The Omnicom & Publicis Merger and PR

Image: AdAge

Over the weekend, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe, two advertising giants, announced a “merger of equals” to become a $23 billion organization, making it the largest advertising holding company in the world. To some, this is just news to skim through, but for my advertising/PR-crazed friends and me, it was news worth reading in depth. Although it affects more advertising agencies, a few PR firms were also swept into the merger. Some of which I fondly, including FleishmanHillard and Porter Novelli – both have Austin offices.

After reading my fair share of articles, tweets and shares, I’ve come to the conclusion that this merger is overall a positive for the industry. Two giants with a variety of clients coming under one roof to become a powerhouse was a smart move that could potentially empower growth and new techniques across agencies.

Unfortunately, not all are too content with the merger. The newly combined holding company  will result in corporate brands Pepsi and Coca-Cola to be under the same roof. However, smaller companies within the organization will be able to have a wider reach and claim more clients.

From a PR stand-point, PR agencies are not affected as much as advertising agencies. However, the lines are already so blurred between advertising and PR, the course of action for the merger will result in an increase of combining of both paid and earned media.

Whether you’re a fan of the merger or not, you have to admit that this is a landmark event for the advertising and PR industry. An event that not only dethrones WPP’s dominance in the industry, but also creates the potential for continued expansion of diversity and reach.

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Instagram’s Video Feature Could Be Its Advertising Downfall

Image: ABC News

Recently, Facebook announced that one of its new improvements for Instagram would be the addition of a video function. The video update would allow users to film a 15 second video with what I would like to call a “hipster filter.” Yesterday, the mobile app update became available on both iPhone and Android devices. Naturally, I downloaded it.

I have yet to film using this new feature, but my Instagram feed immediately began filling up with random videos. I like to think Facebook mainly did this to compete against Twitter’s Vine. A while ago, Twitter announced that Vine would become available for Android users via the Goolge Playstore. Within the first few days, Vine received more downloads than Instagram. My theory is that most Android users already had the Instagram app and were curious to try out the newly added Vine app, not necessarily because it’s a better app – they’re both good for different reasons.

I’m sure Facebook has had the video function in the works long before the addition of the Vine Android app, but its release date might prove to be a factor for downfall. The Vine app allows brands to showcase their company in a creative gif-like manner within the span of six seconds. Instagram video, on the other hand, allows a 15 second video. Now, when I initially saw this time frame, I thought it would be incredibly difficult for brands to think of a creative way to use it. Brands have been transitioning towards a more concise, outside of the box advertising, how could they possibly fill a whole 15 seconds?

After having coffee with a social media coordinator this morning, we both realized that 15 seconds is about the same duration as your average television ad. So, my question is, how will Instagram regulate the free ad time corporate Instagrams will begin to use? Will Instagram begin charging for video advertisements? How would they even regulate ads?

What initially seemed like a cool update for regular users will surely cause some advertising punches to Instagram corporate. Brands, on the other hand, will most likely rejoice for the free advertising outlet they can explore. But this also means that brands have to start generating their creative juices again because users are Instgram are not going to appreciate watching the same 15 second TV ad while they browse through the sea of food porn and outfits of the day.

And here’s to the end.

Lately I have been obsessed with eating turkey  burgers over the regular beef burger. I was told the burger was leaner and the majority of places that have the burger do a fairly good job of making it delicious. I headed to Kona Grill at the Domain today and ordered myself a turkey burger and fries. Kona is one of my favorite restaurants,  but I had never been to the one in Austin, so I figured I would give it a try to see if it was good at other locations. For about $12, I got a large burger and fries. Although it’s a bit overpriced compared to the typical P.Terry’s or other fast food burger, it was good and worth the money. I am full, without the heavy feeling you get after consuming fast food.

Tonight I will be heading to Thai Spice for dinner with the academic advisor in charge of the College of Communication orientation program, along with my fellow communication pre-advisors. The burger from Kona will definitely hold me over, so I will probably end up only ordering a plate of sushi, which I have been craving for some time now.

