To Plant or Not to Plant Hemp that is the question…

With 2019 behind us, we need to decide what the plan is for 2020. Unfortunately, we do not have 20/20 vision on this. The Hemp industry is uncertain at best. So many factors are uncertain at this time. When you look at the PEST analysis, you would quickly see all factors say that Hemp might not be a good investment. The laws are uncertain at this time. Smokable Hemp bans appear to be in the horizon. The economy is in upheaval due to COVID 19. Socially, Hemp has become more accepted. Hopefully, technology will work in the Hemp industries favor. With easier testing, law enforcement could distinguish hemp from marijuana. Cheaper processing of CBD Oil might help with profit and sales of the oil. All this and still, to plant or not to plant is the question on many Hemp farmers mind.

Reviewing 5 Magazine Print Ads

by Tina Jones

Ad #1 


McDonald’s celebrated the 40th anniversary of the happy meal with a series of print ads that were designed to capture the relationship between a child and the McDonald’s Happy Meal.  The iconic golden arches showing the energy of the child and the red box drawing attention to it letting the child forget everything else. I think that the ad accomplishes this. 

This ad was created by Flock Agency in 2019. 

The target customer of this ad would be children or parents.  The action that the ad wants you to take is to buy the product.  If you buy this product for yourself or your child, it might take you back to being a kid.  The value proposition of this ad is the feeling you might get when buying this product that is a test of time.  I know that I eat Happy Meals all the time. They take you back to your younger days. Many people will see this ad and think of a timeless classic.

AD #2

This is a NIKE ad for print.  This ad was published in March 2020. This ad was designed with Covid-19 in mind.  This is an ad of encouragement. In a time when many young people are practicing social distancing confined to their home, this ad gives them promise that this is for a good cause, the World.  

The target for this ad would be active people, young or old.  Nike has always been a company of compassion for causes. The cause that they are promoting is staying inside.  By staying away from the public you are protecting the spread of germs. This ad would be hard to measure. I do think that the value proposition is building loyalty.  Being loyal to the brand of Nike because Nike cares about the world. 

AD #3

In the Air

This ad was created by interTrend Communications in 2017.

The ad is for the 2017 RAV4.  This ad cleverly promotes this car as being fun and adventurous.  I think that it is targeting consumers that like fun, snazzy styling and are safety conscious.   The ad captures your attention with its pretty colors. The hope is that you would read the fine print which talks about its spaciousness and safety.  The value added to the product with this commercial is a bit of adventure with every purchase. This ad could be measured by looking at sales made during the promotion of this ad.

The ad won the Creative Campaign of the Year award.  

Ad #4

Unsuspecting Prey

This ad was for AARP.  This ad is designed to bring awareness to the fact that there are scams out there. The target market for this ad would be the people that read the AARP magazine and other print in the senior age bracket.  When we look at the picture, we would instantly think of a senior citizen. The title lets us know without reading another word that the ad is hopefully going to tell us how to avoid being unsuspecting prey.   I think that it is interesting that the exact ad was done in two different languages. Many ads that AARP serve as public service announcements. The value proposition of these ads is protection. I get the AARP magazine and think that the value of their ads go way beyond the monetary value. 

Ad #5

Heinz Hot Ketchup

This ad is for Heinz Hot Ketchup.  The ad is simple, but the message is clear.  This ketchup is hot. You can see the burnt fry with smoke going up. The label is in the bottom corner with the logo staying true to its branding.  Heinz has been around so long that it has instant recognition. This ad would catch the attention of the target market that likes a little pizazz in their food.  This ketchup will make anything a little hotter. The value proposition is just that…..Make it hot. I love a little hot sauce on my fries. This just saves you from having to mix the hot sauce in your ketchup. I liked this ad because of its simplicity.

5 Interesting TV Commercials

TV Ad #1

Share a Coke 1,000 Name Celebration  2018

Agency Fitzco//McCann, Atlanta, USA

This ad was designed to let the consumers know that the names were back on the Coke bottles.  There were over 1,000 names with a song written about each of them. Coke paid songwriters to create these songs for every name on their bottles.  I found the Edward song which was very catchy. This ad won at every major award show.  

