Learning from 2013 Marketing Flops

As we look to the New Year, we are hoping for a new start. While 2013 saw many successful marketing campaigns – unfortunately sometimes, despite great efforts marketing messages just don’t work and a campaign goes from a win to a flop. However, even the most unsuccessful marketing campaigns can have some lessons to be learned from. I have outlined the top marketing flops of 2013, in hopes that you can learn from these terrible mistakes.

JC Penny’s Lesson: Know Thy Customer

When JC Penny changed their marketing strategy by trying to extend deals and offer promotions for a longer time it not only confused consumers but most just stopped shopping in the store all together. Under the leadership of Ron Johnson, JC Penny made marketing blunder after blunder by not paying attention to their core customers’ needs, and as a result JC Penny had its worst year in decades. The important lesson to take away from this is that marketers must really know their customer before suddenly changing a brand’s marketing message. In the case of JC Penny their customers has become accustomed to short sales and coupons, instead of supplementing this with maybe mobile or social media capabilities, they chose to change quickly and drastically, thus insulting their customer by showing them they really didn’t know them that well after all.

Go Daddy’s Lesson: Don’t Make Consumers Squirm

Consumers, don’t necessarily want to feel themselves blushing every time they see your marketing message, Go Daddy’s 2013 Super Bowl ad did just that. The ad was labeled as sexist, awful and gross within the first few hours of it being aired.

It was meant to start a conversation but it was all negative. In fact, the ad was so offensive that it caused Go Daddy to change their whole message, and they announced in October 2013 that they were done with “sexy” ads for good.

Marketers who want to push the envelope must make sure their messaging continues a conversation about their brand not just the content of the ad. In a marketing success, Volvo’s ad with Jean-Claude Van Damme, is different, causing a conversation, and showing the capabilities of Volvo’s vehicles all at the same time.

AT&T, and Home Depot’s Lesson: Think before You Tweet

Twitter is supposed to be a way to engage with consumers on an instantaneous and personal level. Everything is live in Twitter, so marketers must really be sure they think before tweeting messages to the masses. Two brands that learned this lesson in 2013 were Home Depot and AT&T. In the case of AT&T a tweet about 9-11, that was used as a platform to advertise a new phone did not go over well with consumers and the company was blasted on Twitter and forced to delete the tweet. For Home Depot, it was a racist tweet of a drum line, which had consumers and the NAACP fuming on Twitter. In Home Depot’s case, it was a PR firm that was in charge of their Twitter account that posted but it provides another important message for brands that they should be in close contact with 3rd party marketing sources that do such work for them.

J.P. Morgan’s Lesson: Know Your Brand’s Sentiment with the Public

Financial giant, J.P. Morgan thought it would be a good idea a few weeks ago to engage with consumers on Twitter through a Q&A session. What they did not take into consideration was the public sentiment of their brand on the internet and as soon as the Q&A session began, an angry public took over.  Soon tweets from the public became rolling, but they were far from light hearted – for example, “Can I have my house back? #AskJPM”. J.P. Morgan becoming overwhelmed with the situation, gave up, shut down the Q&A and cancelled any future sessions. When marketers decide to open up a live dialogue on such a large platform, they must be prepared to handle any response; furthermore it is important that there is awareness among those in the company of the public sentiment of your brand. If a brand is controversial they need to be aware of how they approach the public, otherwise they run the risk of alienating consumers even more.

Trends for 2013

2013 represents a new year for not just individuals, but industries as well. In the print media industry, as we all know, things are constantly changing – so what will be the trends and changes for the industry in 2013? I give my top 5 picks in no particular order.

The Actual Practice of a Buzz Word

Cross Media Marketing – it is the buzzword that got thrown out a lot in the past couple of years in the print media industry. However, 2012 was the year when consumers really saw the applications of it come to them in full force: for example, the Chick-fil-A add campaign that blew up marketing blogs and Forbes Magazine. Chick-fil-A did this by sending out a direct mail piece to loyal customers using a PURL that drove these customers to Facebook that captured more information and received a special promotion. After that information was captured, customers could share the promotion with their Facebook friends and encourage new people to sign up. The results? Increased store activation or loyalty cards by 104% (Incubator, 2012).

From Chik-Fil-A
From Chik-Fil-A

With the success of this campaign in 2012, you can bet we will be seeing more of this in 2013.

Pantone Everything….

Pantone announced in December 2012 that Emerald green was to be the color of the year in 2013, but the presence of the company has expanded much further (Pantone.com). The popularity of the company and Pantone products really entered the market place in 2012. From the cellphone cases in Urban Outfitters to the new eye palettes just released by Sephora for 2013 – Pantone is turning into less of a color system and more of a marketing tool for larger chains. With the rise in customization in everything else, why wouldn’t someone want to have their own Pantone color just for them?