The other night I headed to the AT&T center near campus for a banquet with the orientation advisors. Needless to say, everyone cleaned up very nicely, my committee – Multimedia & Publicity – especially. The hotel is definitely one of the nicer ones near campus that provides detailing that boasts Texas Fight. Unfortunately, the food was only decent. The tortillas used for the fajitas were thin and bland, the meat was a bit on the chewy side, and there just wasn’t anything special about the food overall. The dessert was a bit better – especially the pecan pie.

I wore a simple coral high-low dress from Forever 21, BCBG heels, with a J.Crew belt and Macy’s necklace. I have always wanted to experiment with a high-low dress and the color coral, so this seemed like the perfect dress to do it with. I love how soft this dress is and how simple it is. Plus, it was only about $16 after tax, which made purchasing a banquet dress doable on the wallet. Whoever says you can’t make a simple and inexpensive dress fancy has not met yours truly.

Quiet Sunday.

Happy Sunday everyone! I finally taught myself how to “sleep in” and managed to wake up around 10:40 this morning. I am usually a morning person, even on Sundays, so sleeping in past 10 am is a rare feat that should be publicly documented.

J.Crew top and belt, Anthropologie skirt, Macy’s necklace

Sported this outfit to church this morning. When I purchased this skirt a couple of days ago, I didn’t think I was going to wear it so soon, but seeing that my clothing choices are quite limited this summer because I chose to pack light, it was a perfect time to break out the new skirt. Plus, church is a great excuse for me to throw on a skirt and not have people ask “why are you dressed so nicely?” I’ll be spending my Sunday going to coffee, reading, and writing.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I headed to The Oasis on Lake Travis yesterday for lunch with the fellow Orientation Advisors. The food was decent quality – nothing special, so I have come to the conclusion that I was only paying for this beautiful view of the lake. Unfortunately, the sea level of the lake has been decreasing within the past couple of years and doesn’t look as lovely as it used to, but it is still aesthetically pleasing and worth the drive nonetheless.

Super Bargain.

Anthropologie skirt, Ralph Lauren top, J.Crew belt

There is nothing I love more than finding a good bargain. A friend informed me that Anthropologie was having a sale worth browsing, mainly because there is an additional 25% off the marked price. I headed to the Anthropologie on Lamar just to see if the tip lived up to the hype. Thankfully, it did. To be honest, if I had a larger budget for myself, I would have definitely splurged on more than just one skirt. Nevertheless, the skirt was a great purchase. The original price on the skirt was $118 + tax. Guess how much I spent on the beauty after taxes? A grand total of $16.19 – what a find! My Mac’s photo booth camera definitely doesn’t do the skirt any justice. It’s soft, well-made, and beyond comfortable. For those of you who don’t have the time to drive to the local Anthropologie, the additional 25% sale is also online. Unfortunately, when I browsed through the online store, I couldn’t find much that I really liked for the price I wanted.

Let Freedom Ring.

Happy 236th birthday America! You’re not my country of birth, but I consider you my home. Yes, contrary to popular belief, I was not born in America, regardless of how fluent I am in the English language. I arrived in America at the tender age of 4 in March of 1997, and unfortunately have not visited Vietnam since then. However, I have loved every minute of being in this country and am so blessed to have the amount of freedom and opportunity that I do by living here.

I started off my 4th of July with a trip to Starbucks where I discovered tall hot coffees were free today. Talk about a great start to an eventful day. I then headed to Half Priced Books to see if there was a ridiculous book sale of some sort; I can honestly spend hours at a book store, regardless of which one it is. After rummaging through the clearance section, I came across A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I have been meaning to read this book for some time now, especially since I heard about it years ago on Oprah’s reading list. Unfortunately, the last time I heard about the book, it was not positive feedback; something regarding false information provided by the author. However, I heard the overall read was worth it, accurate interpretation or not. And of course, for a $1 + tax, how could I turn down such a bargain?

