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Original articles from Heather Ewert.
A 'Like' on Facebook is Free Speech? Yes, It Is
If you say something out loud or issue an official statement in America, you’re more than likely protected by the First Amendment. Unless you’re threatening someone or spewing hate speech, you are free to say what you like, no matter how interesting, controversial, or banal the subject matter may be. But what if you were fired for clicking “like” on a Facebook photo? Is that considered violating the First Amendment? Last Wednesday, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals...

Apple Announces Two New iPhone Models
At a company conference on September 10, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced they are poised to release a New iOS 7 update for the iPhone and iPad. But what people are really excited about is the new iPhone lineup.

Hillshire Farms: Building Consumer Empathy and Profiting
Do you ever have a spontaneous craving for a specific food? Maybe you’re getting the mail and you catch a whiff of the neighbors cooking something delicious — now your tummy’s rumbling, and you want to pop in and ask what that delicious-smelling spice is. Or maybe you’re shopping in the mall and the scent of a fresh-baked cinnamon roll wafts past you. Well, now you want to get your hands on one of those syrupy-sweet treats. So of course you’ve had that spontaneous craving...

JC Penney, On the Rise Once More
I celebrated a birthday a week ago, and my mother flew out to California to stay with me. As is our tradition, we logged on to a few choice websites to go clothing shopping.

Starbucks: Sued for Discrimination…Again
The Seattle-based coffee chain hasn’t had a good run in the media lately. Several years ago, Starbucks was sued by a former network engineer for allowing racist comments and harassment in the workplace. Although the network engineer filed complaints with HR, nothing came of it. He sued, and the company settled for $120,000 to avoid further litigation fees.

Taco Bell's New Plan to Market to Millennials
Well, it looks like another fast food restaurant is jumping on the health food bandwagon. Last week, Taco Bell announced that they planned on unveiling a special selection of meals on a new “Power Protein” menu. The menu was designed to appeal to customers who want a little more to their meals than fat and sodium wrapped in carbs.

Stop Watching Us: Mozilla Takes a Stand Against Government 'Spying'
Last week, reports emerged that the U.S. government was acquiring private data on users from Internet and phone companies. This data is obtained by the National Security Agency through top-secret surveillance programs, which indicates that the NSA could potentially have access to anything from recorded domestic phone calls to users’ online movements, which are tracked in the cloud. Naturally, the potential impact of the government obtaining U.S. citizens’ private data could be devastating...

Fan Food, Not Fast Food: DQ Launches New Campaign
Dairy Queen launched several new commercials over the Memorial Day weekend. After 15 years, they’ve severed ties with their old agency, Grey New York, and they’ve decided to take a more grounded approach in reaching their audience. The theme of the new campaign is “Fan Food, Not Fast Food,” and the company aims to brand their frozen confections...

Your DVD Smells Like A Pizza: Brazilian Ad Agency Debuts Clever Marketing Campaign
What would you do if you popped in a DVD, enjoyed a great movie, and removed the disc to find…pizza? Advertising agency Artplan Sao Paulo and Domino’s in Brazil joined forces to do just that. They wanted to make an innovative, charming, and irresistible ad campaign that highlighted a marriage...

Adobe's New Vision: Away with The Box and Into the Cloud
As a sometime graphic designer, I’ve been a loyal user of Adobe products for many years. I’ve followed the company through their branding and packaging changes, from their unveiling of the Creative Suite in 2003 to the acquisition of Macromedia Flash in 2005, to the launching of the Creative Cloud subscription model...

Announcing A New Late-Night Contender…Cap’n Crunch!
Do you have a favorite cereal mascot from your childhood years? Growing up in the '90s, I recall there being so many cereal mascots, so many jingles, and so many ways to tell adults that our cereal just wasn’t for them that it was nearly impossible to choose a favorite to represent our generation.

Netflix and Hasbro’s New Deal: A Solution to Kid-Targeted Advertising?
In 1984, the Federal Communications Commission made the decision to remove the limitations that had long been in place for children’s advertising — what kinds of commercials could be viewed during children’s programming, for example, or how many minutes per hour could be dedicated to advertising aimed at young kids — stating that the marketplace would determine...

Link Bait: Why Blogging is Still Best
I’ve written in the past about multiple social media platforms that any company — even small businesses — can use to generate brand image and customer interest. And there are definitely quite a few social media sites to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Reddit… the list goes on and on, depending on your audience and your marketing goals.

Easter: A Sweet Opportunity for Advertising!
As I spoke with my mother last week about the lingering Minnesota winter she was (unfortunately) still experiencing, she reminded me that Easter was quickly approaching. She told me that she’d forgotten to decorate, so she scrambled to put up her decorations just a short week before the holiday. I thought about that for a moment...