From beautezine.com
From beautezine.com

Get ready world, Pantone is no longer for print geeks, it’s for the mass market now.

Things Will Get Wider

EFI, one of the world’s leaders in wide format inkjet technology, during a showcase “highlighted the enormous potential growth opportunities in color digital printing for display graphics, predicted to grow by 20% year-on-year, and for digital label printing with 35% growth” for 2013 (Francis, par 3). As need for personalization grows even more in 2013 the use of wide format inkjet will increase. These printers allow for the single one stop shop digital system that includes finishing – an amazing addition for turnaround and those looking to get into wide format production (Francis, par 5).

From EFI
From EFI

Everyone Gets the Luxury Treatment

With the rise in digital magazines and open access to well designed publications online, one might think that the days of the printed book are over. That may only be half true. As digital publishing grows, really beautiful luxury printed books will rise. Luke O’Neill, author of the graphic design book, Computer Arts Collection, was quoted as saying “In 2013, I think there will be continued experimentation with print techniques and innovative finishes to really enhance the experience for the consumer who still likes to hold something in their hands” (Carney, par 13). Recent publications, like the graphic novel, Building Stories by Chris Ware offer just that experience to readers by incorporating multiple pieces of printed materials to make a unique story (check this book out it is AMAZING).

From Smithsonian
From Smithsonian

You Must Respond

In 2013 there is one thing everyone can count on – more digital devices. Whether it is iPhone version 55 or a new monitor, we are going to have more ways to look at cats online than ever before. That is why responsive design for media devices will become more important than ever (Qayyum, par 4). In combination with multi-touch campaigns, this trend will blend across multiple platforms.

From Creative Blog
From Creative Blog


• Carney, R. (n.d.). Design trend predictions for 2013 | Design | Creative Bloq. Creative Bloq | Your daily dose of design tips and inspiration | Creative Bloq. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://www.creativebloq.com/design/trend-predictions-2013-11121414
• (2012). Chik-fil-A. Incubator, 3, 30.
• Francis, J. (n.d.). EFI showcases product roadmap at Connect. Print Week. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://www.printweek.com/news/1167385/EFI-showcases-product-roadmap-Connect/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH
• Johnson, P. (n.d.). Chick-fil-A Introduces the Next Hot New Trend in Marketing – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/philjohnson/2012/08/10/chick-fil-a-introduces-the-next-new-trend/
• Pantone. (n.d.). Pantone. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://www.pantone.com
• Qayyum, A. (n.d.). Six Expected Web Design Trends in 2013. Free Online Resources For Developers, Designers and Photographers @Smashing Hub. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from http://smashinghub.com/web-design-trends-in-2013.htm
• Sephora. (n.d.). Pantone Universe + Sephora. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://www.sephora.com

Custom Tags for Bridge

Working within a news organization there can be many files and often times metadata can become an issue when dealing with so many files. Recently, I have been working on learning to code within XML. It was through this new skill that I was able to code these trial custom metadata panels for use in Bridge. Theoretically our student news organization at RIT could use these panels to more accurately tag their files.

An example of the code used below:

<xmp_definitions xmlns:ui=”http://ns.adobe.com/xmp/fileinfo/ui/”&gt;
<xmp_schema prefix=”spmetc” namespace=”http://spmetc.cias.rit.edu&#8221;
description=”$$$/AWS/FileInfoLib/Panels/spmetc/PanelDescription=Custom metadata for spmetc”>
<!– simple properties –>

<!–This isn’t working correctly
<xmp_property name=”Status” category=”external” label=”$$$/Custom/Property/status_Label=Status:” type=”closedchoice” element_type=”text”>
<xmp_choice raw_value=”Unpublished” label=”$$$/Custom/Property/Choice_unpublished=unpublished”/>
<xmp_choice raw_value=”Published” label=”$$$/Custom/Property/Choice_published=Published”/>

<!–Use this–>
<xmp_property name=”event” category=”external” label=”$$$/Custom/Property/EventLabel=Event:”
<!– End of using this–>

<xmp_property name=”People” category=”external” type=”bag”
label=”$$$/Custom/Property/PeopleInput_Label=People:” element_type=”text” ui:multiLine=”true”


File Preservation of Digital Images

The troubles of file format preservation can be especially hard for such professions as photography. Photographers must deal with not only a lack of a hard copy of their work but also the issues of proprietary file formats with camera manufactures and image editing software. For example, the Nikon .NEF file used, as the company’s proprietary camera RAW file format will not even open in such systems as Adobe Bridge depending on the year the camera was produced and the version of .NEF file provided.

This could render collections of photographs useless. To help evade such issues the Digital Image Submission Criteria (DISC) standards have been provided by the IDEAlliance. The DISC standards recommend that of a JPEG high quality (level 8 ) and DNG a more universal RAW file format as delivery file formats (64).  These file formats are acceptable for file delivery but are they archival? This question can be answered by expanding upon our current knowledge of archival formats.

