You are currently browsing Amanda Kirkland’s articles.

Summertime is FINALLY here. You know what that means: Sunshine. Swimming. Margaritas. Interns Galore. This Summer, Guest Relations Marketing has added to the team two new interns. World, meet Melissa and Alex.

photo 3

 

Melissa Lummus
Lover of tea-cup pigs.
Hater of all-things seafood.
Whiz on the golf course.
Terrified of the ocean.

Melissa just graduated from The University of Alabama with her Bachelors in Marketing. Melissa is most looking forward to starting a career in an industry that is always changing. “I loved the idea of working in a fast-paced environment, being challenged and having the opportunity to work with a variety of clients in different industries,” says Melissa. “I look forward to building relationships with clients and working with them to achieve their goals.”

atlmkt-showroomBesides this internship at Guest Relations Marketing (obviously) the highlight of Melissa’s professional career has been her involvement with the America’s Mart Tradeshow last Summer. She attended a press walk-through with a magazine and later worked with that magazine to set up an article about products.

Melissa is a Zealot for:
Alabama Football, Atlanta Braves, Shopping & the Lake

Melissa’s Bucket List includes:
Attend The Masters
Attend The Kentucky Derby
Travel to Spain and Ireland

 

 
Alexandra Holzworth
Rocks out to country music. Constantly.
Believes the best present is an “experience.”
Puts ketchup on almost anything remotely socially acceptable.

Alex is a Senior at the University of Georgia, double majoring in Communication and Advertising. She became interested in journalism at a young age. “Throughout middle and high school, I watched Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls most every day. When I decided to attend the University of Georgia, I knew I wanted to be a part of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications,” says Alex. “I aspire to someday work as a creative in advertising. My dream is to help build and write ad campaigns that change hearts and minds in addition to sales.”

378500_366593856764174_532844088_nAs a lover of music, she is still actively involved with Mother Plug Music — a company dedicated to promoting artists in the Athens, GA and Birmingham, AL music scene. “Mother Plug Music was my first internship,” says Alex. “In 2012, the company was nothing more than a Facebook page that shared links to band’s websites. Now, Mother Plug provides users with a concert calendar, promotes artists’ albums on iTunes and works to sell tickets to their shows. We’re even hosting our very first concert starring Anders Osbourne on August 14 at Birmingham’s Avondale Brewing Company. Seeing Mother Plug Music and my responsibility within the company grow has been one of my most rewarding experiences of my life.”

Alex is a Zealot for:
theSkimm, Disney, Heinz & Mad Men

Alex’s Bucket List includes:
Hike the entire Appalachian Trail
Attend the Cannes Lions International Film Festival

Advertisements

Looking for a quick primer on how to use social media in your job? The Bootcamp seminar will give you the steps and confidence to jump into the social media arena. Whether social media is an area that is a part of your responsibilities or you simply want to be more knowledgeable on how to manage staff, vendors or marketing programs, The Bootcamp offers a superb learning opportunity.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 5.01.49 PMThe Bootcamp is a collaborative effort between the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Georgia and Guest Relations Marketing. Each seminar is limited to 20 participants to ensure personalized learning. Seminars begin promptly at 9:00 am, at the Terry College of Business Executive Education Center in Buckhead, and concludes at 4:00 pm. Lunch and parking validation is provided. Participants are encouraged to bring a wireless laptop computer or tablet as real-time applications and examples will be explored.

We have limited spots for this program, but ask you to share with those who might benefit from this program. The Bootcamp is offered:

Tuesday, February 18th
Thursday, March 20th
Thursday, April 24th

Click here to learn more or register for The Bootcamp.

Guest Relations created a program in September 2009 to honor the courageous fight of children with cancer.  CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time initially featured the personal story of 30 children.  Promoted in social media and other online communications, the program has grown over 5 years to feature nearly 400 children.   The campaign has raised to-date  $1,017,291 towards research aimed at solving children’s cancers.

The Atlanta Journal-Constution recently featured the program.

AJC_3Cs_LOGO_SKweb

BY MARK DAVIS – THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

For 30 days, they shared their stories: the athlete who didn’t let amputation keep him off the lacrosse field, the kid who inspired people even as he lay dying, the sisters who share a bond more profound than blood. Their stories were different — the same, too. Each is young, and has cancer. Some have licked the disease, and are in remission; others remain in a literal fight for their lives. A few have lost that fight.

In September CURE Childhood Cancer, a Dunwoody nonprofit, featured nearly 100 youthful cancer patients in a month-long fund-raiser, Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time. People who visited the organization’s web site could read each child’s store and make an online contribution.
The goal: raising $200,000 to fund childhood cancer research. What it had raised by month’s end: $214,000.

