive, makes its public debut Friday, June 24 at Noon.

Cambi, Cambria’s quartz-loving Welsh dragon mascot, will be in attendance to greet all guests as they enter the magnificent 2,700-square-foot house. Cambi will also pose for pictures and distribute silly bands, trading cards and other fun handouts to all kids who join the celebration from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

The 2011 Dream House Co-coordinators, Karen Krauss of Karen Krauss Designs and Kate Weaver of Faux What, will join the Dream House’s other designers and representatives of Cambria, producer of natural quartz surfaces, and Mentor Lumber and Supply Companies to highlight the house’s key features.

These features include three suites, one on the first and one on the second floor (each with a bedroom, full bath and walk-in closet) and one in the finished 1,000-square-foot walk-out lower level with a full bath, retreat room and family room.

Krauss, Weaver and other designers will be able to tell guests how they worked together with the Lake County YMCA to create a flexible and practical design intended to accommodate today’s family as it evolves to fit changing needs.

“The 2011 Dream House is unique to today’s family because today’s family includes adult children, younger children and grandparents under one roof,” said Lake County YMCA’s special events director Peggy Swanger. “The construction and design of this year’s Dream House reflect that with comfortable multi-functional areas for family gatherings as well as independent spaces like the house’s three suites.”

The 2011 Lake County YMCA Dream House has 14 designers in all. They are Carol Demore, Halle Chiappone, Deb Stern, Kathy Snowbrick, Karen Hayes, Carolyn Rigo, Karen Szmania, Karen Krauss, Kate Weaver, Jane Andreyko, Diana Hudson Kresnye, Crystal Brown, Molly Malone Hill and Debra Metcalf.

Cambria is the only company in the United States that produces natural quartz surfaces. Cambria representatives will highlight the company’s “Waterstone Collection” to Dream House visitors. Inspired by the natural movement of water over stone, Cambria’s “Waterstone Collection” is highlighted throughout the 2011 Dream House.

The Lake County YMCA 2011 Dream House public debut tours will conclude promptly at 8 PM. Guests unable to attend June 24 may tour the house from Noon to 8 PM through Sunday, August 14.

Tour tickets can be purchased for $12 each or 3 for $30 at all Lake County YMCA branches, at the 2011 Dream House during tour hours, by phone at 440-354-5656 or online at www.winthedreamhouse.com/buy-tickets.

Anyone who purchases a tour ticket will be entered into a semi-final drawing to win the Lake County YMCA 2011 Dream House and furnishings or a $200,000 cash prize. Twenty lucky semi-finalists will then participate in the dramatic final drawing at the Dream House August 21 at 2 PM. Each of the semi-finalists will choose a key, one of which unlocks the front door of the Dream House. The semi-finalist with the key that unlocks the front door wins.

For more information on the Lake County YMCA 2011 Dream House, visit http://www.ymcadreamhouse.org, or visit the Lake County YMCA website at www.lakecountyymca.org.

Is Facebook dying? US and Canadian users are jumping ship.

This year, “The King’s Speech” defeated the wildly popular film, “The Social Network,” chronicling Mark Zuckerberg’s path to Facebook glory. We’re sure Zuckerberg (who had nothing to do with the production of the film) took the loss in stride, but now his brainchild, Facebook, is experiencing a loss he may not be able to recover from: A loss of users.

Inside Facebook data shows that Facebook lost nearly 6 million US and 1.52 million Canadian users in May alone. The UK, Norway, and Russia also all posted loses of more than 100 million users. With Facebook reportedly planning an initial public stock offering worth more than $100 billion sometime next spring, should Zuckerberg be worried about growth?

In a June 14 post, “Slate” writer Farhad Manjoo says, “Don’t bet on it.” According to Manjoo, nothing has changed in the social networking world. Facebook hasn’t experienced any new major redesigns, and, despite intense competition from Twitter, Manjoo says Twitter still isn’t an actual Facebook threat. Manjoo also explains that Facebook’s lack of growth in the US and Canada is basic economics, meaning, Facebook has already acquired all the US and Canadian people who will use Facebook. Therefore, there’s no fish left in the pond to catch. An empty pond results in stagnant fish sales every time.

