Posted by: lslewlkr | February 16, 2011

Acknowledging Existence

There are times in life when our mortality is all too apparent.  Waking up in the morning and receiving a phone call that someone who seemed nearly invincible is gone is tough.  In the last month, at least three people close to me or close to friends have lost someone near and dear to them unexpectedly.  And only a year ago, Grace McNeil, 24 years-old, died having the best day ever.  Life happens, but it sometimes feels surreal in our mountain Never, Never Land.

It feels like the bottom has dropped out from underneath you.  A floating, almost weightless sense as daily activities are attended to.  Sometimes it’s hard to just breathe.  Inappropriate and unexpected tears hit.

But then, slowly, the ground becomes a bit more stable.  Your stomach is once again part of your body.  Breathing becomes easier.

Life does go on.

For me, introspection upon the unexpected loss of people in their prime is vital.  I have an obligation to those people who have passed – to be the best I can be, and live my life with no regrets.  It’s about all things – the little and the big.

To steal from one of those recently deceased, “It’s the best day ever!”  Because it is.  I’m alive.  I’m healthy.  I have great friends and loved ones.  I live a life that satisfies my soul.

Before it sounds like it’s all cotton candy and lollipops, I am human.  The attitude that I wake up with isn’t always the best.  Sometimes I’m catty and less than complimentary towards others.  But I don’t feel better when I’m like that.  Being unkind, even silently in my head, doesn’t make me feel like a better person.

So I strive to live a life with few regrets.  I try to smile even when I’m down.  I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  And I think about consciously being kinder, because it takes even more effort to be a bitch.  I want to surround myself with people who are kind and caring.  Pettiness is worthless.  Relationships that have depth, meaning, and shared interests will last.

I set forth a challenge to live life with abandon.  Enjoy life.  Appreciate each day that is given.  Because today is “the best day of your life!”

RIP mountain friends:  Chris Stokes, Grace McNeil, Dale Scott, Leif Borgeson, Chris McNeil

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Posted by: lslewlkr | April 21, 2010

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Posted by: lslewlkr | March 5, 2010

Cause Marketing: Keeping Winter Cool

Social marketing programs are long-term efforts that focus on changing behaviors.  (Daw 2006, p. 124)  In 2003, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) joined forces to create the Keep Winter Cool campaign to bring awareness to and action from winter enthusiasts regarding the global warming crisis. (Link, 2003)  The relationship between NRDC and NSAA is mutually beneficial, as NRDC is an organization that cares about and advocates for thoughtful use of the environment, and NSAA is the trade group for 90 percent of America’s ski areas – companies that profit from the environment and winter conditions.

Background and Goals

Snow is an essential element for skiing and snowboarding.  The global warming trend threatens the multi-billion dollar snowsports industry.  At least the top ten hottest years on record have happened since 1990.  Because of an imbalance in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, likely caused from pollution, temperatures could rise as high as 7 degrees a year by the end of the century, (Keep Winter Cool, Climate Facts) impacting the snowsports industry with fewer mountains, shorter seasons, decreased revenue, increased expenditures, and cancelled events. (Keep Winter Cool, Why Should I Care)  Keep Winter Cool aims to educate young snowriders about this threat and about what they can do to make a difference – to save winter for the future – in a language and way that they understand.

Program Execution

While NSAA has spearheaded legislative efforts addressing climate change, the majority shareholders of this campaign are the ski areas.  Under the umbrella of the NSAA, the campaign has transpired in three ways.  Ski areas have altered policies and the way they do things.  The resorts have created their own plans for guests in support of Keep Winter Cool.  Keep Winter Cool has undertaken a media campaign with advertising and event promotions.