The money will help bridge the funding gap between fighting adult cancer and childhood cancer, said Kristen Connor, CURE’s executive director.
“We don’t (spend) anything to prevent childhood cancer,” she said. “I think that’s wrong.”  Less than 5 percent of the federal government’s annual total funding for cancer research is dedicated to various forms of childhood cancer, according to the National Institute of Health.  At the same time, said Connor, cancer is the No. 2 killer of American youth, defined as newborns to 21-year-olds. Only accidents claim more young lives.
Childhood cancer often isn’t the same as that afflicting adults. Grown-ups, for example, may contract cancer of the lung, colon, breast. Children are more apt to develop cancer in soft tissues, or in growing bones.  About 14,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 1.6 million men and women will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

For Connor, the numbers are more than an abstract. Twelve years ago, physicians diagnosed her son, Brandon, with neuroblastoma, a cancerous growth on his spine. The boy was a month old, and she was terrified.  The cancer has been in remission for nearly a decade, and Brandon recently celebrated a birthday. But the experience so profoundly changed his mom that Connor gave up her career at an Atlanta law firm to lead CURE.  “Brandon was lucky,” she said. “But a lot of others haven’t been.”

Some struggled against a disease that proved too much for their young bodies. Silas Edenfield was 3 when physicians diagnosed him with type IV hepatoblastoma, liver cancer. The boy, who lived near Savannah, underwent six surgeries over a 16-month period. He faced chemotherapy, blood tests and hundreds of nights away from home. In May, 10 days short of his fifth birthday, Silas died.  His is one of the stories on CURE’s site. By then end of September, people who’d read his story online had contributed more than more than $2,000 in donations in his name.

Other stories show that cancer is not insurmountable. Sean Dever was 11 when he developed osteosarcoma, bone cancer, above the knee. Surgeons removed the cancerous segment, then reattached the ankle and foot to his knee, rotating the joint so it serves as a new knee. Colleges are recruiting the Marietta resident, now a high school senior, for their lacrosse teams.

Consider the stories of Olivia and Elena Tate. Gwinnett sisters, each was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnoses came five years apart, and on the same day.

April 2, 2004: The Tate family was on vacation in Florida when Olivia’s parents noticed their 2-year-old daughter was tilting her head to one side. She stumbled when she walked. When the child started holding her head and vomiting, the Tates rushed her to a hospital. A CAT scan revealed a brain tumor. A helicopter took her from Florida toChildren’s Healthcare of Atlanta where Olivia underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Eight follow-up visits showed no recurring tumors, and the Tates relaxed — until a ninth checkup in 2008 revealed another tumor.It was removed, too.

100313-cancer-03

April 2, 2009: Elena, 10, had been complaining of severe back and leg pain. Leukemia, her doctors said. Since then, Elena has run the gamut in care: chemotherapy — her hair fell out — spinal taps, blood transfusions. She underwent a bone marrow transplant last year and is in recovery.
Their stories, shared online, had raised $4,200.

In an interview last week, both girls said they feel great — happy to be at home, and in school. Olivia, now 11, is in the fourth grade; 14-year-old Elena is a ninth grader.  School, Olivia said, is “good. I think I need to study a little more.”  Elena, who wants to be a marine biologist, has her hair back.  It’s a red tangle. She also has regained something else.“I’m feeling confident again,” she said.  “Everyone has been there for me.”

When you think of buying a car, what comes to mind? For many, it’s stress. Hours of wasted time. The dread of dealing with a dishonest car salesman. I’m a planner, so when my car was reaching the end of its life last year, I visited virtually every dealership in town to find the vehicle that would replace my once-trusted sedan. And along with those visits I witnessed a few questionable car-dealership practices of my own. Once I decided the Ford Focus was in-fact the car for me, there was no question in my mind where I was going to purchase it – Allan Vigil. Although I have a unique relationship with the dealer, Allan Vigil is unlike the vast majority of the dealerships I visited. The facilities are amazing and the employees are all kind, knowledgable individuals who are simply there to help you. They’re normal people! So when it came time for a new television campaign for Allan Vigil, we decided to take a different approach. Since Allan Vigil is the “anti-dealer,” The Vigilante was born. 379602_461850640574872_439985482_n Bad dealers beware; The Vigilante is a hero of the people. Always suited-up, The Vigilante is constantly on the lookout to rescue people from bad dealership practices. A silent hero, he swoops in during a time of crisis and hands over a Vigilante card informing the customer where they can go to be treated right: Allan Vigil. This campaign has hit a cord with customers; presenting a very relatable – and oftentimes uncomfortable – situation in a lighthearted manner. Since the first TV spot aired more than three months ago, the dealership has receiving nothing but glowing feedback. What are you waiting for? It’s time to meet The Vigilante.

