Effective Advertising: A Look at the Success and Failure Attempts of Solar Energy Companies

Effective advertising targets a specific audience and frames a provided good or service in a positive light; ideally, advertisements attract consumers that would otherwise not consider the product. Solar energy, a modern-day replacement for harmful traditional energy sources, has many benefits that most consumers fail to recognize. Commercials and other advertising techniques target middle-aged, wealthy home owners in an attempt to embed this relatively unknown phenomenon in a society that seems to resist change. Solar energy, though a large initial investment that may repel lower and lower-middle class citizens, will pay off in the long run as solar panels have a twenty year horizon to receive a return on investment. Typical Americans do not think about energy beyond paying the bills. We flick on a switch and expect power without giving the source a second thought. Solar energy cannot help but change this mindset. The panels gleaming from residential rooftops demand attention. All things considered, solar energy attracts a progressive audience because implementation requires a transition from typical, traditional energy that conformist citizens will not want to transfer from. Only through deliberate advertising will the unbacked stigma concerning solar energy be erased resulting in widespread popularity that will inevitably lead consumers away from traditional energy sources.

In an attempt to convert traditional energy users, the solar company, Sunrun, created a brief cartoon advertisement with talking kitchen appliances, but it appears they have misjudged their target audience. Although the ad is creative and unique, thus naturally retaining attention, the cartoon seems very childish and would not attract the middle-aged, upper class audience that solar energy pertains to. The novelty of the ad discredits the sophistication of the company and its product. Though the commercial may convince viewers to research solar energy, why should consumers trust Sunrun? With that being said, solar energy is a relatively difficult issue to comprehend because of its infrequency in comparison to traditional sources of energy. The ad is simple to digest and speaks to an audience that does not know much about solar energy. It sparks interest by declaring that solar panel implementation will decrease monthly energy expenditures. Similarly, the talking appliances draw attention to just how much energy we use on a daily basis. With a need for so much energy to fuel our daily activities, we need a cheap, efficient source of energy. The increasing price of traditional energy will veer economically minded persons towards solar panels. The feel of this modernized cartoon speaks to the forward thinking associated with environmentally conscious energy sources, and the puns throughout create the sense that reliance on solar energy results in a carefree lifestyle. The slogan “Switching to solar isn’t just smart. It’s brilliant.” alludes to the sun while evoking a sense of pathos by telling their audience that switching to solar is the right thing to do.

In contrast, the German energy company, Solon Corporation, released a video ad in 2007 showing batteries raining down from the sky and destroying the city. A fact flashes across the screen: “970 trillion kWh of energy fall from the skies every day” and then the chaos ceases. This commercial is powerful in that as the batteries fall and destroy the city, we see how destructive traditional energy sources are, yet when we rely on solar energy, the chaos stops. Immediately, the color scheme of the video changes from a dark, brown tint to the blues and greens of a solar panel filled grassy field on a sunny day. Traditionally, the metal of solar panels would seem to ruin the beautiful grassy landscape, but in contrast to the darkness and destruction of the city, it invokes a sense of desire. The commercial demands your attention, but at the end, Solon misses the opportunity to seal the deal of a very captivated audience. The end of their video refers to solar energy by saying, “Good we can’t see it […] Bad we don’t use it.” This pedestrian vocabulary and poorly constructed statement makes the company lose credibility and potential customers, so even though consumers may be attracted to the idea of solar energy from this commercial, they will be deterred from doing business with Solon based on this oversight.