Policy change examples include Mammoth Mountain’s use of solar power to heat lift shacks, and Hunter Mountain, Vail, and Keystone Resort’s Wind Energy Credit purchases.  Resorts have also implemented guest-centered plans, like Arapahoe Basin’s 40 percent off a lift ticket for carpoolers and Northstar-at-Tahoe’s “Ski Pollution Free” effort in which customers are offered the opportunity to purchase a Green Tag to offset vehicle emissions generated by the trip to the ski area.  (Keep Winter Cool, Ski Area Action)

Through an overarching Keep Winter Cool campaign, winter enthusiasts learn how they can make a difference.  Individual resorts conduct local outreach campaigns.  (Link, 2004)  The Keep Winter Cool message is also passed on with bar coasters, chairlift bar signs, lift tower signs, magazine ads, and television commercials. (Clean Air, Cool Planet, 2004)

Winter enthusiasts are learning that it doesn’t take a lot to make a change.  They can buy renewable energy, tell their elected officials how they feel, think about purchasing a fuel-efficient car in the future, replace snow tires and remove the ski rack at the end of the season to save on fuel efficiency, drive only when necessary – walk, bike, and ride the bus, when replacing appliances purchase energy efficient models, use fluorescent light bulbs, and tell people about Keep Winter Cool. (Keep Winter Cool, What Can I Do)

As the campaign has evolved over time, NSAA has provided environmental mandates to its members, in order to help set the example and lead the way for guests.  In addition to the above mentioned simple steps, part of NSAA policy under the auspices of Keep Winter Cool, is that “Idling Gets You Nowhere.” (NSAA, Climate Change)  Both resorts and guests can practice turning off vehicles in most situations.  Again, it’s another small step.  But, it’s a step that easy for everyone.  Not only does it save money (idling for more than ten seconds take more fuel than restarting the vehicle), but it reduces carbon dioxide emissions which is a goal of Keep Winter Cool. (NSAA, Idling Facts)

Results

Keep Winter Cool is a long-term program, and immediate results are difficult to measure.  Much of what the program is asking people to do is to change their immediate and long-term habits.  Measurably, only 122 of NSAA’s 332 member resorts are off-setting energy use with renewable energy or using green energy. (Hawks, 2008)  This does not mean that resorts are not participating in the Keep Winter Cool campaign.  Education programs may still be happening.  However, there is the assumption that could be made that resorts themselves have a long way to go to be considered good stewards of the environment.

There’s obviously a need for the Keep Winter Cool campaign.  Not only should winter enthusiasts follow a few of the simple steps set out, but the industry needs to listen to what it is proposing, as well.  As the industry leads by example, in addition to the continued advertising efforts of Keep Winter Cool, the social marketing campaign may be become more successful.  However, it’s hard to imagine young snowriders will put into practice what the industry itself is having a hard time doing.

Still, the Millenials are the next generation of skiers and snowriders.  They want snow to be around for many years to come.  The message of Keep Winter Cool – that we CAN do something about global warming will resonate with this altruistic generation.  (Cone, 2006) Soon, though, they’ll want to see results – they’ll demand that the industry stops talking about it, and starts doing more.


Sources

Clean Air, Cool Planet (2004).  Keep Winter Cool Campaign, A Partnership With Ski and
Snowboard Industry to Fight Global Warming.  Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.cleanair-coolplanet.org/information/pdf/keep_winter_cool.pdf.

Cone (2006).  Millenial White Paper.  The 25th Anniversary of Cause Marketing. Cone, LLC:
Boston.

Hawks, Troy (2008 February 13).  Green Power Program Fact Sheet.  NSAA Press Release,
retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/press/0607/green-power-fact-
sheet.asp
.

Keep Winter Cool (2010).  Climate Facts.  Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.keepwintercool.org/climatefacts.html.

Keep Winter Cool (2010).  Ski Area Action Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.keepwintercool.org/skiareaaction.html.

Keep Winter Cool (2010).  What Can I Do?  Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.keepwintercool.org/whatcanido.html.

Keep Winter Cool (2010).  Why Should I Care?  Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.keepwintercool.org/whyshouldicare.html.