When you think of social media, who comes to mind? For me, I think of a young audience. Teens and Twenty somethings galore. And while that is correct (83% of people age 18-29 use social media) teens and twenty-somethings aren’t the only ones Facebooking. I found this interesting info-graphic on Mashable. Take a look:

Which-demographics-use-what-social-media

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 1.33.06 PMClient CURE Childhood Cancer has a lot of amazing supporters. And one of GRM’s favorites is NFL Linebacker Gary Guyton. For Gary, watching kids fighting cancer truly touches his heart. He’a a Zealot for sure. That’s why Gary has rallied some of his NFL friends and joined forces with CURE for their May 5th event Lauren’s Run & CURE Annual Picnic.

Lauren’s Run (the annual 5K, 2K, and Tot Trot) begins at 8:00am at Concourse Office Park in Atlanta, GA. Following Lauren’s Run, all race participants are invited to the CURE Annual Picnic. There, your family will enjoy lunch and an abundance of games – including the Gary Guyton Flag Football game. Just look for the Flag Football registration table at Lauren’s Run check-in to sign up for a time to play. The football game is free – all you need to do is register for Lauren’s Run. Click here to sign up and support this worthwhile cause. Keep your eyes peeled for GRM – we’ll be there on race day!

Check out some of the great commercials we filmed with Gary and 11Alive. It was a fun day on set for all of us – and the kids.



Like many of us, when I open up Facebook each morning I’ve made it a habit to check my friends’ birthdays and give them a standard shoutout. But last week when I went to wish one of my friends a splendid birthday, I saw something new:

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 3.48.14 PM

Send her a Starbucks birthday present? Hm.

So I clicked.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 3.49.38 PM

What a brilliant idea. Gone are the days of paying $1 to gift your friend a worthless Facebook image of a cupcake. Now you can easily buy them a real gift that’s delivered real time. Because let’s face it – we don’t know it’s anyone’s birthday until we see it on Facebook anyway.

Facebook didn’t stop there. What was yesterday? Valentine’s Day. What was at the top of my news feed? The option to buy a gift.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 3.54.04 PM

The gifts were sweet, fun, and funny. And incredibly affordable.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 3.55.40 PM

While I do think Facebook missed an opportunity for waiting until the day-of the holiday to place the “Choose a Gift” option on the site, it’s quite fun. Have any of you received a Facebook Gift yet? How’d it go?

Super Bowl Sunday is an ad junkie’s dream. It’s one of the only times of the year that the general population actually looks forward to the commercial break. As for GRM, our eyes were certainly glued to the set. We asked some of our team to share with us their top picks. Here’s what they had to say:

April Voris
Tide: “Miracle Stain”
My pick is the Tide miracle stain. It was not only entertaining, but was relevant. It was over the top, but if you are a sports loving obsessed fan (like I am with the REAL TIDE!) then you can highly relate to the comedy of the whole thing. And the payoff was classic and a brilliant way to bring you back to what was being advertised and you actually remember the product. What a concept.


Mike Tyre

Wonderful Pistachios: “Get Crackin'”
Funny, entertaining. Identified product with being fun and lively. Yet, also got a major point of difference – pistachios have to be cracked. They almost always come packaged still in a shell. They played that up in a fun way.


Amanda Kirkland
Kia: “Space Babies”
A commercial filled with baby animals. Come on. How can you NOT love it? The spot actually started out a bit slow for me. But as soon as they hit the montage of astronaut babies screaming as they penetrated the atmosphere, I was chuckling along with the rest of my living room full of twenty-somethings. The spot ended perfectly, with a nice shot of the third row backseat. Plenty of space for more babies in the Kia Sorento!


Sarah Crytzer

Taco Bell: “Viva Young”
I am in LOVE with this clever ad by Taco Bell. Known as a place to get a fourth meal, the company added a whole new dimension to the campaign when they released this commercial during the Super Bowl. Think a fourth meal is only for 20 somethings? WRONG! These old folks show us that it doesn’t matter what your age, you can enjoy Taco Bell (and a night on the town) even in your 80s! I admit, every time I watch this video I literally LOL. Genius marketing, with almost 1.2 million views in a week to prove its brilliance!


Alan Whitley
Mercedes-Benz: “Soul”
As both an ad guy and a fan of the violence and mayhem of football, I see the Super Bowl as two awesome pinnacles in one. It is a contest between the two best American-style football teams on earth, and a contest between advertising agencies that will attempt to set new bars for communication. My top of the heap was the Mercedes CLA spot that featured a pale Willem Dafoe as old Scratch himself. For me, it was the kind of spot that belongs in the Super Bowl. It was memorable for the right reasons, made the right point, showed the product a lot. Basically, it made us lusty for a CLA, which is the exactly what it should have done. Also, it’s just plain fun to spoil Satan’s fun.


