After a 5 Month Hiatus I’m back to Blogging…

Hello folks!

For those of you who take time out of your day to read this, I appreciate it. As you may know, from now until May 9th I will being finishing up my finals months as a college student. It’s been nearly 5 years of life-changing experiences, laughs, new friendships, stress, all-nighters, and many, many memories.

Before I become caught up in writing my goodbyes and spreading my thanks to the many people who’ve mad these years worthwhile, I thought I’d share some words that inspired me today. Currently, I’m searching for an internship, job, or anything similar to kick off my career. I’m graduating with a degree in advertising, minors in art and marketing and several graphic design electives. Writing is my passion, and along with that I enjoy collaborating with like-minded individuals to create, problem solve and explore new possibilities for brands, businesses and clients.

I’ve applied for internships in Sioux Falls, Minneapolis and Chicago. And so far, I haven’t had many leads. I’ve had interviews, yes, and even competed as a finalist for a copywriter internship position at a renown and well-known advertising agency. From these experiences, I know I’m really honing in on something….SOMETHING. I can feel it.

Anyways, here’s what I read today that caught my eye and sparked my interest. Anna Quindlen, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, journalist, and New York Times op-ed columnist, once wrote:

“You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are. So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?

Turn off your cell phone. Turn off your regular phone, for that matter. Keep still. Be present. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.”


Do advertisements annoy you?

Do advertisements annoy you?

I’m sure I can guess how most of you would answer this question.  However, let’s consider the reason advertisements annoy you.

Don’t advertisements all seem the same?

They blend together and create an annoying spectrum of endless sales pitches meant to entertain, inform and entice you.  They interrupt you when you watch TV, listen to free-streaming music, read magazines and even as you wait at a bus top.  Ads are everywhere.  We’re bombarded everyday by attempts to pull you in and turn you into a loyal customer.

However, we’ve almost become numb to an advertisement’s effect.  Society may see the ads but do they actually watch, read or understand them?  Do we even try anymore?

For an ad to gain attention it must be presented to the right crowd of people in need of the product or service.  Even if these individuals don’t necessarily “need” what you’re selling, the ad should attempt to change their minds.

Dull, meaningless ads aren’t enough anymore.  They aren’t doing anything!  Advertisements need to evolve in order to appeal to the masses.  Let’s not make ads, let’s make movements.

Make ads that stand out.  For example, check out Coke’s latest ad campaign titled “Happiness Is Movement.”  The video features beautifully crafted wooden puppets that run, jump and move with surprising ease.



Doesn’t that grab your attention?

Create an ad that colorfully tells a story.  Let’s tap in to the audience’s heartstrings and find meaning behind what you want to sell.

Read more here: 




Check out this reverse graffiti art work. GImagereen Works natural cleaners washed away dirt and soot leaving a naturescape that is still visible even a year later.  They’ve ingeniously used the Broadway Tunnel in San Fransisco as their canvas to create an example of how powerful their product is.

View more reverse graffiti art here:





Most of us need a pick-me-up to start each day, especially if you’re spending your morning waiting at an airport. A South African coffee company Douwe Egberts wanted to do something different. Instead of the usual vending machine, they decided to place a unique coffee vending machine at the O.R. Tambo International Airport, “where people most needed a coffee”.  The machine dispensed free coffee only if someone yawned at it.

See more here:

Ads like these get recognition.  They generate consumer interest.  They entertain, inform and entice you. They work.

Music in Advertising

Music is a powerful tool, especially when applied to advertising.  Simply put, music touches our souls.  It engages listeners through a variety of sounds that correspond together to form a melody.  Music makes sense. It creates fleeting images in our minds.  The meaning behind the music is commonly an item of interest to listeners.  We seek the answers to the questions that may arise from a song.  Songs remind us of someone, some thing, or some event.  They bring a rush of memories to our mind.  It’s as if the rhythms, notes, lyrics, and sounds presented in a tune trigger either a powerful thought or an emotional experience.