The objective of this ad was a new way to let the consumer know that the names were on the back of the bottles and to encourage consumption over the summer.  Will Benham was the copywriter and Creative Director for this undertaking which was the idea of Sherman Winfield and James Beikmonhamadi. This ad was not only successful in selling the product but spreading the word about Coke on social media. 

Millennial consumers (1980-2000) were targeted by this name campaign.  The thought was that when you pass by a Coke product and see a familiar name you would be more likely to buy it and even share it with a friend.  Personalization and customization appeal to the millennial consumer. 

This ad was designed to create the action of buying the product and even sharing your song or a picture of the product on social media.  They created “your” Coke. They even created a website that you can get personalization done for yourself or a wedding.  

I think the value proposition of this commercial is the special feeling that you get when you see something personal to you.

TV Ad #2

EGAMI Group 2018

Multicultural Excellence Award/African American Category

Proctor & Gamble introduced the My Black is Beautiful is a series of TV ads created by BBDO New York to show conversations that parents have with their children about  the prejudices and bias that may be faced in life. This ad evokes the emotional response that we all feel if we have been a victim of prejudice. 

The ad spoke volumes in regards to Proctor and Gamble’s feelings on prejudice and bias.  While the ad does not feature a product, it features a feeling of acceptance. I feel that the ad generates awareness of the wholeness of the brand.  A brand that accepts all people. The brand wants to encourage conversations between people of all backgrounds and lead to positive change. 

You may think the target market for this ad is black families.  I think the target market goes deeper than this. This ad impacts all people that have experienced prejudice.  I think we all have felt bias at some point in our life. This ad speaks to us. You are the best, beautiful person that there is.  

The action this ad should evoke is talking about how you feel.  Have serious conversations with others letting them know its OK to be you. “Be yourself; everyone else is taken”, a quote from Oscar Wilde sums it up.  We are all unique and beautiful.

I think that the product gains its value proposition from its sincere sentiment.   This ad definitely creates brand awareness. I would be tempted to use Proctor & Gramble products just by knowing how they feel about people.

Ad # 3


Most Creative Use of Sound/Music

Radio Mercury Awards, 2019


This ad is a musical rendition slamming their competition.  This ad is capitalizing on social media. The ad was definitely original.   The mix-tape is a rap referring to some of the negative things about their competition.  This ad is targeting Millenials as the lyrics are hip with current slang. Being a generation X, this ad did not appeal to me.  I actually thought it was obnoxious. I think the objective of this ad is awareness of the product. The ad may have some responding on social media and sharing their interest in the product.  As far as the value proposition, the ad would make you think that possibly Wendys is better than McDonald’s or Burger King. this ad 

AD #4

Johnson & Johnson/Motrin


Multicultural Excellence Award 2017

Grand Prize Total Market category

This ad was very inspirational.  The woman featured in the ad was in pain. The journey followed her through overcoming pain and having a life.   Motrin was not mentioned in the ad until the end. The ad held your attention until the end so you were able to see that Motrin helped this woman overcome pain.  The #WomanInProgress Motrin is featured at the end of the commercial. 

The object of this ad was to let people know that pain does not define you.  I think that they created this ad so that you would go out and purchase Motrin.  I think that is could be measured by the sales during this ad. They are targeting people in pain.  This ad would touch anyone that’s life has been impacted by pain. The value you that this ad gives to the product goes beyond money.  This ad will evoke the need for a quality life therefore I think people will go out and purchase this product.

AD #5

Goya Foods

More Than One Flavor

Award/ Multicultural Excellence Award 2018

This ad is about Goya Mojo criollo marinate.  This ad is about a marinate with a lime taste for all kinds of meat.  The ad is bringing awareness of the product to the public. The marinate may be traditionally used by the Hispanic culture but the ad features all nationalities.  The ad quickly answers the question, will the kids like it? The target market would be anyone who has not heard of this, but I really think that this ad is about targeting families with kids.

