Tag Archives: Advertisement

HIGH Quality Sign Advertising

Before I get into this topic, I’d like to start with a story (STORY TIME!).  After a long day of work, I stopped by the dispensary to grab some medicine.  While heading close, I drove RIGHT past the turn I was supposed to go.  “Damn it!”, I thought.  I was too excited about checking out the new place that I didn’t make the right turn.  It wasn’t until heading back the right way that I noticed these two small signs dug into the ground.

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These signs were decorative in their colorful advertising, but they barely caught my eye at all.  I’ve passed by millions of billboards and sign advertisements in my life because of their magnificent size and intriguing messages.  Signs need to have some important message plus a decorative background if they ever want to capture the audience’s attention (Drivers BARELY have a minute to even look at your sign let alone understand the message!).

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This was something I had to ask about.  After finishing up my purchase, I casually asked if they thought about creating bigger signs for their store.  Their response?  The sign can’t increase in size due to town/state regulations for advertising cannabis.

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Let’s take a minute to process this answer – town/state regulations, not due to lack of creativity or productivity, are what preventing audience’s awareness of the medical dispensary.  We can provide lots of billboards or sign advertising for alcohol, yet cannabis still gets shooed away from the spotlight.  Looks like Rudolph can’t be joining any reindeer games (too early for Christmas, I KNOW!).

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But seriously folks, this poses a serious problem for the advertising community.  All the Don Drapers and Peggy Olsons won’t be able to create the best signs and billboards for the cannabis industry.  I’m not saying we need a huge billboard sign over the highway, but it has to attract the most attention in the best way possible.  Here’s some recommendations that other signs should follow:

10 Feet Per Inch Rule

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A good rule of thumb for letters in signs is 10 feet per inch of letter height.  One letter that is 9 inches would be readable for drivers seeing it at 90 feet.  The higher the letter inch, the more distance it will tap into within its designated area.  More distance means more foot traffic will become aware of your billboard or sign.  How else can you expect potential customers to check out your so-called “strain of the week” if they don’t see the sign while driving?

Color the Sign

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Signs need to be COLORFUL and utilizing the right colors will attract drivers’ attention.  Whether it’s a basic white and black combo or a combination of primary colors, presenting the message with a nice background will make it much more appealing.  Put in the wrong color mix for your messages and your audience will be completely turned off because they can’t even read it.  Coloring that white space of nothing the right way determines whether your sign or billboard advertisement was successful.

HIGH Height

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Patients are looking for where the HIGH-quality medicine is, so the sign needs to be HIGH enough for them to find (get it? Signs HIGH enough to find HIGH quality cannabis?).  If they don’t see the sign or billboard, then no attention has been caught and they will keep driving.  Driving requires a lot of hand-eye coordination and attention, so audiences barely even have time to even see your sign let alone actually stop and read it.  Rather than having it dug onto the cold cemented ground, your sign has to spring HIGH enough so that the driver sees it through their window (I can’t stop with these weed puns today!).

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So there you have it — correct letter size, colorful backgrounds, and a tall height are some tips for creating a great sign or billboard advertising.  Attracting driving audiences can be very tricky since they are too busy driving to their next destination.  Capturing potential audiences during their daily errands is a clever advertising tactic that works IF you create the right sign! With these helpful tips, I’m sure you’ll create your own magnificent sign/billboard for your cannabis dispensary or whatever role you play in this booming industry.




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So other than American Horror Story rolling out their new season in the fall (which I have some REAL juicy updates about for later!), the other amazing series that’s coming back is Stranger Things!  The nostalgic sci-fi 80’s themed Netflix show will be back for its second season where we see what lies next for the kids.  Teasers/trailers have been promoted all across the social media platforms; but the real talk of the town lies within the newest poster.