So that explains the lack of growth. But why are US and Canadian users leaving? My guess is two-fold: increasing privacy concerns and boredom.

Privacy has been a huge Facebook issue as of late. One minor oversight, and you end up like 16-year-old Thessa who accidentally organized a Facebook event of 15,000. Even looking through my Facebook friends, I notice an increasing list of people who will not  allow me to write on their walls or view their pictures. (And it’s not because I have an awful personality, I promise.)

Boredom is the second reason I believe users are leaving. Facebook has been around for eight years. It’s practically the old man of the social media sites. Some users, especially early adaptors, are looking for something fresh to dig into it. Plus Facebook lost a bit of its “cool factor” when younger users began to friend moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents.

But, at the end of the day, these points are really moot. Zuckerberg shouldn’t fret over the lost users, and he shouldn’t lose sleep over how to keep the US and Canadian users who remain. Why? Despite losses in the US and Canada, Facebook continues to see growth in developing countries like Mexico, Brazil, and India.

Plus, the majority of the fish Zuckerberg already caught (the fish writing this post included) will continue to frequent the site for years to come. (Or at least until the next big fad comes along.)

Make your resume pop

At McKinney-Cerne Inc., we believe a well-crafted professional resume is still the best way to land an interview for your dream job despite emerging promotional websites such as LinkedIn.

Now, creating a great resume isn’t exactly rocket science, but, over the years, we’ve seen many professionals (especially young professionals) struggle to produce a decent resume.

The facts are these: Great resumes get interviews. Great interviews get jobs. Great jobs lead to success. Subtract the great resume, and you’re left with nada.

So we’ve composed a few very simple tips to help you create a great resume:

1. Keep it short. A one-page resume is all a recent graduate or young professional needs. Two pages is the longest any resume should be, even if you’ve been in the business for 30 years.

2. Put relevant work first. We’ve found that it’s easiest to divide your work into “relevant experience” and “other.” If you’re applying for an account executive position, we want to know what work you’ve done that qualifies you as an account executive firstly. We’d also like to know what else you’ve done, just after we see if you meet our requirements.

3. Recent graduates should only include their GPA if it’s a 3.0 or higher. Professionals who have been in the business for several years should lose the GPA entirely.

4. Create bulleted lists for previous job requirements. Resumes should always be scannable. Professionals do not want to read flowery sentences in lengthy paragraphs. Always write your resume in the simplest sentences possible.

5. Make your resume measurable. It’s always best to prove how much of an asset you’ll be to the company. Prove your worth by measuring the success of your previous work. Example, if you’re a journalist, how many articles or yours were published? How many blog and twitter followers did you acquire at your last position?

6. Do not include an “objective.” An objective would be “To acquire a position as an account executive at McKinney-Cerne Inc.” Well, of course. We know why you’re applying. Our advice here is to either jump right into previous employers or write a sentence summarizing why you’re best for the position.

7. Do not include references. Most potential employers will want your references. But excluding them from your resume gives another aspect you may include in your thank you note after the interview. Always write, “References available upon request.”

8. If you know how, give it a design. If you’re a pro at Adobe Indesign (and especially if you’re applying for a design job), go ahead and give your resume a splash of creativity. But make sure the design does not take away from the important information. If you don’t know how to design, don’t sweat it. Clean black and white resumes are always accepted.

Running to change lives

Twenty-three years ago, entrepreneur and Lake County YMCA West End Board Member Kevin Tenkku’s body encouraged him to put on a pair of jogging shoes.

“My metabolism was slowing down,” Tenkku said. “I started running because I wanted a good outlet for myself mentally and, especially, physically. Running made me feel good.”

But what began as a simple way to maintain a good physical shape transformed into a lifelong passion for running—a passion he is now utilizing to tackle the Burning River 100-Mile Endurance Run to benefit the Lake County YMCA through its Annual Giving Campaign which provides membership assistance to children and families that otherwise would not be able to afford to participate in programs at the YMCA.