Later that year, Solon Corporation released an ad with people walking around a rooftop covered in solar panels. Plastered on the photo is their newly patented slogan, “Don’t leave the planet to the stupid.” This slogan invokes dozens of negative connotations, and potentially offends a number of different individuals. It remains unclear who Solon intends to insult. Are they saying that policy makers are stupid, so they should not be trusted to change laws to promote unconventional energy sources? Are they saying that other energy companies are stupid, so when buying solar panels, you should choose Solon? Are they calling the general public is stupid, therefore you need to contract out to Solon for an energy resource? It is ambiguous, but depending on which stance you take, a variety of audiences could be offended. So why did Solon think this was a brilliant slogan? It appears that they are trying to invoke a sense of trust from consumers. They are attempting to get consumers to trust them with their energy needs instead of others, thus calling themselves smart and reliable. Ironically, this is the same company that used poor grammar in their previous commercial ad. Nevertheless, Solon’s ad captivates. Anyone who comes across this advertisement cannot help but do a double take. Did they really just say that? A huge part of the battle with advertising is catching the attention of prospective consumers, so for better or for worse, this slogan cannot be ignored. Moving beyond the slogan, the photo promotes a sense of comfort. The people walking amongst the solar panels reassure consumers that there are people behind the face of the technology in order to support the transition. It removes some of the mystery behind such an advanced and uncustomary technology. One possibly fatal assumption that the company is making is that everyone knows what solar energy panels look like. Within their ad, there is no mention of what the company does or what they are advertising. Solon misses the opportunity to appeal to a larger mass of people by choosing not to include information about solar energy.

Due to the hassle associated with changing energy sources and the upfront investment necessary to implement the technology, solar energy must speak to a progressive audience. Environmentally conscious individuals may be interested, but interest is not always enough for a commitment. The Sunrun video advertisement speaks to the wallets of consumers, claiming that solar panels will decrease your monthly energy expenditures. The Solon video advertises to the environmentally conscious while their graphically designed advertisement utilizes the technique of being bold to attract attention. Universally, each of these ads fail to outline the necessity of solar energy. Fear is a powerful motivator because it promotes a sense of urgency. With technology like unconventional energy sources, the desire to switch is diminished because the ominousness of depleting traditional energy sources seems so far off. However, if these ads were to outline the effect of global warming on the strength of storms like Hurricane Katrina, suddenly, the hassle to switch from existing energy sources to solar energy seems trivial. Furthermore, widespread distribution of an ad is crucial to gaining awareness, yet all of the aforementioned ads fail to do so. Whether or not they are successful in attracting an audience, their lack of prominence and detectability contributes to a weak impact concerning the future of energy resources and global sustainability.

Works Cited

Solon. “Don’t Leave the Planet to the Stupid.” 11 Dec. 2007: Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

<http://cdn5.triplepundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/solon-stupid.jpg>

Solon. [Solon Commercial]. 7 Mar. 2007: Web. 23 Nov. 2014 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P281f14R0-I>

Sunrun. “Run Your Kitchen on the Sun.” Vimeo 17 July 2014: Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

<http://vimeo.com/101004161>

Gossip

“My name is Gossip.

I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.

The more I am quoted the more I am believed.
I flourish at every level of society.
My victims are helpless.
They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.

To track me down is impossible.
The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
I am nobody’s friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.

I topple governments and ruin marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion.
I spawn suspicion and generate grief.

I make innocent people cry in their pillows.Even my name hisses.

I am called gossip.”

-Author Unknown

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-9xjvVkU_RyUlcwVEZkdXhDRTA/view?usp=sharing

Don’t Rely on the Smell Test

We use our sense of smell daily. The smell of fire smoke sends us off to search for safety. Smelling food gets our taste buds excited and our mouths watering. I’ve had friends smell their armpits to decide if they need to shower. We use our sense of smell for pleasure and care, but when our lives and health are at stake, we shouldn’t rely on it to keep us safe. Two prime examples of instances where relying on our sense of smell can cause trouble include the topics of foodborne illness and chemical gases.

