Your name: Jo Walters
Your location: Brighton
What you do for a living: Social media, webby geek things & research for a Students' Union
How you know me – if you do: We got involved in the Students' Union as students then persuaded people to vote for us to become full-time elected officers
Q1: What do you think about advertising?
A1: I'm not as sceptical/terrified/angry about it as some of the people I know who think advertising = bad. I've studied advertising (and more broadly, marketing) which I guess gives me a different way of looking at things sometimes (though I'm not always sure how entirely useful that is). It is something I use in my work, it's something I get value from in life.
Q2: Which ads have you liked recently? Why?
A2: Totally loved the Cravendale thumb cats ad (sent it to friends, blogged about it, 'liked' it on Facebook). It was a bit silly, well made and featured cats. It had good social media stuff in place to which extended its value and lifespan. Talking of things going 'viral', after hearing about it loads online I finally watched the Old Spice 'the man your man could smell like' ad recently which I thought was great and also the sort of ad you could watch a few times without getting bored of it.
Q3: Can you remember any ads from the past? Which?
A3: I always wanted to be the first female Milky Bar kid... I remember when the Levis ads were really popular and everyone waited to see what they'd come up with next. I liked the Mac vs PC ads (mostly because I'd love to have/be a Mac but have/am a PC!)
Q4: In a sentence, and without googling!, describe what you think a brand is.
A4: How people perceive something so a person/company/organisation can have a brand. People think they control what their brand is but they can't, e.g. an electricity company might thin their brand conveys friendly, down to earth values but bad customer service can create all sorts of other (negative) associations with their brand for a customer. That is two sentences, I'm a rebel.
Q5: Which brands are you loyal to, or passionate about now? Why?
A5: Maybe it's not the exact question you asked but I'm really into handmade stuff and sites like Folksy & Etsy at the mo. Maybe it is more about being passionate about an approach and some sort of pseudo authenticity (and being a bit of a hipster). Generally I'm quite fickle and go for what I see as the best value but there are some that have a personality I like, most recently I've spotted Pieminister.
Q6: When was the last time you took advantage of an offer? Who and why?
A6: I sometimes use supermarket vouchers. My local Sainsburys prints vouchers after most transactions and I've noticed these are definitely more tailored to me than they used to be (linked to my Nectar card which tracks my previous purchases). In the past they've been rather random but the last three were for money off products I buy regularly. I also use vouchers from them and the Co-Operative for money off transactions over a particular amount though as I'm a frequent shopper but for low value transactions I don't often reach their thresholds
Q7: Do you think advertising and marketing is good for society?
A7: I think it can do great things such as charity advertising. I find the examples given in the book Nudge (and accompanying blog) fascinating as they try to use advertising and marketing to influence behaviour (in what they see as positive ways). I think marketing, in terms of understanding your customer and trying to make them happy, is a good thing. I don't think they're inherently good or bad things, it depends on the context.
Q8: Do you think advertising helps sway your opinion on whether to buy something or not?
A8: Definitely. Sometimes consciously, I might remember an advert for a product I want to try, and I imagine sometimes unconsciously.
Q9: If you worked in advertising, how would you do things differently?
A9: This is quite an uninformed observation but it sometimes seems like 'advertising', in the big agency sort of sense, isn't particularly diverse in terms of the people within it, e.g. largely middle class, white folks. Considering the population of the UK is increasingly diverse I wonder how many different viewpoints are being considered when creating advertising strategies. I don't know how I'd fix that in a meaningful rather than tokenistic point of view.
Q10: Would you like to ask the advertising industry any questions?
A10: How much of what you do do you think is art and how much is science? Also, please will you make more adverts with cats in