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Fear Factor

So you’re a little shier than your résumé may have others believe, and it’s your first day at an internship where you hope to someday get a job. This is a big deal and it can be a nerve-racking experience.

Throughout your first day you will experience a slue of emotions and intimidation may be one, but there is some good news. You will survive today and you will develop new skills while gaining the knowledge needed to succeed in this industry during your stay at Martino Flynn GreenHouse.

For most students and young professionals it can feel like your first big internship or job at a corporate company is a role that you need to prove yourself and your strengths in. This pursuit can feel like a sky-high pedestal that you have to jump onto, which takes a lot of balance.

You can gain stability by following one rule: just be yourself. It will give you a natural confidence and is the best way to get rid of the nerves from being in a new atmosphere.

At Martino Flynn there are a lot of staff members in several departments. Meeting the staff will make you feel more at home.

However, don’t feel that you have to meet everyone in one day. Focus in on a few members each day as you make your rounds at the agency. For the meek and intimidated this is your chance to push yourself and come out of your shell.

No matter what you accomplish on your first day, the confidence you project by staying true to yourself will help lay the path for success in this experience. When you get to the end of your first day, you will be a little less nervous and a little more prepared for the next.

After all you’re in GreenHouse, and it’s all about all about growth.

Esurance: Insurance for the Modern World

You may recall auto-insurance provider Esurance’s national TV advertisments involving Erin, the animated, pink-haired spy, usually pitched in combat with other cartoon thugs, robots, aliens – all the while communicating (or trying to, at least) the various benefits of getting a quick, online quote from Esurance.

Seth Stevenson from called one of Esurance’s older ads “The Most Confusing Ad on Television,” attributing this status to its wild setting (a football game in outer space against robots), distracting animation, and overall inability to deliver any message related to car insurance.

In 2010, Esurance partnered with the local San Francisco agency Duncan/Channon to redevelop the Esurance brand to be more modern, friendly, and approachable. The result of this partnership was new actor-portrayed TV spots featuring friendly office workers playfully bantering back and forth over a variety of insurance topics, highlighting Esurance’s convenience and touting “Technology when you want it, people when you don’t.”

On October 7th, 2011, Allstate officially completed its acquisition of the San Francisco-based auto insurance provider Esurance.

Then more recently, on December 22, 2011, Esurance launched a new integrated ad campaign around the concept “Insurance for the Modern World”.

The campaign (including television, cinema, in-flight, online video and streaming radio among other media) will debut on CBS during the 1:00 p.m. NFL game on December 24.

The campaign is the result of a new partnership with Esurance and the prominent Chicago-based advertising agency Leo Burnett (Co.).  One of the new ads will feature a John Krasinski (Jim, from The Office) voice-over narrative, which should be instantly recognized by most television viewers. It will also feature Chet Atkins’ Grammy Award-winning song, “Jam Man”.  Another ad highlights the numerous promises made by other car insurers and suggests that Esurance is better positioned to save consumers money because it was “born online, raised by technology, and majors in efficiency.”

Esurance Chief Marketing Officer John Swigart explains, “The campaign brings a fresh voice to an incredibly crowded category. We think consumers are tiring of the escalating silliness of many car insurance commercials, many of which focus solely on price”…”we deliberately chose a voice and feel that contrast with the atmosphere we’ve seen in some recent car insurance ads. We think the new campaign shows that Esurance is the ideal company for insurance ‘do-it-yourselfers’ and invites them to take a fresh look at Esurance when they next shop for car insurance.”

To me, Esurance seems to be improving their campaigns as time goes on. Erin the insurance spy was a good ploy to create an immediately-identifiable corporate icon, but it fell short in terms of coherence to the insurance industry. The actor-portrayed office skits were not really any more humorous, but the ambiance they exuded was much less frenetic, and much more approachable. Those ads also helped to establish Esurance as more than just an automated online quote service, promising the customer at least some human contact if he/she so desires. These ads were lacking innovation, however, and to me they felt as if they were produced by the same company that produced recent Progressive ads (featuring an actor portrayal of a quirky insurance peddler named “Flo”). They focused on short, witty scripts designed to make the customer feel comfortable with the (actor-portrayed) people who work at these companies, giving an industry like car insurance a more human touch.

I predict companies like Esurance will experience growth over time as more industries convert to an “a la cart” style of offering their products and services. Do-It-Yourselfers will reject the necessity of a personal insurance agent, and will look to Esurance to provide insurance without a “middleman.” Also, as the Internet plays a more instrumental role in all of our lives, I expect companies who use the capabilities of the Internet to their advantage will experience growth over companies who cannot reach the demographic of educated, Internet shoppers.

But what do you think? Is Esurance making a mistake by changing its campaigns so often? Does it make it harder for consumers to identify the brand? And now that Esurance is openly advertising the fact they are a subsidiary of Allstate, how will that affect brand image?