Like most runners, Tenkku started slow. “It takes a long time for your body to get used to running,” he said. “I tell [new runners] not to do too much too fast. It all comes in time.”

Tenkku began running races after a year of dedicated training. Tenkku estimated he’s competed in more than 50 races in the 23 years he’s been running. Those races include everything from 5K runs to half-marathons to ultra marathons.

“But this is my first 100-mile race,” he said.

It’ll be a grueling one, too.  The Burning River 100-Mile Endurance Run begins at Squire’s Castle in the North Chagrin Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks, zigzags southwest through Northeast Ohio trails and roads and ends at Falls River Square in Cuyahoga Falls. Participating runners must report at the starting point before 4:45 a.m., and they cannot “drop out” of the race at any point until reaching an aid station.

“After 54 miles or so, you can join a couple people who will pace you,” Tenkku said. “They’ll make sure I move at a certain pace and that I eat because I’ll be burning 500 plus calories an hour. It’s easy to get kind of goofy when you’re losing those nutrients.”

Tenkku is training for the July 31-August 1 race by running anywhere from 40-60 miles a week at all times of day. He said he’ll eventually work his way to 100 miles a week.

“I’m also lifting weights and completing other core exercises at the YMCA,” he said. “This kind of training will strengthen my overall body for the race.”

Not only is the Burning River Tenkku’s first 100-mile race, it’s also the first he’s run to raise funds for the YMCA.

“I selfishly ran before,” Tenkku joked.

Tenkku said a speech by YMCA Board Member Aaron Campbell inspired him to dedicate his running of the Burning River 100-mile Endurance Run to raising funds for the Lake County YMCA’s Annual Giving Campaign.

“Aaron Campbell asked board members to be active in serving and not just add the title to our resumes,” Tenkku said. “Driving home, that statement stuck with me and, from there, this idea of using my passion to raise money for the Y was born.”

“I know and trust the life-changing quality programs the YMCA continues to provide year after year,” Tenkku added. “I know they’ll use the money [I raise] for kids to attend programs at the Y, specifically kids whose parents can’t afford such programs.”

“We’re grateful for board members like Kevin,” said Dick Bennett, Executive Director and CEO of the Lake County YMCA. “He’ll affect the lives of countless kids in the area by running this race.”

“This race is more special because it’s for something I believe in,” Tenkku added.

Visit www.runningtochangelives.com to follow Tenkku’s progress during the Burning River 100-Mile Endurance run and aid him in his efforts to raise money for the West End YMCA’s annual Giving Campaign by clicking “Donate Today.”

Love or challenge thy pits?

The season of sleeveless shirts is upon us, and hygiene marketers certainly haven’t wasted any time promoting their products, most notably, deodorant. Okay, so increased deodorant advertising coinciding with rising temperatures isn’t a surprise, but what is surprising is one brand’s take on the taboo underarm.

When it comes to deodorant, most brands position their products as superheroes who will defeat the smelly and sweaty nemesis. Dove continued that traditon by declaring the underarm “unsightly” and offering women Unilever’s solution to softer, more attractive armpits in five days with its gosleeveless deodorants. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert was among the campaigns critics. He declared that Unilever created an unnecessary insecurity by inventing a solution for a problem women didn’t have.

After gaining insights from U.S. and U.K. consumers and seeing the Unilever backlash, ad agency Mother New York took a different approach to Mitchum’s line of deodorants. The new campaign entitled “Love thy pits” celebrates the armpit and asks, why combat your armpit when you’re in this together?

Mitchum is owned by Revlon Consumer Products Corporation. Its campaign includes commercials,  print ads, radio ads, and even a social media aspect in which Mitchum’s right and left armpits will tweet about current world events with the hashtag #lovethypits for 48 hours. (Forty-eight because that’s how many hours Mitchum deodorants keep you and your pits protected.)

The campaign is cool and quirky with impressive visuals by Brand New School, a creative production company. It gives a new appreciation to the otherwise  unappreciated underarm.