A Million Little Pieces is a semi-fictional novel about a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser and how he copes with rehabilitation through a 12-step program. Even though it was originally promoted as a memoir, it was later discovered that a couple of the events mentioned in the novel never actually occurred – hence the negative critiques that made the novel go from a bestseller to a target for literary bashing. Although there is some fabrication of the events, I will probably read it as if it was simply another novel, rather than one that is based on “real” events.

Afterwards, I headed to South Congress with a friend to explore what the street had to offer as far as vintage shops and eateries. Our bellies were still full from the campus buffet, so eating was not our main priority. However, we could not leave without grabbing a cupcake from Hey Cupcake! – the cupcake food trailer featured on the Travel Channel. Located on the 1600 block of South Congress, the food trailer serves cupcakes for $3 each. The cupcakes are baked fresh daily with the best ingredients and love, of course. The workers are beyond sweet, and the cupcakes can make anyone drool. I grabbed myself a Michael Jackson cupcake, a chocolate cupcake with white cream cheese frosting, that was decorated with patriotic red and blue sprinkles.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful 4th of July! May your evenings be safe and filled with dozens of firework shows. Tonight, I am heading to Auditorium shores for a musical firework display put on by the Austin Symphony Orchestra; I cannot wait for my first Independence Day experience in Austin!

The Web We Weave.

TJ Maxx top, Gap shorts, J.Crew belt

It is a known fact by my peers that The Social Network is definitely one of my most favorite movies that has been released within the past few years. So it comes as no surprise that I absolutely adore the actors that portray the main characters in the movie, especially the very handsome Andrew Garfield. When news circulated that he would be portraying Spiderman in The Amazing Spiderman, I knew I had to watch the feature as soon as possible.  I headed to the Bob Bullock Museum IMAX theater by campus this afternoon to finally see if the hype was worth the $10 ticket.

All rights reserved. No copyright infringement intended.

Because I am a college student, the IMAX 3D experience to watch the movie was only $10, so I thought to myself why the hell not? Overall, the movie would have been just as good in 2D as in 3D; there were not enough 3D effects for it to really make a difference. Peter Parker (Garfield) is a little more on the angry and awkward side than the Spiderman movie that came out several years ago with Toby McGuire. Before the movie, there is definitely going to be a sense of need to compare The Amazing Spiderman to McGuire’s Spiderman; don’t do it. In my opinion, if one avoids comparing this movie to the previous, there will surely be a slight sense of disappointment. As for the romance between Gwen (Emma Stone) and Peter (Garfield), there is just enough chemistry for the movie, but not as much natural chemistry as I would have liked to see. Overall, I thought it was worth the $10, but I wouldn’t sit through it more than once – that’s just my opinion.

One thing I almost forgot to mention: the film score was quite fabulous. Props to the flute player that played great marcato notes throughout the suspenseful parts and the French horn was just the right amount of strong. I will most likely be purchasing the soundtrack if I remember to search for it on iTunes.

I’m Just a Nerd.

Really, I am. Go out and have a swig of alcoholic beverages that I am not legally allowed to consume? No, thank you; I would rather curl up with a good movie or a witty book. During my sophomore year of high school, one of the required summer reading books was Freakanomics – a book about not so typical questions asked by witty economist Steven D. Levitt and award-winning journalist Stephen J. Dubner. Now, several years after, as I enter my sophomore year of college, I have finally acquired a copy of the sequel that I cannot put down – Super FreakanomicsI’m only halfway through with the novel and I’m already satisfied with everything it has to offer. I’m a sucker for a little bit of sass in my literature, so naturally, I would laugh at the banter that the authors provide along with unconventional questions such as “How is a street prostitute like a department store Santa?” and “Why should suicide bombers buy life insurance?” You’ll have to obtain a copy of the book to find out the answers to these odd questions. 