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Netflix unveiled their newest poster for Stranger Things season 2, which will air on October 27th.  The poster depicts the gang (Dustin, Eleven, Will, and Lucas) on their bikes in an endless road as the watch the sky turn to chaos.  As the sky turns demonic red, a new monster is spurring out from the darkened clouds.  Beneath the clouds sheds a myriad of colors from a light bright orange to a midnight blue.  All we know for sure is that the gang will heading back to the upside-down world next season!

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Rather than ponder about the clues for the next season, I really couldn’t stop thinking about how amazingly creative this poster was!  One of my favorite features has to be that spread of colorful light underneath the demonic-red clouds.  That endless road dividing the line really captures that symbolism between light and dark.  It’s interesting how closely it resembles the retro 80’s movie posters.  Whatever the advertising pros were drawing up for the promotions, they definitely hit the nail on the head (they deserve a free round of drinks for how AMAZINGLY AWESOME the poster looks!).

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Stranger Things was a whole new nostalgic-80s idea I really got into last year.  As short as the first season was, it definitely grabbed my attention from the start.  It really is a great nod to how they advertised movie posters during the 80s (like for E.T. or Star Wars!).  I definitely dig a good nostalgic series and Stranger Things is really the way to go!

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In the end, the advertising pros knocked it out of the park with the Stranger Things posters.  All it takes is one beautiful promotional poster to get the social media folks talking (a picture IS worth a thousand words you know!).  All it takes is for a unique grabber within the image to capture your audience’s attention.  Whether the focus is towards the actor/actress or the action happening within the background, something must be the point of focus within the whole image.  This is the kind of secret that separates a good poster from a bad one.  If you’re sending mixed messages within your promotional poster, then your audience will be turned off from the whole idea.

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And yes, Netflix’s newest Stranger Things poster is one of the good ones.  It obviously did well by grabbing lots of attention among the social media realm.  These are the promotional posters that aspiring marketing/advertising/PR pros should all pay attention to in the years to come.  Even if you’re not an artist yourself, the hidden trick you must learn is how those features will snag your target audience’s attention towards the product or service.

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Take notice, people – THIS is one of examples of marketing promotion success!



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A major bill has been floating around MA since last week that showcases some interesting changes to the cannabis laws.  One surprising notice was that recreational cannabis products could be taxed as high as 28%, which is twice as high as the original format at 12%.  That number may be high, but there’s even some more shocking changes that must be discussed.

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Advertising could be SEVERLY limited under the proposed changes.  The new proposal would limit the use of radio, billboards, TV, print, and even internet (which could include social media!) for advertising cannabis companies.  These advertising tactics would be available ONLY if 71.6% of the audience is over 21.  None of the ads could be targeted to any under 21 nor can the users depicted in the ad as well.

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As a PR pro that delves into the creative advertising world, my first answer to these shocking advertising rules is ‘What…The FUCK.’

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71.6 of the audience over 21?  Where the hell in MA can the mad men lock down their targeted audiences for their ad campaign?  Boston?  Somerville?  Brighton/Allston?

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Seriously though guy…this is NOT good at all!  Aside from the tax issue (cannabis WILL be taxed since it’s such a useful commodity!), these ad proposals put a serious damper for the advertising business.  Creative directors, copywriters, art directors, media buyers, and all other creative geniuses won’t be able to launch their huge campaigns if they only cater to areas where 71.6 of the audience is over 21!  Cannabis companies WILL be shipping to Boston in the next few years and the severe lack of advertisements will only put the industry to a halt.

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To better explain this problem, let’s take Don Draper and his creative team from the Mad Men universe as our leading example (since Don is the sexy creative genius of the Mad Men world!).  Supposed Don’s team relocated to Boston and are working with clients within the cannabis industry.  Members of the cannabis companies meet with Don’s team to discuss the new ad campaigns they would be working on.

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Don’s team CAN work on drafting the ad campaign, but they won’t reach the large number of audiences they want to reach since the areas HAVE to be mostly over 21.  Their advertising strategies would only work in very few places in Massachusetts.  If Don’s team doesn’t reach the intended numbers after running the campaigns, then cannabis companies could take their business elsewhere (to a more 4/20-friendly state like California or Maine).  This would mean that most of the work coming from Don, Roger, Joan, Peggy, and Pete won’t be enough to keep themselves afloat.