A 'Fresh' Start for JC Penney?
JC Penney has not enjoyed much praise in the news lately. It seems like everywhere you look, you can find yet another article about the store suffering the next blow in a series of setbacks. Just recently, news emerged that they laid off over 2000 workers, and in late February, they announced a loss of $552 million...

SEO: What Is It, and Why Should You Care?
If you’re running a business website, you know how important it is to be found on the top search engines. Because Google accounts for nearly 67% of the searches being performed within the U.S., it’s no wonder that people have tried to figure out how to get their sites to index higher on popular search engine’s return list. Why? Well, if you rank on the first page of Google...

Promoting Your Brand's Valentine's Day Content Through Social Media
Valentine’s Day is rife with earning opportunity for businesses: according to a National Retail Federation survey, Americans are projected to spend about $18.6 billion this holiday, with the average man spending around $175, while a woman can expect to shell out about $89. It would make sense, then, that with so many people ready to spend their hard-earned cash on sweet sentiments for their loved ones, a little extra advertising can really go a long way. For example, many brands come up with promotional deals...

How to Turn an Unexpected Event into a Positive Brand Opportunity
It happened out of nowhere. Beyoncé had just finished her high-energy performance and everyone who watched was engrossed in the electric energy of the Super Bowl. And then...the power went out. Brands that had paid upward of $4 million to have a coveted advertising slot during the big game...

Build Your Brand Using Great Customer Service
It seems that work has continued to be an inspiration for my writing, despite my propensity to craft repetitive blogs for nine hours every day. This week, we did some office rearrangement and I ended up being shifted to a corner seat that was supposed to be “quieter.” But in reality, I either have to wear headphones or listen to impatient customer service reps...

3 Tips To Improve Your Company's Social Media Skills
I work for a company that helps businesses market their websites more effectively. We don’t create branding packages or produce ad campaigns for our clients, but we take the company’s existing image and refine it through a variety of channels. We create blog content, local organic content, video SEM, and Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Jack in the Box: Taking Risks and Thriving
If you live anywhere on the West Coast, you are probably familiar with the fast food restaurant Jack in the Box. Although found in twenty-one states, Jack in the Box was founded in California, and today it remains a strong presence in terms of fast food chains. To give you a brief history, Jack in the Box has been providing fast food burgers, akin to competitors like McDonald's, since 1951, but rose in popularity during the 1980s. The company sought to distance themselves from the “children’s restaurant” image.

Building a Brand OS: A Look at Windows 8
My sister recently got a new laptop after her old one bit the dust (it lasted her nearly seven years, however, so in terms of laptops, it had a rather long life). After conferring with me about brands, she picked out a nice laptop which should have been capable of handling the graphics-heavy work she does.

Bring Your Brand into The New Year
Every holiday season, many companies choose to liven up their image with a mixture of timeless cheer and traditional advertising appeal: Whether it’s the instantly-recognizable red-suited Santa laughing as he partakes of some cookies and milk, or the image of a family together in their living room, seated next to the hearth and a Christmas tree, consumers recognize immediately what the message is. And the truth is, studies show that people still look forward to the comfortable, predictable advertising messages...

Why Kay Jewelers Warms Our Hearts Every Christmas Season
Every Christmas season, Kay Jewelers releases a commercial that is supposed to represent a moment of pure, unaltered bliss for women: After a year of hard work and playing the diligent wife, the go-getter at work, the dinner maker, the errand runner, and the all-around problem solver...

5 Personal Branding Cues to Consider for Your Business in 2013
Let's take a brief look at a successful personal brand that started off as something virtually unknown. Take Ray William Johnson, for example. He started out making videos for fun, but gradually amassed followers to become one of the most popular channels on YouTube. Now he is taking his brand to a whole new level — he announced recently that he’s starting his own production company!

'Happily Ever After'?: Modernizing Fairy Tales for a New Generation
Recently, my boyfriend and I started watching Once Upon a Time. Other than the brief plot synopsis I’d read online, neither of us knew much about it. But we are both products of the ‘80s and ‘90s, so we were familiarized with storylines within the series, because hey — we’d seen Disney movies. This sort of sugar-coated narrative was how most kids of that generation generally became acquainted...

The Rebranding of the Romance Novel
If you’ve been living under a rock, perhaps you’ve not heard of the success of E.L. James’ erotic 50 Shades trilogy. For a quick recap, the story encompasses a young billionaire professor and philanthropist’s relationship with a naïve, virginal recent college grad. It started out as Twilight fanfiction, but grew into something much more provocative.


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