Jennifer Germain
Budweiser: “Brotherhood”
Heartfelt! It really evoked emotion. Love. Who doesn’t want to be loved? And the bond between those who love. Plus, I’m a native of St. Louis and am proud of my hometown; the hometown of Anheuser Busch!


Jan Sharrow
Dodge Ram: “Farmer”
I found this very patriotic; more-so than the jeep spot. The photography was beautiful and it was very well written. If the Dodge truck is tough enough for our farmers, that says a lot for the truck.

I’m always on the look-out for smart brands. Brands that bring something new to the table or brands that do an amazing job engaging their Zealots. When I first stumbled upon Warby Parker I knew they were someone to take note of.

What’s Warby Parker?
HTOWP is a vintage-inspired eyeglass company based in New York City, known for their online sales program. While selling eyeglasses online doesn’t seem like the smartest business model, WP has thought it through. As a potential costumer, you simply pick out 5 of your favorite frames and WP ships them to your home for free. Your instructions? Wear one pair each day so the people who see you the most can give you feedback. Then, pack all 5 frames in the box and mail them back – shipping covered by WP. If you found a pair you like, simply order that frame with your prescription and the glasses will be custom-made for you. Sounds like a pretty pricey product, right? Not at all. Each complete pair of glasses costs $95. Plus, for each pair purchased, one is donated to someone in-need. Talk about making your customers feel good!

Get Social
Warby Parker has a strong social presence – both on and offline. When WP sends your Home Try-On kit, you’re encouraged to share pictures on the Warby Parker Eyewear Facebook Page. So not only can you to get feedback from your friends, but you can get feedback from the WP community as well.

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 2.31.54 PM
For those of you addicted to 140 characters, give WP a Tweet. Even with an average of 3592 Tweets to @WarbyParker each week, they do an amazing job of interacting with their followers. Here’s my friend’s interaction with WP. In fact, it was her posting on Twitter/Facebook that first introduced me to the company. See? Engaging your Zealots truly pays off.

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 2.59.15 PM

WP has also thought about their more traditional customers, making their frames available in 12 showrooms across the US as well as on the traveling Warby Parker Class Trip. Visiting 9 cities over six months, this school bus full of frames is touring the US, with members of the WP team posting pictures of their journey along the way. Simply put, this campaign it’s buzz-worthy and fun.

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 2.46.59 PM
After all this research about Warby Parker, I think it’s about time to get a new pair of glasses. Stay tuned.

With Hurricane Sandy devastating the Northeast last week, I find myself clicking through photo albums of the destruction, curious to catch a glimpse of what these people are going through. Studying the photos, I can’t help but think of my experience living in Tuscaloosa last year when a massive tornado leveled so much of my beloved town. When I think about the weeks – and months – after the storm, the destruction isn’t the only thing that stands out in my mind. I remember the groups, individuals, and brands that swarmed the city to help those in-need.

Imagine being without electricity – totally disconnected – during a time of destruction. You’re unable to turn on the TV and check the status of your city. Unable to read the news on your laptop. Unable to pick up your cell phone and text your friends and family. That’s where Duracell stepped in, setting up PowerRelief mobile charging stations near areas of destruction. Whether it’s Tuscaloosa, AL or Battery Park, NY, Duracell provides a free place for individuals to charge their electronics, use computers with internet access, and watch live TV news coverage.

After a natural disaster, roads are littered with nails, glass, and sharp wooden shards. Whether it’s your car or an emergency truck making its way down the street, avoiding a flat tire is nearly impossible. BFGoodrich Tires offered assistance, setting up an emergency repair station for individuals and emergency vehicles whose tires were punctured driving through areas of destruction.

During a time of devastation, the Tide Loads of Hope station rolls into town, bringing with it more than 32 energy-efficient washers and dryers. Families drop off their laundry and the Tide crew washes, dries, and folds the clothing for free. Why does Tide do this? “Because, as we’ve learned, sometimes even the littlest things can make a big, big difference.”

For these brands to offer assistance in times of need simply makes sense. These aid stations fit organically with each brand and are undeniably beneficial for the victims whose lives have been directly impacted by the storm. Not only that, but they are infinitely valuable for a brand’s reputation. Whether it’s media coverage of the generosity or the brand’s ability to help a few thousand people – and along with it create new brand Zealots – the benefits are through the roof.

Just look at me. Duracell, Tide, and BFGoodrich stick out so vividly in my memory, I’m telling you about them right now. If that’s not Zealotry in-action, I don’t know what is. Hats off to the brands who are offering their aid during times of need. Do you have stories of other brands who have offered assistance? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Follow us on Twitter

Archives