The ad is designed for convincing you to add it to the grocery list and try it.  I think that the value proposition is the unique flavor this 30-second ad describes.  A quick little advice from the griller on how to use it only tempts us to go get some to try. 

Book Review Week 2

Understanding Michael Porter The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy

This week’s reading was about competitive advantage and profit and loss.   I have always viewed competitive advantage as being what you or your company did better than everyone else that set you apart.  According to the book, it is about creating superior value. It’s about operating at a lower cost or demanding a higher price to demand the most profit.  

When trying to determine or measure competitive advantage you must compare it to like companies within the same industry.  Compare companies that face the same five forces in the same industry. To truly understand the competitive advantage you must understand the activities that your company performs.  These activities include producing, designing, selling and delivering. These are all part of the value chain. The value chain is how you create value in your product from start to customer or consumer.  You look at each step in the value chain as adding value to the final product. The way your company looks at these steps is what can set you apart from your competitors. You may be able to perform a step the same as the competitor at a cheaper price or do the step better at the same price.  Porter refers to performing a task better than your rivals operational effectiveness. 

The company’s value chain is all of its value-creating and cost-generating activities.  These activities are the basic units of competitive advantage. As we look at our own business, it is important to examine all the activities and possibly do them differently than our rivals, do them cheaper than our rivals, demand a higher price than our rivals, and be unique. 

Magretta, J. (2012). Understanding Michael Porter: the essential guide to competition and strategy. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Review Press.

Book Review Week 1

Image result for image of understanding michael porter

Understanding Michael Porter The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy

The main take away that I have from chapter one of this book is that strategic competition means choosing a path that is different from the others.  Instead of trying to be the best, companies should be competing to be unique. Uniqueness in the value you create for your business can give you a competitive edge.  According to Michael Porter, the right mindset for the competition is to earn higher returns, profits, meet the diverse needs of your customers and compete by innovation. 

Porter’s five forces:

  • Rivalry among existing competitors
  • The threat of new entrants
  • Bargaining power of buyers
  • The threat of substitute products or services
  • Bargaining power of suppliers

These five forces tell you immediately how the industry works and how it creates and shares values.  It explains the industry’s profitability. I find this true in my research of the hemp industry. As I work on my situational analysis, I find that Porter’s five forces will help me realize the profit potential in this industry.  As we all know, profit is important.

Magretta, J. (2012). Understanding Michael Porter: the essential guide to competition and strategy. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Review Press.

Book Review Marketing Research Kit for Dummies by Michael R. Hyman, Phd

Image result for image of Marketing Research Kit for Dummies

If you are in business, marketing research is an essential part of being successful. If we do not know who are target market customers are, we will not know how to reach them. We also need to realize why we are doing the marketing research. Do you want to understand your customer better? If we understand what products our customers prefer and why the purchase, we can market better to them? If you are having problems with your business or product, market research can uncover these issues and allow you to fix them and have a strategy to recover.

Part I of this book outlines the Stages of Research.

Stage 1:  Identify the problem

  • Ascertain your objectives
  • Understand the problem background
  • Isolate/Identify the problem not the symptoms
  • Determine the unit of analysis
  • Determine relevant things to ask about
  • Translate marketing problem into researchable objectives

Stage 2:  Designing the study

  • Types of questions
  • Data source
  • Can you get accurate answers by simply asking people?
  • How quickly is the information needed?
  • How should survey questions be worded?
  • How many questions should be asked?

Stage 3:  Selecting a Sample

  • Is the sample necessary?
  • Can the target population by identified?
  • How accurate must the sample be? 

Stage 4: Gathering the data

  • Who will gather the data?
  • How long with it take to gather the data?

Stage 5:  Analyzing the results

  • Will standard editing and coding be used?
  • How will data be categorized?
  • What data analysis software will be used?

Stage 6:  Communicating the findings

  • Who will read the report?
  • Will presentations be required?
  • What format will the report be in?