We know what we like when it comes to music and there are many genres to choose from.  We acquire our musical tastes of by picking and choosing between songs and who sing them.  As our discoveries coincide, we make up our minds.  We seem to allow a message into our thoughts if it’s presented by a song or band we’re interested in.  Is it really that simple?  Are our guards suddenly dropped once we realize we enjoy the song ringing lyrics in our ears, feeding us information and ideas?

Music affects us, more so than we think.  It’s meant to be relatable and applicable to our lives.  This is true for advertising as well.  Advertising brings new products and services to our attention, as it persuades us to purchase them by creating happy thoughts and relatable scenarios.  The goal of advertising is to promote the product to a group of people, often known as a target market.  Perhaps, by appealing to the consumer’s music preference, the likability of the product is heightened.  Music is also highly recognizable and memorable.  Most music groups and songs are easily accessible to nearly everyone.  Music just wants to be heard.

Advertisers commonly categorize consumers into certain target markets.  Target markets are groups of people with common interests and characteristics.  Some target markets bring in more business than others.  Having a well defined target market can be very important in generating interest and creating potential customers.  It’s safe to say, the people in a target market may have a similar taste of music.  So, music is another powerful device which may be used to appeal to a specified target market.

Perhaps when a group of individuals with similar music preferences emerge, they form a target market.  They more than likely share common interests, beliefs and characteristics.  Music stereotypes are also formed.  For example, a person who’s interested in heavy metal or rock is normally part of a very different demographic than a person who’s interested in classical, peaceful music.  You can learn many things about a person by listening to the music they’re interested in.  Advertisers like to determine what demographics consumers belong to, as they try to determine how to persuade them.  The more we like the message, the more powerful the persuasion.  Almost instantaneously, musical styles and genres offer opportunities for communicating social messages.  Groups with a preferred style of music share a similar passion. An important part of an advertiser’s job is to determine the client’s message and then get that message across to the consumers.  What better way to do this than by using music as the affiliate for that communication? 

Another aspect of music, which is beneficial for advertising, is how recognizable and memorable it is.  Catchy tunes and lyrics are commonly tied with the products they promote.  For example, Swiffer products use 80’s music in many of their commercials and campaigns.  Songs like “Baby come Back” by the band Player and “Whip it” by the band Devo have been played on commercials for Swiffer products.  These upbeat songs create the allusion that cleaning with this product is fun, quick, and easy.  Many commercials use mainstream music, bands, and artists to add a mood to the scene they’re creating.  Certain areas of the advertisement are even dramatized by the music playing.  A Doublemint gum commercial featured a popular song by Chris Brown.  Chris was filmed singing the song “Forever” with the lyrics tweaked to represent the new advertising jingle for Doublemint gum.

Along with music being recognizable, it is also very easy to access.  Music websites such as Pandora and Spotify offer users the ability to listen to nearly any type of music constantly.  These websites have become so increasingly popular, that they run advertisements on them between songs.  Downloading music online is also incredibly popular.  The downloading tool known as iTunes advertises many mainstream music groups and artists.  Not only does iTunes sell songs, they also sell movies, television shows, and comedic reels. 

However, many music listeners choose to download their songs illegally from websites such as LimeWire and Bittorent.  This has had quite the impact on the music industry, through a loss of profits and jobs.  In fact, it’s also changed how music is delivered to the masses.  Between 2004 and 2009, nearly 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded according to the Recording Industry Association of America.  Record labels are focusing on only a few established artists, since they can’t afford to waste time and money on promoting new music artists. 

Also, this impact has changed how the music industry features artists in order to promote their albums and make a profit.  They develop new tactics like turning popular songs into ringtones and digitally licensing music to sites like YouTube and Pandora.  Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest have been used to advertise new music artists and songs.  They ask you to like their Facebook account and follow them on Twitter, where they can advertise their latest songs, albums, concerts, and music festivals.  Like-minded fans interact, share, and participate in the music industry’s methods of digital marketing in order to stay up to date on their favorite music groups and artists.

