Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meet Erin : She Needs Your Input!

I haven’t had a chance to introduce myself yet, I’m Erin Deegan and I’m interning at Maple Creative this summer.


I live in an apartment in Huntington for school, and sometimes stay with my parents (Joe and Denise Deegan) in Cross Lanes for the internship. Gas is expensive, so I’ve been carpooling with them as often as possible (we all work within a couple blocks of each other in Charleston.)


I’m a senior at Marshall University majoring in Public Relations. I’ll be getting the coveted bachelors degree in December. I would have had it in May, but I changed my minor at the last minute… from photography to accounting. Quite the 360, don’t you think? I know it will be worth it in the long run, and I still practice photography on the side with a friend of mine (if you know anyone getting married give me a shout!)


Currently I am taking a summer class at Marshall, my last journalism/public relations course. It is Media Ethics, and we have a pretty giant paper/debate to write in one week. The topic is ADVERTISING. One side of the class has to argue that advertising shapes society, the other side has to argue that advertising mirrors what society already wants/thinks. My team has to say it MIRRORS. It should be interesting to write about, and challenging since most the research I’ve done has proven the SHAPE side.


What do you think? Does advertising shape or mirror our society? 

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Anonymous Bill said...

Definitely shape. Carrie Bradshaw drinks a Manhattan on the set of Sex & The City, the next thing you know they are being sold all across the world within days.

9:59 PM

Anonymous Ben said...

This probably won't help with your assignment, but the answer is: both.

6:59 AM

Blogger Adam said...

WOW! That is a tough one. I have never thought about it in that manner. On one hand you can look back through the ages and see how advertising shaped society. We still call those 1 hour weekday afternoon drama's "Soap Opera's" (even though some call it "my stories") because they were originally sponsored by companies promoting their soap and other cleaning products to housewives (and still are...) You still see kids wearing t-shirts with famous brand icons, like the Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Clean and the countless cereal characters. These images are a part of our life and helped define parts of our childhood (and still do today...)

But do we think they shape us, or is it a true reflection of what we already think/want? Maybe we let it shape us because it is what we want. We want nostalgia in every form, we want the comfort of remembering the fondness of our childhood and what better way to do that than through the Keebler Elves or Sonny the Cocoa Puffs bird.

Of course, there is more to advertising than brightly colored cartoon characters. I personally do not jump up and down and dance around like a shadow when I listen to my iPod, but the images you see in Apple's advertising makes you feel like you really want an iPod and really want to be that excited about your music. So, is that a mirror?

I would be interested to hear more about your research, as I would think that overall, traditional advertising is an extension of the media and DOES shape our society. Even though, some of what we see and hear is a mirror of our lives. The key to GOOD advertising is that it plays on emotions and pulls you in. What better way to do that than to give you what you already want to think and feel...

8:12 AM

Blogger PhotoJ said...

I have to go with shapes. Maybe at one time advertising mirrored society. Check out a recent entry on pixslyated:

I blogged on it yesterday too and received one comment so far, from another local blogger.


8:33 AM

Anonymous JJ said...

I think the innovative advertisers shape society. They are the ones who take the lead and chance. The advertisers who play it safe and wait to see how the public reacts are the ones who mirror society.

1:08 PM

Blogger Erin Deegan said...

Thanks for the input everyone! Lots of good points.

I will definitely be posting again once I've completed more research. This is truly an interesting topic!

9:11 PM

Anonymous Robin said...

Hello Erin and congratulations!

You noted that your team is focusing on demostrating advertisments "mirror" society. Indeed it does. Environmentally friendly products are a PERFECT example.

Left to their own devices, most consumers will select a product based upon value and price. However, as we become more aware of the need for conservation of energy and resources, along with reducing pollutants, more consumers demand environmentally responsible alternatives. The smart companies respond. Even the mighty General Electric is 'going green' to woo the market.

"You want green? We'll give you green! See how green we are! Buy our stuff, we're green!"