According to the Sustainability of Digital Formats Planning for Library of Congress Collections to be considered for archival status, certain aspects of the file must be measured. The first is disclosure; this means the amount of documentation that exists of over the created file (par 3). If it is an open source file format, there is more information than that of a proprietary allowing for the proper amount of information for a file to be properly preserved. Files are also measured on their adoption, if the format is widely used it allows for longer life in the digital world (par 7). Transparency “refers to the degree to which the digital representation is open to direct analysis with basic tools, including human readability using a text-only editor” (par 10).

Another factor is whether a file format allows for self-documentation through metadata, the idea being that if you can write within the file there may be clues on how to keep in an expectable condition for later use (par 16). It is also important to mention that external dependencies of the file type, if the file depends to much on specific hardware it may be tough to continue use if a digital system needs to be upgraded (par 20). Lastly, any patents and technical protection mechanisms must be considered to make sure that there is always access to the file and that multiple users are still able to obtain and work with it (par 22).

In regards to the DNG file format is considered to pass many of the requirements offered by the Library of Congress. “DNG is publicly documented, it is far more likely that raw images stored as DNG files will be readable by software in the distant future, making DNG a safer choice for archival” (Adobe Systems Incorporated 10). The public documentation of the metadata of the DNG file is also readily available allowing software to continue to read the files in the future (Adobe Systems Incorporated 10). As an extension of the TIFF 6.0 file format it is also compatible with the TIFF-EP standard and if necessary can “simultaneously comply” with the Digital Negative Standard as well (Adobe Systems Incorporated 10). This means that not only should file reader except a .DNG extension but also a .TIFF extension, opening up image storage into TIFF files as well (Adobe Systems Incorporated 11).

The color maintenance in the DNG file is rated to be excellent and allows for support of ICC profiles (Library of Congress par 4). This is very good when putting these files into a cross media workflow because it allows for the support and conversion of color profiles upon output. DNG also offers a way to create a standard way to encoder the raw sensor data from the camera and a few manufactures have begun to include DNG as an option for capture (OpenRAW Organization par 7). The format of the file is also intended for nondestructive image editing allowing for “for use with image manipulation tools that execute a variety of processes to transform the DNG into “pictures” suitable for different outputs” (Library of Congress par 4). Currently the compression of the image files is minimal when working with in the DNG format (Adobe Systems Incorporated 15). Transparency of the file is found only within the wrapper and any encoded data needs tools render (Library of Congress par 3).

Regarding the JPEG, file format is similar to the RAW in that it is fully disclosed and is documented by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) (Library of Congress par 3). It has also been documented in the ISO standard in ISO/IEC 10918-1:1994 (JSTOR par 1). The transparency of the JPEG depends upon the type of software it does not have any external dependencies when it comes to reading or using the file (Library of Congress par 3). The file format has limited ability for technical metadata this would include such things as f-stop and aperture (Library Congress par 4). Color maintenance is limited and according to the Library of Congress does not support all ICC profiles.

The appeal of the JPEG file format that unlike DNG, the file format contains wide acceptance for digital capture and can be found in almost every camera or scanner as a capture option. However, even though the file format is available for capture it is not suggested due to the lossy compression when capturing data (Library Congress par 6). It should be noted that on some digital cameras there is an option for high quality jpeg. “It is using the same resolution as the RAW setting, assuring maximum image quality” (Smith par 5). Currently, Adobe Photoshop allows for JPEG and TIFF files to be opened and edited in the Camera Raw dialog (Adobe par 2).

Both the DNG and JPEG formats can be found to be file formats that are acceptable for long term preservation of files. However, it is important to note that each file has an appropriate place within the cross media workflow. The DISC standards make note that the DNG and JPEG are appropriate method of delivery and does not mention capture. However, if when capturing digital file formats it is important to use the highest quality possible so this maybe when a worker within the CMW uses a DNG file.

Due to the limited bit depth of the JPEG a DNG might also be best when editing images within the CMW. However, when a preview of an image is needed in the CMW a JPEG file with its compressed format would be ideal for fast loading time. Also if working with a website in a CMW a JPEG file format would be an excellent deliverable for such an output. It is important to note that were the final file will end up is the path it should follow within the CMW.

It is important to evaluate and migrate what is needed/wanted at least every five years when working with digital files (Gyor par 8). It is also important to pay attention to industry trends when working with files so that as formats fall out of favor the information they contain can be migrated over to a file format that allows for better preservation. By paying attention to what makes a file long lasting you are able to then extend the life of not only your files but the cross media workflows, content management systems and digital asset management systems that support it.

Taxonomy of Keywords & Their Importance

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, there is a new need for standardization of digital media files. The ways in which these files are stored are important, but even more so are the ways in which metadata is applied to allow one to search for a file once it has been placed within a content management system.