To continue my proclamation of nerdy-ness, I will now attempt to persuade you to venture to the theater and watch a movie that is not as highly advertised as the summer blockbusters. The other night I spontaneously agreed to watch Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. I had seen the poster several times, and watched the trailer after thinking to myself “that was a fairly well designed movie poster.” However, I kept telling myself that the title was too much of a mouthful for anyone to have a sudden desire to see, especially since there did not seem to be that much hype, even though it boasted strong protagonists Keira Knightley and Steve Carrell – two of my favorite actors. The movie starts off a bit on the rough end since the majority of the scenes used in the trailer are shown during the first portion of the movie. The Facebook page gives the following synopsis for the movie:

Set in a too-near future, the movie explores what people will do when humanity’s last days are at hand. As the journeys of Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley) converge, the two spark to each other and their outlooks – if not the world’s – brighten.

All rights reserved. No copyright infringement intended.

It definitely isn’t one of those action packed, obvious, in your face, go watch this now type of movies, but it definitely is a must see. It’s a cute story that I would recommend seeing if you’re looking for a movie that isn’t too sappy, scary, or action packed. Following the Godilocks model, it’s not too sappy, not too generically funny, but just the right combination of both.

Judgmental.

Maybe it’s because I’m actually Vietnamese or maybe I’m right, but I was definitely not fully satisfied with the dinner I had last night. I headed to Ya Ya on Guadalupe/37th St here in Austin to satisfy a pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) craving because I heard good reviews from my peers. Unfortunately, it was overpriced, and not the best pho I have ever had. For $6.95 + tax, which equals out to about $7.52, you are given a small bowl of meatball pho. As a person who ventures a lot of pho places, I can tell you that I have had better for a cheaper price.

What I did like about the restaurant was that it was clean and modern in design. A customer does not have to worry about any vermin crawling through cracks. It’s a fairly new-looking restaurant that is also conveniently located next to a Starbucks. Any college student can tell you that anything next to coffee is a good location.

Will I be returning for another meal any time soon? Probably not. Would I eat it if I had to? Yes. If you’re on a student budget and are craving some Vietnamese comfort food, head somewhere else, don’t come here. Actually, go hunt down a Vietnamese mother and have her make you a bowl filled with love 🙂

Shameless Plug.

Lookwib – The site is not yet in full access and one can only sign up for pre-access, but I think this start-up has great potential. Imagine if Amazon and Facebook had a baby, it would be Lookwib. I may be a bit biased because I’m one of their newest Social Media Marketing interns, but hey, shameless plug right? If you do sign up, please contact me, so I can put you down as a pre-access member that found out via yours truly. But seriously, it has great potential; I only apply effort towards projects I believe will have success.

Karlstad Cover Sofa Bed – I’m moving off campus into an apartment this fall, so lately I’ve been browsing furniture and home decor. Ikea is definitely my go-to destination for chic and affordable furniture. I found this bed for approximately $150 + tax and am highly considering purchasing it before I move into my apartment in August.

Kate Spade Wickford Collection – More home decor items that I am highly considering purchasing for the apartment. Of course I would include a Kate Spade item. I adore the company so much because of how simple and fun it is; plus, the founder is a strong business woman and I admire her and hope to embody similar principles one day.

Call Your Girlfriend Cover – These girls are beyond adorable and have phenomenal voices that seem to harmonize perfectly. At only 12 and 8, Lennon and Maisy probably have more talent than the majority of artists out there. Someone, please discover and sign them. We need more good, clean, fun artists in the industry.

Thunderbird Coffee, Austin – This is by far my most favorite coffee shop near campus. Thunderbird Coffee has great food, coffee, and atmosphere. I’ve been to two different locations and the baristas in both have been welcoming and can always help you decide on what brew to have for your current mood.

Above design made by CS 6 Adobe Illustrator.