As you can see, there is much to consider when creating marketing research for your business. These are just a few of the questions you must ask yourself as you journey through the stages of market research. We must also consider the cost, time-frame and our abilities when creating our market research plan. I look forward to reading more in this book. Stay tuned as I will be back with more information from the Market Research Kit for Dummies.

Hyman, M. R., & Sierra, J. J. (2010). Marketing research kit for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

A Little Marketing Fun with Radio Ads

Radio Ad #1

I love all Progressive Insurance commercials.  I think that this commercial entitled “Elk Country” is very funny.  This ad aired in 2019.  The ad was created by Arnold Worldwide.  The chief creative officer is Icaro Doria.  One of the main reasons to have a commercial is to entice the consumer to listen to it and remember your business.  In this case, Karen’s camper sewage tank is spewing all over her camper.  She is screaming and they compare it to a bull elk. 

The commercial successfully tells what the company does.  You will remember it because the commercial is so off the wall.  While there is no time frame on this ad, the ad encourages you to call today.  This ad also emphasizes that Progressive will cover even the strangest claims.  Since there was not a time frame, measuring the success of this ad through sales might be difficult. 

The target customer for this ad would be outdoor travelers.  I think this ad would appeal to campers and travelers.  I also think that the uniqueness of the ad will bring brand awareness to all.

The ad encourages you to call today to get insurance from Progressive Insurance.  I interpret the ad as insurance that covers the unexpected.  If you get Progressive Insurance you will not have to worry about paying to fix the crazy, odd events that can come your way.

Awards are given for this ad:

D & AD Awards Graphite Pencil Award

Radio Mercury Award 2019

Radio Ad #2

This ad was created by The Richards Group and won the Best Radio Commercial 2019.  It is a funny take on the current trend of vocal fry.  Tom Bodett is the famous Motel 6 voice in the commercial.  The writers of this commercial were Wendy Mayes and Chris Smith.  This commercial, like all of Motel 6 commercials emphasize the low price and the availability.

The target customer for this ad is someone looking for a place to stay at a low price.  The ad is consistent with the usual Motel 6 ads.  The ads mention the low price and that they will leave the light on for you.

Radio Ad #3

Her Man Can Do It

This ad is for Herrmann Services which provides services for heating, AC, electric or plumbing. In 30 seconds this commercial is quick to tell you that whether you have a pipe burst or problems with your heating or cooling you can call “her man”. 

The target market for this commercial is anyone that does not have the skills to do the repairs.  You would think that the target market is women but Audrey is trying to tell the narrator that her husband can’t do the repairs.  This radio ad even supplies the number and website for easy contact. 

The value proposition of this ad is the service that can be provided by this company.  This company can handle multiple household problems. In addition to being effective in getting you to listen to it with its catchy spin on the name, you have the companies telephone number and website address by the end. 

This commercial was awarded the Best Radio Station Commercial and was produced by Hubbard Radio Cincinnati.

Radio Ad # 4

Glad Force Flex Odor Shield garbage bag

This ad features a catchy song.  The song is about the tolls and turmoil of a trash bag.  It is funny and makes you think of possible accidents you could have with a subpar garbage bag.  I think the objective of this ad is to get you thinking of the quality of the Glad garbage bag.  The song emphasizes the new features which are Odor Shield and Force Flex.  This ad’s target market would be broad.  This bag would be for anyone that wants a great smelling bag that is durable against tearing.  The ad even mentions recycling.  I think that this ad would have you seeking out this bag at the retailer.  The value proposition on this bag is made clear by the commercial, durable and odor resistant.

This ad won the Best Student Produced Spot award given by Radio Mercury Awards 2019. It was created by the Miami Ad School.

Radio Ad # 5

This quick 30-second ad won the Best Radio Station Commercial.  It was created by Entercom communications.  The product featured in this ad is pest control.  The ad gives you an image of a raccoon in the attic eating your wiring. I think it is funny, but it could provoke fear in some people. The company that is being advertised is Allied Termite and Pest.  This ad aired in 2018.  This ad is designed to quickly give you an image of one of the problems this company could solve for you.  I think the ad is designed to get you to call immediately because the telephone number is supplied.  The ad is memorable enough that you would possibly remember the company and call later.  The target market for this ad would be people that do not have the expertise to catch wild animals or pests.  This ad may be short but the value proposition is clear.  This company offers quality professional skilled technicians for pest removal. 