Link, Geraldine, and Coifman, John (2003 February 19).  Ski Industry Teams With Top
Environmental Group NRDC on New “Keep Winter Cool” Campaign to Fight Global
Warming
.  Keep Winter Cool News Release, retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.keepwintercool.org/pdfs/KWC_2003_Press_Release.pdf.

Link, Geraldine, Coifman, John, and Burnham-Snyder, Eben (2004 February 20).  KEEP WINTER
COOL:
Ski Areas Team With Conservation Group to Fight Global Warming. Keep
Winter Cool New Release, retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.keepwintercool.org/pdfs/KWC_2004_Press_Release.pdf.

NSAA (2010).  Climate Change – Idling Gets You Nowhere.  Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/environment/climate_change/.

NSAA (2010).  Idling Facts.  Retrieved Feb. 7, 2010, from
http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/environment/climate_change/idlingfacts.pdf.

Posted by: lslewlkr | March 5, 2010

It’s been awhile…

Outside Boundaries has been silent for almost a year now.  Oh how the time flies!  In about ten weeks I’ll have a shiny new master’s degree.  And about a million ideas of what to do with it, but the right opportunity will come around.

In the meantime, I thought I’d reminisce a bit about the past year, post some assignments that I’ve written, and maybe even add some creative surprises.

The blog began as an assignment for my new media class.  Now it’s just mine.  If you’d like, let me know what you think.  Otherwise, just enjoy my continued adventure!!

Posted by: lslewlkr | March 15, 2009

Web 2.0 Faves

A montage of some of my favorite Web 2.0 features

Arapahoe Basin Ski Patroller, Tony C, and Avalanche Rescue Dog, Ruby, catching up with Kids Club Arapahoe skiers.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Patroller, Tony C, and Avalanche Rescue Dog, Ruby, catching up with Kids Club Arapahoe skiers.



Why:  This picture is worth one thousand words.  It tells a story, and captures the essence of Arapahoe Basin.  Makes you want to visit the mountain, doesn’t it?

Other Web 2.0 highlights:  Arapahoe Basin‘s website also features a blog written by its CEO, webcams, and interactive information.

GOTOSTCROIX.COM

Why:  Sometimes, living in my snowy, mountain paradise, I need a taste of the tropics.  I visit when I need a taste of island life, and a glimpse of the sun, crystal clear blue waters, and palm trees.

Web 2.0 features:  GotoSt.Croix.com features a “Sun”Blog, and all the information that you’d need to know about traveling to and visiting St. Croix.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “GoToStCroix.com: St. Croix Webcam, Ch…“, posted with vodpod




The Facebook Effect

The Facebook Effect

Why:  Facebook keeps me connected with my 200+ closest friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since high school, and probably won’t see again any time soon!  It’s great to know what’s going on with people who were part of my past, as well as those that I’m not so connected with in my present.  I’m just a part of the more than 35 million people who regularly update our statuses, photos, and personal information for all of our friends to see.  I love the ideas of using Facebook as a part of an IMC initiative – it works if it’s right for your demographic.

These are the top three places that I visit when I venture online.  Without Web 2.0, these “experiences” wouldn’t be possible.

Posted by: lslewlkr | March 15, 2009

Do we know the effects of marketing to kids?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It’s worth it to take a listen to. Katie Couric speaks with investigative journalist Susan Gregory Thomas about how companies are marketing to kids and babies. Companies are marketing to babies from the moment that they can focus, but they probably won’t come right out and tell you that they’re doing that – it’s not politically correct, said Thomas. There is no evidence that this type of marketing is harmful, but babies who become mesmerized by quick television cuts enter into almost a hypnotic cycle of startling and staring. What’s happening now, Thomas said, is a “vast, uncontrolled experiment on America’s babies and toddlers. We have no idea.”

What Thomas has seen is that babies who are turned into consumers recognize characters like Elmo and Dora. As they grow up, they influence family vacations, and big ticket purchases – like cars. The kids wants and needs turn into the parents desires.  That 0-3 year-old demographic – it’s a $20 billion market.  It is literally the “cradle to the grave” audience.