At home, I’ll oftentimes ask my mother if food is still “good” or not. Really, I’m wondering if it’s safe to eat. No one wants to deal with the effects of food poisoning, but how can I resist the temptation to eating the raw cookie dough in the refrigerator that seems to be calling out my name. Eat me! Eat me! With meats, my mom uses the smell rule to determine if it has spoiled or not. If you open a bag of bacon and you are overwhelmed by an odor that makes your face scrunch up, I would not advise making that delicious BLT sandwich that you’ve been dreaming about since breakfast. Rancid smells often indicate that food has spoiled and been infected with bacteria, but other foodborne illnesses are undetectable by smell. Improper handling of meat and eggs oftentimes causes contamination, so if you’ve let eggs sit out for just a little bit too long in your car on the way home from the grocery store or you’ve let your ground beef stay in the fridge a day later than the “freeze by” date, it is better to be safer than sorry: throw it out! Most people know that sour smells from meat signify bacteria within the food, so they dispose of it; however, foodborne illnesses haven’t gone extinct. This is because most serious foodborne pathogens are undetectable. Salmonella is the leading pathogen found in patients that have been hospitalized, and it’s undetectable by smell. Salmonella contamination can occur anywhere along the spectrum of preparation from the farm all the way through the moment you put the food in your mouth. Without laboratory testing, Salmonella is undetectable, and though farm and grocery store care are beyond much of your control, what you do when you receive your meat is completely up to you. You have the power to greatly reduce contamination. Follow the proper care of your meat and eggs by cleaning it properly and keeping raw meat and eggs separate from other foods. Make sure to cook to cook your food to the designated temperature before consumption and keep perishable food refrigerated or frozen until ready to prepare. Do not consume meat or eggs past their expiration date. Beyond this, you should pay attention to recalls on products, and as a rule of thumb, if you’re unsure about your food it’s better to throw it than risk suffering major health consequences.

Another safety related concern where we rely on smell pertains to gases. If we smell gas leaking from a gas stove, we know to take action. However, smell cannot always combat against harmful gases; carbon monoxide is very dangerous yet undetectable to humans because it is colorless and odorless. Do not assume you are safe! Install CO monitors in your home to protect against poisoning.

Always remember, smell can help us stay safe, but relying on it is a big mistake. Just because their is a lack of smell doesn’t mean safety.

The power of knowledge

I attended a boarding school just seven miles from my house. I drove to school every day because I was a day student, but many of my friends lived in the dorms. One day after school during sophomore year, I walked into my friend’s room, per usual, expecting to find her tying her shoes to get ready for practice, but instead I found her hyperventilating on her bed in the midst of a panic attack. My friend was rarely seen without a smile on her face, so I couldn’t believe what I saw. What I didn’t know at the time, but quickly learned, was that my friend was hiding behind fake smiles and cheerfulness to keep everyone outside of the dark thoughts that encompassed her mind. No one knew what she was hiding.

Because I was the only one that knew her secret, she relied on me. Any time her thoughts turned sour and she began to think about a way out … not just of the situation … but permanently out of life, she would call me. I talked her down from having suicidal thoughts countless times, yet I couldn’t understand what was really going through her mind. She spent her time contemplating the meaning of life and studying philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche. It drove her insane.

Every time I got a missed call from her, my heart sunk. I was worried that my absence would lead her to do something irreversible. I was constantly frustrated that she couldn’t see the beauty in life anymore. She couldn’t see that she was surrounded by so many people that cared about her. She didn’t want to help herself improve permanently, so during the times times when I couldn’t be there for her she felt abandoned and the situation worsened.

I turned to research to help me to figure out what was going on in her head. Of course I’ve been sad before, but there has always been an underlying cause. In the case of my friend, there didn’t seem to be one, and pulling her out of the depression felt like a lost cause. The more I researched, the better I felt. I started to take some of the pressure off of myself. I was trying to be a good friend, but I found that in cases like hers, there was nothing I could do but be there for her. She needed professional psychological help and I was desperately trying but failing to provide that for her. I spoke with her mom and our school psychiatrist, and eventually, she left school for a semester to stay at a facility. Three years later, she is elated to be in college living a normal life.

I researched the different types of depressions and how to help a friend; I researched the best ways to talk to adults to make them see the severity of the situation; I researched facilities for dealing with psychological problems; I researched ways to broach the idea to her of getting adults involved. I didn’t want to lose her trust, but I couldn’t help her on my own. The more I read, the less burdened I felt. There is power in knowing, and were so lucky to have so many resources just a few clicks away.