Only time will tell if this new campaign will convince consumers that Esurance is ready to be a major competitor like its parent company, and whether or not it will establish an image as “insurance for the modern world.”



Inside GreenHouse Mad Men Photo Shoot

What goes on in an advertising agency? And where do interns fit in? Most people may be unsure of all the inner workings of an agency. Thus, when we were faced with the issue of marketing ourselves as interns, we wanted to give a simple impression. We are truly a family here and wanted to give a sense of wholeness. We all bring something different to the table, but work together as a team.

Mad Men has been a rising sensation for some time now and while it may be a bit more glamorous than real-world agencies, it gives a good overview of all the roles that agency workers take on (and who doesn’t want to dress up like it’s 1960!). While I am a production/operations intern, I am a photography major at RIT and thus took on the job of taking portraits of each of us. I did a lot of research on Mad Men promotions and tried to get everyone to dress appropriately. While we only did headshots, I wanted to give a sense of a boardroom, hence the wooden background. For the lights, I stuck to a beauty dish as my main light, with another light bouncing off the wall to add some fill on the opposite side. The effect was the perfect blend of moody, but professional.

The best part was getting all of my “models” to cooperate. For most, this was their first time being photographed “professionally” and thus being photographed without smiling. This resulted in a lot of fun outtakes and giggles that caused some curiosity about what were doing. After working with each model to get just the right look, I had Chelsea (PR Intern) snap my picture and that was a wrap! However, as most know, that is never really the end. I then took the shots into Adobe camera raw and gave them a nice old-fashioned duo-tone look. I then added some design modeled after actual Mad Men portraits. Finally, we gathered some personal information about each of us along with our favorite Mad Men quote, which were then put into a spread layout for each intern. Check out the final product  on our Facebook!

p.s. – If you haven’t already seen the show, we all would highly recommend that you do! It’s an interesting look into our world AND an awesome story line.



Apple & Google +: In a Race for Mindshare

Have you ever seen the movie Ocean’s 11?  Do you remember the first time in the movie that you are introduced to Virgil and Turk Malloy?  If not, take a look at the clip here.

What you’ll see is Virgil with his remote controlled car challenging Turk, who is driving in a monster truck, to a drag race.  Do you know what this scene reminds me of?  The epic battle between Facebook and Google+ has amazing parallels to the race between the Mormon bank robbers featured in the movie.

Let’s analyze Google+ first.  Much like Virgil’s remote controlled car, it has many entertaining and unique features that have the potential to win this race.  Google learned from their last failed attempt Wave, that exclusivity (at least in the beginning) matters.  To join Google+, users must be invited by a current Google+ user.  As Eduardo Saverin’s character in The Social Network said about Facebook, “People had the ability to invite or not invite their friends to join.  In a world where social structure is everything, that was the thing.”

Of course, Facebook has now moved away from exclusivity, but we will touch on them later.  Back to Google+ and some of the neat features that make it an interesting prospect.  Google+ wants its claim to fame to be a feature known as circles.  It seemingly solves all of the security issues that have troubled Facebook.  When it comes to circles, users can share certain information with that “circle” of people.

If you’d like to talk about a family event coming up, then you can share it with just your family.  Planning a college get together?  Share it with people in your dorm.  Information will not reach everyone but it will reach the right people.

Google+ also claims that their “Hangouts” feature brings value that Facebook’s new video calling feature does not (more on this Facebook later).  Hangouts are, more or less, video conferences that can include up ten people.  I haven’t tested it out yet but it sounds intriguing.  As I was planning this blog, one thing that kept popping in my head is, do people really want to be able to chat with that many people at once?

Is Google+ the next big thing?  Do people like it?  Here are two tweets from friends of mine that are on the network:





So, it has potential and it’s more of a wait and see.  Back to the Malloy’s race, imagine now that we are at :43 in the clip, where Virgil is laughing because he got a head start on Turk.  Google+ is laughing because they have some new features that could blow them away.

Now watch the rest of the clip.  Turk swerves his monster truck into Virgil’s lane, effectively ending the race by destroying the remote controlled car.  Is this going to happen with Facebook continuing their dominance in the social sphere?  What a public relations move by Facebook: announcing that they were joining forces with Skype and creating a video chat application for Facebook.  That in and of itself is not a great move, but the timing of the announcement was.

Wasn’t it convenient that Facebook announced their newest feature around the same time that Google+ wanted to make their big splash?  It’s said that on Twitter, Mark Zuckerburg’s announcement was trending over Barack Obama’s speech that was getting questions through Twitter.

But will Facebook continue to steam roll?  That remains the question.  Will Google+ and its new features be the first legitimate threat to the social networking giant?

More importantly, will Zuckerburg have a creepy laugh like Turk?