However, since a decline in CDs sales and radio plays, there is a continuing struggle to gain attention.  Music videos have attempted to grab attention by forming an interesting scenario paired with the song.  Marketing strategies such as product placement appear in the music video.  Song artists and musicians showcase their preference for a particular product.  Would a fan choose to use this product just because their favorite band does?

On the other hand, maybe record companies have made a mistake?  Now it seems like music is marketed with as much enthusiasm as advertising methods used for toothpaste or mayonnaise.  Music is art.  It could take weeks or months even to feel inspired enough to write one song. The great bands from the 60s and 70s like The Who, The Rolling Stone, The Doors, Pink Floyd, and so many others were only focusing on making music, just music.  Many people liked their music, not because it was toothpaste or mayonnaise, or the latest advancement in non-stick frying pans, but because it was true, solid art.

Now, musicians are told what to sell and how to make their music in order to develop consumer interest and promote their bands.  This aspect takes the edge out of music.  It doesn’t feel special or creative anymore.  It feels controlled and commercial. How can a song still portray a rebellious vibe while being constrained by a record label’s standards and rules?  Inspiration, dedication, and soul should be the driving forces behind a musician’s creation and campaign. 

Simply, the best marketing strategy could be to not have one.  Allow the fans and music lovers to promote the albums and songs available.  Word of mouth is a highly effective method at grabbing attention.  Sometimes, listeners even love their favorite bands more if they realize how special and uncommon the music is.  They feel like they have discovered an artist by surfing the web one day and accidentally coming across their next favorite song.  It’s true, music does have ongoing trends which many people follow and keep up with.  However, a spontaneous or innovative sounding group or individual may stir up a lot of public attention by expressing their special music talent.  That unique quality they possess sets them apart from the mainstream.

All in all, music will continue to be created and listeners will continue to listen.  Promotion methods may change, but the art will always be there.  We all have different tastes in music, as we all have different beliefs.  Sometimes these beliefs and the types of music we enjoy coincide.  We then turn into stereotypes for liking certain songs, genres, or bands.  This helps advertisers place us into different target markets as they attempt to appeal to our interests, then persuade us to purchase the product or service they are promoting.  Songs are catchy, memorable and easy to access.  The music industry will continue to discover new methods as they endorse musicians and attempt to profit from them.  But the only point of creating music should be for it to be heard and enjoyed.

Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles

Lucy Michelle

The sound of a small ukulele breaks the silence of the room.  Then, an endearing, sweet voice pulls the audience’s attention forward.  A steady drum beat and acoustic guitar join in.  Soon, the warm sound of an upright bass enters the room, accompanied by moments of bells and accordion.

These instruments belong to the six-member-band, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles.  Their combined sound, paired with the unique vocalist style of lead singer, Lucy Michelle, gives this band it’s unusual, yet appealing sound.

Michelle is a short, dark brown-haired girl with a quirky personality.  She has a wonderful sounding voice with a wide vocal range.  In her freshman year of college at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, she began writing songs.

“I had been working at a coffee shop at the time and my co-worker, Ashley Boman, and I would go back to my house and jam out, sometimes I’d play ukulele, sometimes saxophone…slowly we just kept adding more musicians to our musical evenings,” said Michelle, as she described the arrangement of the band.

Other musicians include:  Geoff Freeman, Jesse Schuster, Eamonn McLain, and Chris Graham.    Each member brought their own sparkle and musical talents to the table.  Their natural development and shared love for music eventually lead them to create ten songs in the band’s first year alone.

The group’s combined sound is warm and entirely organic.  Each live performance is pure.  The band’s harmonious sounds and lyrics unite and create its defined style.  Its chemistry is inevitably present as each distinct member unites together to become one, unique and highly talented group.