Importance of Literature

“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” possesses the typical contents of classroom literature: metaphors, allusions to other classic works, carefully crafted plots. Yet, instead of skimming or relying on online summaries, students are joyfully reading it, even when assigned in the classroom. Why?

 

Unfortunately, literature oftentimes provokes negatives thoughts regarding hard work, dense readings, and mandatory fun. For many, reading serves as a pleasant pastime, but the minute a professor assigns the reading, the joy oftentimes slips away. I have found that even books I wanted to read for pleasure became painful when I read them in class. That is, however, until Senior year when I enrolled in an English class with I teacher I really connected with in a class with students willing to discuss. For the first time, the teacher did not spend hours each week painfully dissecting ancient, unrelatable texts. She did not lecture or talk at us, yet instead, she provoked thought and conversation. Our entire class got involved, and the discussion enriched the readings. It was fascinating to hear others’ interpretations of the same given passage. They brought out points that I missed and introduced new perspectives on my own ideas. My classmates wanted to read because if you did not, you missed out on the enthusiasm that filled the room each day.

 

When I read, I invest myself fully in the character, so when they experience shortcomings or make mistakes, I feel as if I have made them as well. Thus, without ever having to make the mistakes on my own, I am able to learn and grow as a person. We study in school to enrich our minds and grow as people, so whether you are learning the power of metaphors or experiencing life lessons first hand, literature serves great purposes. Studying provocative novels regarding socials issues like race, gender, or sexuality, provokes important conversations that are necessary in our society. The Invisible Man and Lolita both spent time on the banned books list, but the discussion sparked by these novels are riveting and imperative. We need this type of literature in the classroom to bring these important social issues to the classroom.

 

Literature can only serve a purpose if read. Arthur Conan Doyle writes with the contents of typical classroom literature while engaging his audience with suspense and creativity in each story; he undeniably gets people reading. Though Shakespeare’s writing is thought provoking, very few young readers can identify with any aspect of his plays, so reading becomes a chore. Works similar to and including Doyle’s should be read until students have a desire and an appreciation for reading. Until then, if asked to read such dense works, students will come to resent literature and stop reading, so the benefits can never be attained.

Ask Amy

Attention males of the world: do NOT pay to have others write letters to your significant other for you. Though this may seem obvious, the 2013 hit movie, Her, takes place in a futuristic and technologically superior society, and the main character, Theodore, makes a living writing letters for people. He struggles with depression throughout his divorce, yet continues to write such beautiful tributes to love that people purchase and gift to their loved ones as if he/she wrote it by his/her self.  Speaking from personal experience, girls love to be flattered. We love flowers, love letters, jewelry, and all other things cliched, but in this scenario, the thought really counts. If you have someone else write your letter, you remove the intimacy that we crave. Plus, when you claim other’s work as your own, you’re adding an unnecessary element of deception to your relationship, so instead of flattering your significant other, you may find yourself single.

Theodore’s occupation much resembles Ed Dante’s, which he describes in “The Shadow Scholar”: Students write to him, begging for help, and in exchange for money, he writes papers for them. Similar to Theodore, his clients take all of the credit. Do you really want someone else professing their love to your sweetie for you? Consider the consequences; if you’re not a very romantic person in the first place (which I’m assuming you’re not if you’re considering paying someone to write a letter instead of doing it yourself), what makes you think that your sweetheart will believe that such an eloquently written note came from you? Do you really want to introduce doubt and deception into your relationship over a fake love letter? If you desperately struggle to find find the words to express yourself, giver her a poem by a well-known author, and tell her it reminds you of her. She’ll love that you took the time to search for a poem, and it’s much more intimate to be a part of the selection process rather than letting a third party do the work for you.

Ironically, while writing such beautiful letters, Theodore struggles with depression due to his ongoing divorce. He lost faith in love, yet his job is to help others profess it. As a result, not only is the letter written by someone else, but its content isn’t even stemming from a deep, passionate love. If you want to win over a girl’s heart, listen to her, make memories with her, reminisce, attempt to write a letter to the best of your ability. All of these options are superior to false feelings from a disheartened, third party man.