Which brings up a point a co-worker brought up to me today.  Why do you want to be in marketing?  It’s soul-less.  Even if you don’t agree with the product that you are to pitch, you have to do it anyways.  It’s your job.

There are many valid claims out there that marketers and advertisers are contributers to many social evils.  Dr. Susan Linn, psychologist and co-founder of the campaign for a commercial-free childhood, said “Advertising and marketing is a factor in childhood obesity, in eating disorders, precocious, irresponsible sexuality, youth violence, underage drinking, underage tobacco use.”  That’s a pretty nasty accusation. Some companies, like Dove, are fighting this.  Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty “wants to help free ourselves and the next generation from beauty stereotypes.”

It’s up to companies, not just marketers to do the right thing.  Better ethics in business will c0ntribute to better ethics in marketing and advertising.  I want to be a part of the positive future, not of the decline of civilization.

Posted by: lslewlkr | March 14, 2009

Hmmm… Kids want ADVERGAMING!

Advergaming. The first time I heard the term, I thought that it meant utilizing product placements within video games. And it does, but there’s much more to it.

I’m a part of the generation that remembers the first Atari video game. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and Frogger were the names of the games. Nintendo came later. With it, the Super Mario Brothers phenomenon. Remember when games got dirty and you had to blow on them to make them work? If kids today got hold of those first generation video games, they’d be appalled. Now graphics quality is so crisp, that you could feel like you’re a part of the game. This generation would laugh at the “old-fashioned” games of my youth.

pacman

Today’s kids love video games. Ninety-seven percent of 12 to 17 year-olds play video games. They play often. They play with friends and family. They play all types of games – puzzle, action, racing, sports, and more.  Even if they have a computer, they play their video games.

Marketers!  Many of you already know what that means.  Like product placement in movies, and TV, make sure that products are placed in video games.  There are billboard ads placed in car racing games, sports teams and sponsors placed in sports games.  Expose video gamers to brands while they play.

Better yet, create games with the brand as a central theme.  Not only is it inexpensive, cost estimates average $2 per game creation, but the gamer is inundated by the brand and game.  Their attention is caught, and it’s hard for them to leave.  I’ve indulged in some online game playing.  Kellogg’s Apple Jacks site is all about games!  There’s a game for every interest.  I got caught up in the Apple Jacks Cereal Racing game.  I dare you – try it out.  You’ll be shocked by how quickly 15 minutes passes by.  And the only reason you know that 15 minutes passes, is that the Kellogg’s “Get Your Move On!” site pops up.  Get Your Move On features fun ways that kids can get active, besides playing video games and sitting in front of the computer.  Genius.  Embrace your audience by giving them what they want, and then by giving them what they need.   Since there’s such a concern with children becoming too media-centered these days, Kellogg’s idea is creating relationships with kids and parents.

Disney is another great example of a company that is creating online, interactive communities for kids that feature advergames.  Take your choice, Club Penguin, Toontowns, Pirates, Pixie Hollow?  Club Penguin even celebrates the holidays, currently featuring St. Patrick’s Day, in order to keep in relevant and timely.

But really, you have your choice of companies that target websites and advergaming to children.  But here it comes, the disclaimer.  If you think that kids are being exposed to too much advertising, whose fault is that?  Is it marketers faults or is it the fault of parents, for not regulating what their kids are exposed to?

Advergaming falls outside of the bounds of the limitations that have been placed on television advertising to children.  I’d speculate that will change in the future.  In the meantime, marketers can create exceptionally effective IMC campaigns around web features.  By being responsible, advergaming will continue to garner praise and trust.