Some songs are sweet and charming, others are warm and soothing, and some push a powerful message.  Yet, their recognizable sound shines through and is continually being polished as the band just finished their fourth album.

“It’s all kind of hazy since it was six years, ago but slowly we just kept adding more musicians to our musical evenings and then played about a million shows in the Twin Cities in one crazy year and here we are now!” said Michelle, as she described the band’s very beginning.

From 2007 to present day, the band has been playing all over the country.  They first entered the scene in the town which they originated from, Minneapolis, Minn.  Eventually, the Lapelles performed to sold-out audiences at legendary venues such as First Avenue, Cedar Cultural Center, and the Fitzgerald Theatre.  They have performed with bands like Thao & Mirah, Titus Andronicus, and The Head and the Heart.

On November 9, they performed alongside Trampled by Turtles at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Sioux Falls, SD.  Below is a link of one of their live performances:

The group has created and performed four albums.  Their first album, “Orange Peels & Rattlesnakes”, came out in 2008.  After that, “Special Party Time for Everybody” and “Good of That” were released in 2010, and their latest album, “Heat”, came out in 2012.  Michelle, who studied graphic design, designs each album cover.  She also designs posters and album covers for other bands, like the New Standards.  Their first album cover is below on the left, along with their latest album on the far right.

“Heat” was recorded at Vacation Island Recording Studios in Brooklyn, NY.  Matt Boynton helped produced the album.  He is an acclaimed producer and engineer.  He’s also worked with other famous bands like MGMT,Beirut, and Bat for Lashes.

Below are links to music videos for the songs “Just a Kid” and “Undone” from “Heat”:

Since the beginning, the Lapelles have had quite a journey.  Today, the band continuously performs and writes music.  Some of the members work other jobs and partake in various hobbies as well.  Boman works at a salon and a second-hand store.  McLain paints murals.  Freeman substitutes as a teacher.  Schuster makes sandwiches.  Michelle used to workas a teaching assistant at an elementary school in St. Paul, but has recently quit.

“I quit to do music full time,” said Michelle.

The band has a Twitter account, Facebook page, and website.

Music from each of their four albums is available on Spotify, iTunes, and Youtube.  However, nothing beats a live performance from this group.  They frequently perform in the Minneapolis area at local venues and late-night bars.

Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles is truly a special group of it’s time.  It is made up of entirely unique sounds and is worth listening to.  Each member, song, and performance is very extraordinary and a true work of art and creativity.

Rachel Speiser


Unexpected Incidents

Unexpected incidents are beautiful, aren’t they?  Well the good ones definitely are, but what about the bad?  Life is full of good and bad incidents.  We can’t expect, plan or prepare for all of them.  We can only learn from them and apply our discoveries to the new journeys ahead.

We must realize that lessons are buried deep within the suffering of bad experiences.  It may not seem obvious at first, but they’re present. Obviously, we try to do the best we can to avoid the bad, but you shouldn’t turn down a new experience just because you’re afraid.  Allow fear to become your compass.  Let it guide you in the direction that will produce the most personal growth.

Another way to get the most out of the unexpected is to be present.  Don’t spend all your mental energy or time thinking about the future.  It doesn’t even exist yet.  Don’t miss what’s happening now.

New experiences happen every day and the unknown surrounds us everywhere we go.  Each day is filled with endless possibilities for us to choose from and experience.  Sometimes we become so focused on the end result that we miss the little miracles along the way.

I don’t think we appreciate the beauty behind each new day enough.  We awake up every morning with a fresh slate.  Yesterday seems as if it never happened.  Isn’t that wonderful?  We have the chance to start over, be who want to be, and act how we want to act every day.  Why don’t we cherish this more? 

We shouldn’t take it for granted.  Each new day ahead decides the outcome of our week, our month, our year, and eventually, our lifetime. We must recognize bad thoughts and experiences as only an entity rather than a state of being.  They are only an emotion, and don’t exist.