While looking at metadata standards, it is important to think about image capture standards as well. Images, especially those captured digitally, must meet certain criteria in order to be stored over a period of time, as well as allow for multiple uses. One example of image capture standards is the Digital Image Submission Criteria (DISC) standards provided by the IDEAlliance. DISC gives advice on how to store images for maximum reproduction in print and other media, while also lending itself to proper archival storage of digital images and files.

The DISC standards allow for digital media creators and publishers to deal with common problems found within a digital workflow. By following image standards, the digital file creator is able to determine the minimum quality level for digital images for printed output. Such standards also provide a way of creating a contract between the creator of the file and the acceptor, by creating guidelines specifying how images will be accepted or rejected. The DISC surveys also determine what format images should be submitted in. For example, in our Xinet project it was determined that images would be submitted as tiff files, using LAB color space and be at least 8 bit depth. A final aspect is how images should be labeled so that they fit within the digital workflow. This allows the image takers to create a standard to reach towards when outputting their work to the collective (Dougherty 2).

When images are rejected, it is understood that it is because the files did not meet the requirements laid out by the image standards. It is common for photographers and other digital file creators to not even receive payment for their work in the digital workflow world if their files do not follow the standards set forth by the receiving digital workflow. In a way, standards for image capture serves as a contract for both parties involved in the digital workflow.

Metadata is often utilized within the DISC standards. One aspect of metadata is the use of keywords to allow files to be searched. An important part of this includes the use of keywords. Keywords are part of an access structure, which “relates content types or publication pages to each other or to an external set of concepts that can be used to get to a particular content type” (Boiko par 40). Keywords fall within the indexing structure of metadata in the ranking of access structures making it the one of the most important fields. Keyword entry may come in different forms, for example in the IPTC Core, in which there is a spot for keywords. Similarly, within some museum systems there is a “Subject Matter—Description…A description of the work in terms of the generic elements of the image or images depicted in, on, or by it,” which may also hold keywords (Harpring par 10).

It is important when using keywords that taxonomy is applied to them. Since keywords may be free text, it is important to have a standard when using them (Dougherty 6). Taxonomy allows for  “an orderly classification that explicitly expresses the relationships, usually hierarchical (e.g., genus/species, whole/part, class/instance), between and among the things being classified” (Gill par 80). It is also important to keep in mind that many times keywords are known as open lists so you must “make sure that you trust users to add new items responsibly” (Boiko 10). When creating keywords, you must keep in mind the result – an extensible series of categories for organizing digital assets into meaningful sets (Bock 4).

“Using a taxonomy, we know how to relate one term in the information hierarchy to another” (Bock 5). If we look at this from the perspective of a cataloger of an art museum, it may take place in three steps. The first is where keywords entered may be generic, such as “nude” or “woman”, which are elements that would be easily observable to any person that is viewing the work. The next level would be identification, providing information that is generally more specific, such as “Birth of Venus.” Finally, the last set of keywords would deal with an even more specific set of terms that allow for interpretation, for example “Sandro Botticelli Classiest representation of Venus Birth” (Harpring par 20).

In respect to my experience with Xinet for a classproject, the keywords were chosen in a similar fashion to the hierarchy described in Introduction to Art Image Access, Issues, Tools, Standards, and Strategies. The first level of keywords for the images represents an overall knowledge of the subject matter. For example, the topic chosen for the images was baked goods, so the first keyword to be entered was “food” since this is a general term for anything editable (and the baked goods are food). Next, a keyword identifying the type of food was added – bakery. Since the baked goods came from a specific store, it was also added so that someone searching for the bakery name would be able to find it, along with “menu” to denote that this may be found year round in their store. In addition, “sweets” was added to show the type of baked good in the photo. Finally, the specific name of the baked good was added, “vanilla bean slice”.

It is important to use taxonomy within any type of database when dealing with digital media, as it allows users of all occupations and knowledge bases to easily search for images in a timely manner while preserving the original intent of the digital media.




Bock, G. E. (2005, October). Designing Metadata An Implementers Guide for Organizing and Using Digital Assets. Bock and Company, 1, 21.


Boiko, Bob. (2005). Content management bible, 2nd edition.

[Books24x7 version] Available from.


Dougherty, J., & Lam, K. w. (2007, May). DISC 2007 Specifications and Guidelines. Graphic Arts Monthly, 1, 9.


Gill, T., Gilliland, A. J., Whalen, M., & Woodley, M. S. (n.d.). Introduction to Metadata (Research at the Getty). The Getty. Retrieved January 1, 2011, from web.


Layne, S. S., Harpring, P., Hourihane, C., & Sundt, C. L. (n.d.). Introduction to Art Image Access (Research at the Getty). The Getty. Retrieved January 1, 2011, from web.