 

Her. Dir. Spike Jones. Perf. Joaquin Phoenix, Amy McAdams, and Scarlett Johansson. Annapurna Pictures, 2013. Film.

Dante, Ed. “The Shadow Scholar.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education Inc., 12 Nov. 2010. Web. 26 Aug. 2014.

Dear Jackie

Dear Jack,

How are you, Kiddo? What’s it like being an only child? Nick left for college last year and Daniel and I left this year, so within twelve months, you went from being the youngest of four kids to being an only child! Daniel, Nick and I were always in school together, so there was always someone to watch out for me. That also meant that with any slip up, Mom and Dad were sure to find out. Things are going to be different for you. When you attend high school next year, you’re going to have to monitor yourself. You’ll be inclined to fall victim to many different temptations. I’m not worried about you getting involved with the kids at parties trying to experiment; Mom and Dad have been conditioning you to be strong and say no since you came out of the womb, and you know that Daniel, Nick and I will kick your butt if we find out that you drink. With that being said, you may not be as familiar with the temptation to cheat.

Academic dishonesty can range anywhere from copying homework to peeking at your neighbor’s paper on a test. I read an article, called “The Shadow Scholar”, about a man that gets paid to write students’ papers for them. They contact him with an assignment, and he writes without pause for hours at a time. This man goes by Dante, though his real name is unknown. Dante doesn’t even care that the students take credit for all of the writing that he does for them because he ends up earning $66,000 every year. One time, a girl asked him to write a seventy-five page paper in one week, and he did it, no problem. He has written so many papers that he barely has to think anymore. His fingers hit the keyboard, and the words just flow out onto the page.

Long papers take a ton of research, time, and organization, and rich kids are just too lazy. It’s even harder for kids who learn English as a second language, so they are willing to pay him, too. It’s horrifying that people buy their grades instead of earning them. You are at school to learn, and cheating, especially on this scale, cannot sustain you. It’s so expensive to buy the paper, and in the mean time, you’re compromising your integrity and morals. Think about this: one day, you’re taking a test and the answer to a question slips your mind; you know you studied it and can picture the answer to the question in your notes, but you cannot recall the information to save your life. Sitting right next to you is a future Princeton graduate… Resist the temptation! I’m begging you. It’s better to sacrifice one point than to sacrifice your integrity. What if you get caught? You’ll fail the assignment and be forced to attend a disciplinary council meeting. Colleges take cheating very seriously, and by cheating to gain one extra point on a test, you could be sacrificing an acceptance to your dream university. I’ve met kids that cheat more than they do their own work and never get caught. You may gain confidence that since they cheat all the time, if you cheat once, everything will be completely fine. That may be the case, but who knows? Kids are caught weekly, and it could be you.

You’re so bright, and you can make such an amazing future for yourself as long as you work hard. Be true to yourself and do what you know is right. You’ll find that learning to work diligently and efficiently will sustain you much longer than cheating. When you cheat, you can only be as good as the people around you, so you’ll never be able to reach your full potential.

I love you so much! I can’t wait to see you when I’m home. Only seventeen more days!

Love,

Hal

Truths Hidden Behind Technology

The 1959 hit movie, Pillow Talk, revolves around a man, named Brad, who creates a fake identity for himself in order to seduce Jan, the woman with whom he shares his party line. The Southwestern Bell Telephone Company slogan declaring “Your Voice is You” (Fischer 41), but is it really? As witnessed in the film, Brad takes advantage of the fact that deception is easy through the phone. He entertains his many girlfriends without them ever detecting. Then, he serves as the antagonist to Jan, while simultaneously serving as her lover, Rex, because true identities cannot be seen through the phone. Jan knows she’s sharing a phone line with a womanizer, yet falls in love with him in real life. Though technology has many benefits, it has serious downfalls.