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Advertising agencies would want to work with the ever-trending cannabis industry to deliver the best advertising campaigns, but they won’t be able to do that if they can’t reach the amount of audiences they need. It will be a complicated challenge for the Boston mad men if the advertising proposals pass.  Cannabis’s image is heavily plagued by the PR nightmare caused by the Reefer Madness scandal and revitalizing PR tactics are our only solution.  To put it in another way, advertising is going to need some serious help from public relations on flourishing cannabis’s reputation before any amazing image can be shown.  The mad men do have the image (the pot leaf!), but that universal image must be repaired before any advertising tactics are set.

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While I didn’t go to Salem State University for advertising, this issue is still important to me as a former PR student.  Cannabis is the hottest new commodity sweeping the nation since being legalized and audiences are looking to get their hands on it any way they can.  With legality issues standing in the way of communicative creativity, business will become sluggish for industries like advertising and marketing.  They are many aspiring individuals in PR, advertising, marketing, journalism, and other areas of communications that see a brighter future through cannabis.  As the writer of entertainment PR stories at MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I take so much joy in informing the audience about the current cannabis trends.  It’s been such an honor to write about an industry that was once so taboo where it was troublesome to even talk about it (let alone smoke it in the open!).

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Recreational cannabis use is one of the hottest social issues here in America.  There’s a brighter future out there for the cannabis industry and we need the most creative mad men out there to showcase that future to ALL audiences.

Pass the Heinz – Advertisement By Don Draper!

Welcome back folks!  It’s been an interesting week so far, what with the 1-year anniversary of MakeSandcastlesNotWar and the recent post about the ‘medical-grade’ cannabis the government has been studying with (you know, that mutated bird shit covered with stems and dirt!).  We’re done gagging over that god-awful cannabis, so now it’s time to shift gears to something more appetizing…and it originated from an award-winning TV series about advertising!

On the sixth season of Mad Men, Don Draper was asked to generate ideas for Heinz’s new advertising campaign.  The concept was simple: three different pictures of food products with the slogan ‘Pass the Heinz’ hovering over the food.  Heinz representatives disliked the idea because the Heinz ketchup bottle wasn’t featured in the images.  In Don’s perspective, he believed that the ads were “clean, simple, and incomplete” and that the consumer would immediately know what was missing — the ketchup.  Nevertheless, Heinz shot down the idea and decided to move along with another concept.

While Mad Men was just a periodical fiction drama TV series, some of their storyline is based off of real advertisements from the 60s-70s (like the Coca-Cola song on the series finale, for example!).  Some advertising ideas took off while others were set on the shelf for another time.  While it’s been almost 50 years since Don Draper pitched that idea, Heinz decided to take it off the shelf for their next advertising campaign.

Heinz decided to greenlight Don Draper’s ad idea, running almost exactly as he intended.  This ad campaign is partly a PR stunt and partly just on-brand communications that will surely delight fans of Mad Men.  AMC’s most popular periodic drama is celebrating its 10th year anniversary on July.  As a bonus, the ads will be credited to Heinz’s current agency David Miami as well as Don’s fictional firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  It’s a classic ad idea that couldn’t be any relevant than today.

I thought it was SO cool to hear that one of Don Draper’s ideas will become a REAL advertising idea for Heinz!  I loved Mad Men when I binged-watch the series a few years ago and always rooted for Don Draper each episode.  Don was one of the most creative characters I ever had the pleasure of watching.  Coming from such a broken background, he came up with some really creative advertisements and he explained the premise behind each one.  Advertising may not be my biggest passion, but I truly enjoyed seeing what the advertising world was like.

