Why is Diversity important in Advertising?

I just submitted my application to the AAF Most Promising Multicultural Student program for 2017, and man was that difficult for me! One of the portions of the application was entirely too significant for a 300 word entry. Why is diversity important in advertising? I really felt challenged to articulate my feelings, but after a lot of cliches, bad metaphors, and well-written bullsh*t, I finally found a way to say how I really felt. I’m sure in 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 years, I’ll have something entirely different to say. I wanted to capture it today so I have something to look back on.

Why is diversity important in advertising?

Advertising is no longer about identifying features and highlighting benefits. Consumers are reaching for brands that fit into their everyday lives. Our goal as advertisers is to help the audience visualize our brand fitting seamlessly into their homes, families, and lifestyles.

To show our brands integrated into the target’s lifestyle, our message has to be as authentic as possible. We have to prove that we understand how different and unique their consumer’s lives are. That means taking the risk and incorporating diverse characters, problems, and story lines when we share our brand story. Multicultural thought leaders see life through a different lens and can draw their unique backgrounds, cultures, and knowledge. If we can see the problem or the consumer lifestyle through their eyes, we can become better storytellers for our brand. .

Companies shy away from diversity in their advertising because they consider it risky. In a time where everyone is offended by everything, no one wants to be the controversial brand. I think that’s what makes advertising unique from sources like news and media outlets.

In our industry, diversity is more natural, familiar, is flexible to meet the consumer demand for authenticity. In the news and media however, the only conversations being had about diversity are alarming, painful, high intensity, and very hard to swallow. Instead of authentic, it is controversial. Diversity shouldn’t be controversial. It’s an integral part of our everyday lives, interpersonal relationships, and decisions.

Shying away from diversity creates a barrier between brands, minority audiences, and every other consumer whose lives are rich with diversity.  With a brand story exclusive of no one, our companies are one step closer to seamlessly fitting into their audience’s life. Companies that embrace this fact replace audience barriers with consumer relationships.


Dear Young Ad Student: 15 Strategy Terms You Can Never Be Too Familiar With

Dear Young Ad Student:

No matter what focus you choose to pursue, I urge you to develop skills across the different pathways. The best copywriters have to understand the basics of strategy. The best art directors and designers have to have a respect for the account management process. Media planners and buyers need to be familiar with the the brand’s PR efforts. Even a social media savant should be in tune with the research backing the campaign. Advertising is like a foreign language with many dialects. Anything you can do to be fluent will propel you forward in your career.

With that said, I wanted to share some Planning (also known as Strategy) terminology taught by the one and only Ron Taylor (Remember the 6 Segment Strategy Wheel?) These 15 terms  just might save your life in all the coursework to come. And of course, your careers as well!

  1. Creative strategy articulation – developing message strategy based on research
  2. Tactic – A tool used to achieve strategy, based on previously made objectives
  3. Tactic Evaluation – Reviewing to see if the tactics worked
  4. Context – Perimeters to help determine meaning of things and ideas in people’s lives. Context determines meaning.
  5. Ethnography – In depth study of culture and individuals within it
  6. Reality – There are two: Individual reality and Shared realities. Reality is socially constructed
  7. Bracketing Interview – Accounts for prejudices and biases
  8. Auto-driving – Interview extension, added at the end of an interview to drive discussion further.
  9. Interview guides – 3-5 main topics that keep you on track during the interview.
  10. Emic – Participant language (insider terms)
  11. Etic – Researcher language
  12. Grounded Theory – forming of theory AFTER reviewing data
  13. Insight – Patters/Ideas gleaned from observation and behavior
  14. Account Planning – Also known as strategy, began in England in the 1950’s to ensure the consumer perspective is considered in the qualitative data
  15. What activity matters most in planning? – LISTENING!

Total Greek to you? That’s ok! Just bookmark this and remember me when you take Dr. Ronald Taylor’s Account Planning class. If you don’t get the privilege to being his student, you can still hone in on the concepts he urges us to remember as we pursue our ad careers. If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I’ll help explain the best I can (or refer you to the professors who are way smarter than I am!)


Good Luck,

Senior Ad Student, Graduating in 7 months and 09 days.






Dear Young Ad Student: Love and Work

Dear Young Ad Student,

Choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.choose-a-job-you-love

I don’t know if Winston Churchill, Confucious, or Abraham Lincoln said it – but they never worked in advertising. It’s an encouraging notion , but I’m sorry to say, it’s a load of bologna. I’ve loved writing since the day I could hold a crayon. I’ve written poems, songs, research papers, complex proposals, blogs, brochures, TV scripts, and radi
o spots. I adore writing – I don’t care what.

All that said, I have worked damn hard to get where I am.

I’ve worked every day in intense coursework, agency internships, volunteer positions, and even trivial part-time jobs to pay for the textbooks I work hard to read. The moment I realized I wanted to become an advertiser, that was just the beginning. I am going to work hard every day until I retire from this industry.