You will never have a perfect answer to your trick question.

The motivation of the seller plays a significant role in advertising. I doubt the producers of "Sex in the City" held stock in "Manhattans" when they chose that drink. HOWEVER, the clothing designers were trying to make a name for themselves and so were the sponsors. The show becoming such a hit magnified everything.

Laundry soap companies were responding to a growing desire to free-up time for the 'housewife' as the standards of living changed and our society moved away from it's agricultural roots.

Fuel is another good example. As the price of fuel increases, the demand for more efficient vehicles increase also. Automotive advertisements are shifting to show "our car gets great mileage" in response. Advertisers didn't create the fuel increase, they are responding to the changing demands of the consumer.

Hope this leads you to something worth using.

6:13 AM

Blogger Ann said...

Hi, Erin!
I think a small part of an argument you can make for mirroring is that individuals are the media, and individuals have their own thoughts, feelings and opinions that can't help but bleed through when they create something - making up a tiny bit of that mirror.
I also think a lot of tiny little things make up the big things, so something that small really an add up.
Go Herd!

10:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please thank your professor for the assignment. You will learn so much in exploring the many responses to the question of "shape" or "mirror" I'll be following your progress. Susan

2:03 PM

Blogger ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

Hi Erin,
It takes a huge bank account to be able to shape. A problem I see happening is that too many businesses try and shape when they should mirror. It is easier to tap into the emotions of the buyer buy relating to them where they are (mirroring) than it is to change their thinking and feeling (shaping).

I think the most successful shapers had both time and money. Most of my clients are local and I advise them to mirror more thAn shape.

2:50 PM

Blogger codepoke said...

Erin is my daughter's name, so you will be subjected to a comment from another dad. :-)

Advertising mirrors society, but with a funhouse mirror. Advertising works because it plugs into who I am, establishes a connection and trust with me, then says we'll be mutually happier if we buy something. It cannot do that by forcing me in a direction I don't want to go. It has to reflect something already in me, and already in society (since it works by numbers impressions.)

It exaggerates everything it reflects, though. Yes, I want to look younger, feel younger, be younger, but that's an wrinkle I can wink at and move on until advertising reflects the ease and benefits of spending a little money on youth. Suddenly, I'm seeing that little wrinkle in a funhouse mirror, and it's a cavernous indictment extending across my otherwise wonderful face. Then I look in my bathroom mirror, and sure enough I see what the funhouse mirror told me. And I look at my friends, and I see their wrinkles in a new light. The light advertising gave me.

Advertising reflects our weaknesses back to us, and tells us they matter enough to spend money on them. And advertising makes its case strongly enough to persuade us to spend money we had earmarked for other things. By showing us ourselves in high definition, advertising distorts our priorities and shapes our actions, but always by mirroring.

3:38 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Great topic! It's great to have you at Maple this summer.

You've received some wonderful input, advice and perspectives from

and Codepoke

Thanks everyone. What a fun conversation!


8:07 PM

Blogger Rick Lee said...

Oh wouldn't advertisers LOVE to be able to shape society. Advertisers put it out there and consumers react positively if they are already in the mood to. New products come and go with alarming regularity and the fickle public decides which few will stick around a while. I think that it's because the general public reacts like a herd that some people assume it's all because of the advertising, but really, I don't think any amount of advertising will convince the public to buy something that they weren't ready to buy anyway. Advertising just lets the masses know that something is available. A few years ago Proctor and Gamble made a huge push to sell the US public on toilet paper dispensers that provided moist and dry paper. Do you even REMEMBER that? A huge amount of money was spent developing that product and then trying to sell it. Fashion products are different of course, in that the manufacturers are advertising an intangible thing. But here again... in the 80s for instance, Izod Lacoste couldn't make those alligator shirts fast enough, but once the kids decided it wasn't cool anymore, no amount of advertising could change that.

1:46 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Thanks for your comment and for providing such excellent insight and perspective for Erin.


4:54 PM


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