This is a win-win scenario for advertising as well as public relations.  Mad Men was one of the most popular series on AMC and what better way to celebrate its upcoming 10-year anniversary than featuring Don’s original pitch to Heinz.  It’s interesting how television can spur up intriguing ideas that we would have never drawn up until we actually watch the series.  Sometimes the most creative concepts can be seen from our very own television sets.

Kudos to Don Draper for his pitch to Heinz over 50 years ago!  This campaign will give him the credit he deserved for the idea.  Who knows what other classic ideas will be pulled off the shelf to use in the future.  For right now, let’s enjoy Heinz’s newest ad campaign that was originally pitched by Don Draper!

Public Relations > Advertising

           Public relations is one of many business terms that is often discussed here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Since I graduated from Salem State University, I gained more knowledge on the background of the subject.  The PR industry is one of the various segments of communications that is essential for businesses to survive.  Other important segments include journalism, advertising, marketing, publicity, and other forms of communications.  It is a unique field of communications that doesn’t receive as much attention as it should.

As a PR practitioner myself, I am simply APPALLED at the lack of attention PR gets within the realm of communications!  The thing that most people don’t realize is that public relations is just as important, if not more important, than advertising or marketing.  Advertising may be important, but your business will head nowhere if there are no PR tactics being utilized.

It’s about time I explain how advertising and public relations are two different segments of communications.  Since many people confuse the two industries, here is the basic definition of what they are.  Advertising involves utilizing an audio or visual form of communication to present the IMAGE of a particular product, service, or idea that is currently being promoted.  The advertiser usually pays for the message that they have control over.  For example, the Weedmaps billboard advertisement on Revere Beach (read more on this advertisement here) is advertising Weedmaps’ service of medical cannabis, dispensaries, doctors, and other cannabis-related products or services.  A billboard display presents the image of the brand name, logo, and picture of the website to the consumers.

On the other hand, public relations involves a different kind of business strategy.  Public relations deals with the REPUTATION of the product, service, or idea being promoted (you know, that thing that you worried about all throughout high school!).  The PR agenda is about nabbing free publicity for your company.  Whether it is drafting a press release or creating a newsletter, your main focus is getting that free media exposure that your business needs.  You don’t pay for the coverage and you have no control over how the media will present your information.  Going back to Weedmaps as an example, PR would involve Weedmaps creating coverage about their 4/20 charity event hosted on April 20th that goes towards funding a particular cause.  This charity event boosts their reputation by showcasing the empathetic side of the company.

If that weren’t enough to satisfy your answer, here’s a more colorful example of how advertising and public relations go hand-in-hand.  Starting a thriving business is like creating the monster Frankenstein.  You gather up all of the components together onto the stretcher to attach your monster together.  The advertising piece is like all of the body parts being sewn together to create the IMAGE of the monster.  Body parts, screws, hair, clothing, and other essential pieces are joined together to create Frankenstein’s physical image.

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Frankenstein may have been sewed up together, but the real test comes after you flick the switch…and that’s where public relations steps in.  Public relations is that jolt of energy firing into his brain, awakening the life inside of him.  That jolt will cause him to wake up and see the world around him.  He now wakens with his sight, hearing, visual awareness, and empathetic feelings that human beings have.  The jolt helps him walk around the room to understand what he became.  It’s ALLLLLLIIIIIVVEEEE!

Just like the jolt of energy awakening Frankenstein’s mind, public relations creates life to the company.  It provides all the tools within the human body in order to create an actual reputation.  Piecing the components of your business is one thing, but creating a new life out of your work makes all of the difference.  Your business will be at a standstill until you breath some life into it.

There you have it folks, advertising and public relations provide two different functions for your business.  You simply can’t have advertising without public relations and vice-versa.  One works well with the other, working together to drive your business forward to a successful future.  Advertising helps promote the IMAGE of your business while public relations handles its reputation to keep it in good terms with its community.  Public relations is essential because it ignites your business to become ALIVE, just like Frankenstein!

So if you are pondering about starting a business, then just remember that public relations is one of the most critical tools of your communication process.