That’s just how this industry works. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are or how much you love your field. Advertising is run by pistols, hustlers, go-getters, and fireballs. And it doesn’t just stop with working hard – you have to work harder than the agency beside you competing for your client’s time and attention. And the moment you let up, you fall behind.

Here’s the good news:

The harder you work, the easier it becomes. Your best work is always one step ahead of you, instead of miles. You stay on the brink of your most incredible achievement – you reach it. You celebrate. And you push forward towards bigger and better things.

Plus, you’re doing what you love. Nothing beats that.

Good Luck,

Senior Ad Student, Graduating in 7 months and 17 days.


Chasing Internships and Chasing God.


I’m going to have a lot of praises to sing when I finally get that phone call.

Many of you may know that I’ve invested months of time and tears into pursuing internships this upcoming summer. I’ve learned things about myself that I never realized- how ambitious, persistent, doubtful, and impatient I can be. I’ve found support in places I never expected and watched some cracks form in relationships I never expected. Every day, something new is revealed to me.

All I need now is an opportunity revealed to me, then maybe I can calm down.

I have to admit, I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing Advertising. Every night I pray for God to grant me peace and patience, then every morning I get up and hustle to make it happen. I’m watching the pieces fall into place, but I really need to step back and let God do His thing. In the meantime, I just plan on thanking Him every chance I get, for my drive, for my support system, for my opportunities so far. Maybe, He’ll stand a little closer to me if the news isn’t what I’d expected.

This is Easter weekend, and instead of spending the whole weekend on LinkedIn, updating my portfolio, and sweating over an empty inbox, I’m going to try to relax. My Dad reminded me that no matter what happens, it happened the way God had planned. I need to fuel my faith first, and let Him do what He does best. He will take care of me, even when it’s dark and bleak. Even when it seems hopeless – God is full of surprises. Like resurrecting Jesus and such.

Everyone have a wonderful Easter! I love you all!


The First Rule of “Being Too Damn Tall”

My name is Phoebe and today I did the unspeakable.

I’ve broken the first rule of “Being Too Damn Tall”.

I bought 2 inch heeled boots, I’m 6’1,

and I’m shameless.

The fact of the matter is, we’ve all got our insecurities.  And they aren’t all “being too shy” or “being too anxious”. Sometimes you can’t hide your insecurity way from the world and hope no one finds out. Sometimes, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Or a forehead in a crowd.


But some days you want to feel like the queen of the world… and the best way to be queen of the world is to be on top of it (or at least 2 inches above it) Hence – the most beautiful shoes I’ve ever owned.

You’ve got to embrace what makes you You. You’ve got to own what makes you beautiful. And sometimes, you have to drop $50 to help you – uh – overcome what makes you self conscious.

Or maybe make you a little more self – conscious.

(Like I’m pretty conscious about how great those boots match my coat)

Say fly dimes.












Thought of the Day: Be a Fountain.

be a fountain

“BE a fountain, not a drain. It’s a choice! A choice to: BE positive not negative. BE a giver not a taker. BE a creator not a destroyer. BE hopeful not hopeless. BE love not hate. BE grateful not thankless. BE selfless not selfish. BE a light not a shadow. BE a beginning not an ending.

-T Harv Ekert

Image: One Lucky Day

Spread Too Thin? Here’s the Secret:


August is upon us. Do you know what that means? No more procrastinating.  Hopefully your classes are scheduled and your term bill is squared away. Your laundry is clean and folded because if it’s not yet – you’re probably hopeless. And Oh Man. I really hope you have your internet access enabled soon because your Netflix misses you.

I unfortunately, have not, they are not, it is not.

I can however tell you,  I moved into an apartment last week and I finally have groceries AND a pot to cook it in. AND I just launched a big campaign for my internship. At least I know where my classes should be located, and that’s good enough for me. I’m surviving a major management change while keeping my hotel guests very happy.

Oh, and this week I’m watching 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a giant house. And hosting a yardsale  #HUSTLE

How have I not drowned yet?  Here’s the only reasonable conclusion I’ve come up.

Don’t half ass it. Dive in.  Any other time in my life, I would have skimmed the surface of all these responsibilities. Surely, there’s no way you could give 110% to all these overwhelming tasks. You just don’t have it in you.

But actually, you do.

Blackboard with chalk

It turns out, your determination doesn’t stop at 100%. You set the bar. You dive into every task on your plate. So what if you only have an inch, go deep. If you set your goal to “just get it done, even if that means doing a crap job”, that’s exactly what you’ll do. If you set your goal to “dominate everything. No retreat. No surrender. Take no prisoners. Show no mercy.” Guess what will happen.

Are you going to set yourself up for success? Or are you going to set your self up for halfassery? You may be spread thin, but you won’t run out. 