Posted by: lslewlkr | March 13, 2009

“Sexting” Shockingly Common Among Teens – CBS News

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted by: lslewlkr | March 13, 2009

A dangerous trend among teens

It’s dangerous, permanent, spreads like wildfire, and it’s illegal.  It’s “sexting.”  Sexting is defined as sending nude pictures via text message.  In January, three Pennsylvania teenage girls allegedly sent nude/semi-nude pictures of themselves to three teenage boys.  All six are being charged with child pornography.

Wow.  That’s pretty serious.  If convicted, these kids would be required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.  Where’s the line between teens “experimenting” and pornography?  Are kids responsible enough to handle being able to use mobile technology responsibly?  Maybe not.  According to a survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl, nearly twenty percent of teens admit to sending nude or partially nude pictures of themselves.  Thirty-nine percent of teens are also sending or posting sexually explicit messages.

So what should be done about this?  Authorities are charging kids who have been caught with child pornography charges.  But parents should play a policing role as well.  Maybe it’s as simple as not allowing teens to have multimedia messaging plans.  It’s about education, as well.  Parents need to let their kids know that once the “send” button is clicked, that information is out in cyberspace for everyone to see.

Teens need to understand the ramifications of this action.  Once a couple breaks up, what happens to the incriminating photos?  Cincinnati teen Jessica Logan knew firsthand those ramifications.  Other girls were calling her names.  She even went on to a Cincinnati TV station to tell her story so that others wouldn’t have to go through what she went through.  Unfortunately, the stress and humiliation of the simple action of sending a nude photo to her boyfriend caught up with her.  In July 2008, Jessica hanged herself.

It’s a tragic end to a simple mistake.  Technology is great, but it must be used responsibly.

Posted by: lslewlkr | March 12, 2009

Credible Online Programs – Go Mountaineers!

In my last post, I mentioned that the world is so much smaller than it used to be.  We\’re lucky to live in the digital age, where we have such a seemingly endless flow of information available.  We can research topics, gather evidence, and form judgments about almost anything quickly and easily with the help of the Internet.  Movies, jobs, books, vacation sites, career advice, historical documents… name it – you find it.

And so I continued my journey to find a graduate school.  Through extensive web searches that began with searching for schools that offered Master’s programs in Journalism, evolved into a search for an MBA, and culminated in searches for marketing Master’s offerings, I discovered West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications program.

I was intrigued.  An online only program conducted, endorsed, and accredited by a reputable university?  I was definitely a bit hesitant, having grown up watching television commercials touting any number of “Degree Mills.”  But it was West Virginia University, so I decided to take the chance.  I’m so glad I did!

My classes have been interesting, thought provoking, and rewarding.  I’ve learned more about Integrated Marketing Communications, theoretical and practical applications, in the last 14 months than I ever thought I would.  I’ve had professors from LA to Texas to North Carolina; classmates from Spain to the Caribbean, who have worked in careers like retail sales, television news direction, and military communication.  Some are recent graduates – others have been in the workforce for more than thirty years.  The breadth of knowledge, experience, and perspective is so much of what makes this program great.

The good news from Vault.com is that employers believe that online degrees are more acceptable today than they were five years ago.  The bad news is that most still believe that a degree from a traditional classroom is only acceptable.  On the bright side for WVU IMC student’s, we’re going to graduate with a Master’s of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from the most well-known school in the state, West Virginia University.  It also helps us to know that, while surveyed Vault.com employers still believed that traditional degrees were more credible, some employers understand that graduate studies take independence from instructors and classrooms therefore making online degrees valid and appropriate.

The other bonus is this.  Each and every student who is pursuing a graduate degree – whether online or in a traditional setting – knows the amount of work that they put into it.  I know what I can show and tell an employer who might question the validity of a program in an online setting.  I have professional-quality examples of my work that I\’ve added to my portfolio because of this program.  My knowledge base has grown.  Because of this program, I can identify my strengths and weaknesses within the marketing genre.  I can more critically look at issues facing the business I work for.  I\’m proud of my work in this program, and this degree will mean a lot to me, so it\’ll mean a lot to any employer that interviews me.

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