* * *

On average, one-third of college students find themselves in long distance relationships, and you would think that with advanced technologies, including Skpye, Facetime, texts, and phone calls, daily interactions would be more or less the same as when couples were together; however, according to Buchele, college relationships normally fizzle three months into their first year apart. What does this say about long distance relationships? Simply put, unlimited hours on Skype cannot replace the arms of a loved one when a hug is deeply needed. Plus, living separately, couples don’t know the ins and outs of their partners’ lives. The inevitably of unknowns may destroy the relationship. Phones, though helpful, cannot possibly bridge the gap without visits or a couple’s ability to accept the unknowns.

In an oddly similar manner, Brad, though living just moments from Jan’s house, brings this sense of unknown into his relationship. He deceives her, thus eventually destroying their relationship. While in long-distance relationships, the unknowns are often unintentional, Brad purposefully hides his double life from his significant other, knowing she would never fall for him if she knew his true identity. Thus, effects of hidden truths are magnified.

Though the slogan “Your Voice is You” speaks to audiences, and grabs hold of our need to feel connected, technology cannot replace human contact, and oftentimes, it serves as a barrier. Jan, a normally sweet lady, rudely ends Brad’s conversations, operating under the assumption that she won’t ever have to face him in person. She hides behind technology. Code-switching is then seen in full effect during the scene where she is lying in bed: she answers the phone with a sweet, soft tone, assuming her “Rex” is calling, then automatically switches to gruff and demanding when she realizes it’s Brad.

As Fischer addresses, phone companies began advertising that you would be missing out without a telephone. This targeted people’s fears of social exile, so sales skyrocketed. Nowadays, people have trouble distancing themselves from technology for even a second. It’s important that we attempt to seek a balance between technology use and personal connections and acknowledge that they can exist outside of one another.

Sources:

Fischer, Claude S. “”Touch Someone”: The Telephone Industry Discovers Sociability.”Technology and Culture 29.1 (1988): 32-61. JSTOR. 1 Jan. 1988. Web. 16 Sept. 2014.

Buchele, Grace. “9 (Exclusive) Benefits of Being in a Long Distance Relationship.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 16 Sept. 2014.

As a Professor in a World of Cheaters

As a professor, I would be appalled by Dante’s confession. Academic dishonesty extends to those who facilitate cheating students, so the idea that professors are to blame for students using Dante’s services is infuriating. Almost every institution has a clearly outlined Honor Code for which students are uniformly held accountable, so the fact that they can buy papers without getting caught does not make cheating any less immoral. Dante is violating a moral code should confess to his wrongdoings.
However, as a professor, I would have the “well it can’t be my students” attitude. Dante accepts assignments from students that know so little English, that they cannot form sentences clearly enough to ask for his assistance. No one wants to be the professor that has to admit that he/she thought a beginners English student could write a coherent research paper. As we discussed Dante’s confession in class, the idea seemed distant and far-fetched. I couldn’t imagine anyone at Emory every buying a research paper, but who knows! If professors cannot suspect anything, who am I to assume that I haven’t come into contact with one of Dante’s thousands of clients.
With an Honor Code implemented, students know the wrongness of cheating, so I would feel no need to change my class structure. If students are willing to purchase their way through school, they will find a way to cheat no matter what I do. Unless of course I took Goldsmith’s approach. I cannot say that I would like to take his class. With the assignment of buying your final research paper, the pressure of finding the perfect paper merely replaces the pressure of writing one. It would take hours to sift through papers written and unedited by the Dante’s of the world, so it doesn’t seem worth it. With that being said, I love the idea of taking the works of others and editing them. Oftentimes in writing, the editing process consumes more time than writing, and it has the ability to take a paper from “good” to beautiful, moving, or even life changing. Editing published works of others would give students the opportunity to personalize stories or papers to possibly improve them or shape them how they please. This exercise would positively influence their future papers, giving them confidence in the editing process to turn a mediocre work into something “A” worthy. More time needs to be spent teaching efficient research techniques so that writers possess the drive and confidence to complete their assignments on their own.