Polar Bear: Spirit Animal

If you know a single thing about me, you know that Polar Bears are my favorite animal. I don’t know what it is about them, so I thought I would do some digging. Here’s what I found from http://www.spirit-animals.com/polar-bear/.


If the Polar Bear has come to hold significant meaning for you…

The Polar Bear is reminding you how enormously strong and full of courage you are. He has come to help you stand up to your current challenges in life, no matter how intimidating they are. You will never be overwhelmed. Polar Bear also reminds you that you can thrive in environments that may be hostile to others.

You know how to use your own power. You are fierce and strong yet playful at the same time. You know how to pursue what you want deliberately and powerfully. You are not afraid to show aggressive behavior – however you use it for defensive purposes only rather than bullying your way through things. You are a good provider and you enjoy the responsibility of providing for others.

If Polar Bear has come into your Dream…

When Polar bear comes to you in a dream it signifies a reawakening within you. This aspect of yourself will defy adversity and reflect a fearlessness of never giving in to your problems. Alternatively Polar Bear may also reflect a person in your life that you can depend on to do the right thing. You have the ability to compromise nothing to negativity. Polar Bears in dreams are considered good omens.

Polar Bears in dreams often signify an improvement in your circumstances.

Additional Associations for Polar Bear…

  • Ability to navigate along the Earth’s magnetic lines
  • Introspection
  • Expert swimmer through emotional waters
  • Finding one way back from the brink
  • Strength in the face of adversity
  • Transformation
  • Defense and revenge
  • Strength in adversity
  • Endurance in situations
  • Can show how to tap into emotions with clairty

I love how spot on this description was. I love bears!

8 Questions God Wants Me To Ask Myself While The World Goes Mad


We know the news had a hidden agenda. We know conspiracy theories get mixed into the media. There are credible threats and non-credible threats and it’s hard to tell the difference. We know there are major changes in place for our country and that is scary.

We feel like we have to look over our shoulder constantly. Sometimes it feels like neighbor vs. neighbor with this war on racism, terrorism, violence, equality, international matters… who can you trust? We turn to prayer and news, news then prayer, prayer, rumor, fear. We want to validate this using that, explain that using this. Coincidence or God? There’ so much room for fear and speculation.

Someone close to me recently opened the door to this fear and doubt. In their mind, the End is coming. In fact, “God actually told him” and every scary news report is just confirmation. For the first time, I looked up the types of “prophecies being fulfilled” that he and millions of others have bought into. It’s scary stuff – I don’t believe it, but it is truly scary.

Here’s what I learned though. I can’t be Afraid. I can’t. We just can’t. We don’t have time to be consumed with what might happen next weekend. Why that happened last month. What could happen at the end of the year. Do Not Be Afraid. I’m not here to debunk the number of times it’s actually written in the Bible, but I know it’s implied with every word. And if Jesus said it once, that’s good enough for me. I can’t fear ISIS. I can’t fear being this race or that (or both in my case). I can’t fear a flag. I can’t fear the repercussions of two people in love.

There’s so much better ways I could spend this day God provided me. Here’s the things I feel God wants me to ask myself at the end of the day.

1. Did I choose Faith over fear today?

2. God gave me a heart Bursting with love and joy. Did I withhold it from anyone?

3. Did I allow preparedness to become panic?

4. In speaking with someone who disagrees with my opinion, was I kind or unkind? 

5. Did I speak as though I knew God’s plan (when I know it exceeds anything I can imagine?)

6. Am I trying to validate something scary to pretend I have control, or did I remember God has the control?

7. Knowing it’s hard to let go, Did I redirect my natural desire for control in a positive way or a negative way?

8. Did I talk with God about my concerns? 

These are not questions I ask, but they are questions I need to start asking. I feel myself slipping into a state of Why’s and What If’s, and I see others around me going there too. God doesn’t want us to be afraid, but that doesn’t mean he wants us making assumptions about his plan either. The only fear I want to have is Did I relish in this day God made with all the joy, love, and faith in my heart? Yes or No?

[Artwork: Banksy]

Dear Charleston


Dear Charleston.

My heart is boiling over for you. Not with anger, but with an overflowing love and concern. The morning after a man opened fire in my own church, I woke up with this nightmare replaying over and over in my head. It was like reality was drained right out of life and this alternate universe had taken over.

I can’t imagine knowing the doors swung open and the car drove off.
That makes my heart hurt so deeply – not having that sense of “it’s over now”.

Charleston. Where there is fear, there is twice as much love. You wait, in the coming days, you will see an outpouring like you’ve never imagined. It can’t return to you what was lost – all it can do is wrap tightly around you and hold you close. But you will be safe, warm, and loved, and you can heal.

God’s plan will completely astound you. Sometimes you want to turn away. Sometimes you want to plead for answers. Why Why Why. But if you save some room in your heart for faith, even when it seems consumed with fear, your walk with God will take you farther than you dreamed.

You have never been less alone.

Knoxville, TN