Week 8 Book Review

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

As I wind up my review of this book, I reflect on the general theme to be a strong CEO and not give up. This weeks reading discusses evaluating the CEO. Being a CEO requires a varied set of advanced skills. Some of these skills come naturally and some are learned. When evaluating a CEO, you want to ask the following questions:

Does the CEO know what to do? This includes matters of personnel, financing, goals, and marketing.

Can the CEO get the company to do what she knows? Can she lead her company to execute her strategy? One of my favorite passages in the book was this paragraph.

“In a well-run organization, people can focus on their work (as opposed to politics and bureaucratic procedures) and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen both for the company and for them personally. By Contrast, in a poorly run organization, people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries and broken processes.”(Harowitz, 2014)

The CEO must be help accountable. The CEOs position is constantly evolving with the change of the economy and the size of the company. There are so many factors that can change the company so the CEO may have to change with it.

Horowitz, Ben. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. , 2014. Print.

Week 7 Book Review

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

Ben Horowitz writes of the hardest things about being a CEO.  He said that the most difficult thing is to manage your own psychology. He says that hiring, firing, product and organization design are straightforward skills.  

One problem is that to learn to be a CEO, you have to be a CEO.  No amount of training prepares you for the job. Even if you know what you are doing things will go wrong.  As CEO, you will feel responsible for everything and anything that will go wrong will be your fault. A mistake that most CEOs make is taking things too personally or not taking things personally enough.  According to Harowitz, a CEO will be urgent yet not insane. They will move aggressively and decisively without feeling emotionally culpable. They will need to separate the importance of the issues with how they feel about the issue.  The author advises that to calm your nerves as a CEO, you should get some friends, put your thoughts on paper not carry them around in your head, and focus on the road, not the wall. Don’t focus constantly on what can go wrong. Focus on where the company is going rather than what you hope to avoid.  Many times CEOs feel like quitting. Many have trouble with not sleeping, drinking, and stress. Harowitz says most CEOs have different strategic moves but most just say “I didn’t quit”. 

Harowitz explains that there are two kinds of CEOs. He labels them as ones and twos. The ones spend time gathering information, love making decisions, but get bored with the important execution details of running a company. The twos love making the company run well. They insist on super clear goals and love action. Big decisions worry twos more that ones. The best CEOs have a combination of traits for ones and twos.

The author points out that there is no perfect CEO. The most important attribute is leadership. Three key traits of a leader are the ability to articulate the vision, the right kind of ambition, and the ability to achieve the vision.

Horowitz, B. (2014). The hard thing about hard things: Building a business when there are no easy answers.

Week 6 Book Review

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

Good management is key to running a successful business.  As a CEO, Manager or business owner you do not want to get caught up in office politics.  Some managers do not even realize that they are guilty of it. They have an employee come to them soliciting a raise. They end up giving this employee a raise to keep them from leaving only to have others hear about it and do the same thing.  The only employees left out might be your best employees. Ben Horowitz spells out his two key techniques for minimizing politics.

  • Hire people with the right kind of ambition.  The right kind of ambition is an ambition for the company’s success with the employee’s success coming as a by-product of the company’s victory. 
  • Build strict processes for potentially political issues and do not deviate.  These activities include:
    • Performance evaluation and compensation
    • Organizational design and territory
    • Promotions

Horowitz advises to carefully word job titles and manage promotion.  He suggests defining a formal process for all promotions. Have a promotions council, make promotions unilateral, and compare the employee with both the level’s skill description and other employees to determine whether to approve the promotion.

The author sums it up perfectly.  If you structure things properly, nobody other than you will spend much time thinking about titles other than an employee of the month (Harowitz, 2014).  

Horowitz, B. (2014). The hard thing about hard things: Building a business when there are no easy answers.