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First, an aesthetically pleasing picture to grab your attention.

I haven’t posted a while, but it’s time to start again. Summer was crazy busy. I worked as Program Director for a Boy Scout summer camp, so I wasn’t really in any position to use technology much. Now that school has started again, that’s changed, and I’m excited to start pumping out more content. Here are some of the exciting things to look for:

  1. Research on Physical Attractiveness – I’m doing my college thesis attractiveness of models in clothing advertising. We know what the ideal person looks like. If you take pictures of a bunch of faces (same sex) and average them together with a computer program, you get a very accurate approximation of the ideal person. What I want to know is how much more attractive that ideal is than models, and why.
  2. Persuasion Theory in Advertising – I want to post some more commercials and break them down. Why are so many of the things we see so compelling? Marketers use specific tactics to get our attention and force us to behave the way they prescribe. It’s a fascinating science with a lot more detail than most people realize.
  3. The Superbowl Archives – I promised this before, but it hasn’t happened yet. Well, it’s going to. I insist.

That’s my plan for now. If you want me to discuss anything, leave a comment below. I’ll do my best to answer any questions. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @IllusionofMatt, and follow my blog to stay up to date. There’s a button on the right side of the home page.

I hope you all live forever. – Matt

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Dear World,  I know you’ve been wondering about the future of my blog. Where is it headed? What life mysteries will Matt elucidate? I’ve got a lot of ideas for future posts, so I wanted to get information out there on what you can expect coming up in the near future:

1. Brochures – Print is far from outdated in business and advertising. Companies are constantly putting out brochures, pamphlets, fliers, etc., to get your attention. I’ll be taking a look at some cool brochures, what works and what doesn’t. I guarantee there will be neat pictures. This will be posted on Sunday or Monday.

2. Live-Tweeting – Twitter is being used in new ways every day, it seems. Live-tweeting events has grown significantly ever since Charlie Sheen’s ego trip trended across the world. In this class assignment, I’m going to be tweeting from an event on campus Monday. Follow me on Twitter @IllusionofMatt, and hear some insights about the world from… Bill Nye the Science Guy. I’ll then put up a post within the week about how efficient and effective live tweeting is, and how businesses make the most of it.

3. Nonverbal Communication – One of my primary goals when creating this blog was to talk about how nonverbal communication in advertising can persuade and transmit messages beyond words. I’m even writing a thesis on that starting in autumn. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy with other projects for class, so I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like. I alluded to writing two posts in one of my first articles on physical appearance. Look for the expansion pack within these next two weeks.

Edit: I’ve finished them. Check out my simple tips to get better-looking hair for girls and for guys.

4. The Superbowl Archives – I love watching the Superbowl and the commercials that come with it. Every year I make a list of my favorite commercials, so I figured I would put those on the blog. (Hopefully all the videos are on YouTube. Other sites don’t seem to embed videos well.) I’ll then talk a little about why they’re such great pieces of work.

“Pitching epitomizes the old-world model of one-way communications.” –Andy Beaupre

So he argues in this article on Ragan.com. However, I think in his vision of PR utopia, he forgets simple aspects of interpersonal relationships.

“It’s a dated form of PR… The world of top-down media dominance has been replaced with a never-ending grassroots conversation that’s lively, engaging, empowering and direct to the consumer/customer,” Beaupre says. Sure, in today’s society talking to the world is one simple click away on a blog website. That makes all the more reason journalists can and do require PR people to pitch stories. If you want to use your own channels, go for it. If you want to use the media, go through them.

Also notice the two open bottles of wine.

With so many people trying to get media coverage, it becomes a competition for attention. It reminds me of a conversation in Italian. Italians are known for speaking with their hands. If you want to talk, you put your hands in the air. The person with their hands highest is talking the loudest. Sometimes they even grab each others’ hands and physically push them down to interrupt.

Pitching is the same way. It may be crude, but if you want attention, you have to stand out. The media is like a guy at a party. It might be that every single girl has an amazing personality, but he simply can’t spend all of his time and energy having a 20-minute conversation with each. Don’t expect to be paid attention unless you put yourself out there, but don’t come off desperate.

(I’m really proud of that analogy.)

To be fair, Beaupre is on to something when he says, “…let’s enter a two-way conversation, tell a story, listen, learn, invest time and treat people the way we like to be treated. We may not always get where we want to go, but we’ll build genuine relationships that have lasting value.” Aside from the fact that the purpose of your job is to always get where you want to go, building relationships is good. If you’re friends with the journalists, it’s easier to work together instead of work at each other, and you might get some preferential treatment along the way.

Another day, another episode of Prescribing Reality. If you like explosions or cute baby animals (not at the same time), you should follow me on Twitter or follow my blog by clicking that nifty looking button on the right-hand side of the Home page. If you enjoy controversy, drama, or avoiding conflict, leave your thoughts in the comments below. That way we can “enter into a two-way conversation, listen, learn, etc.” Until next time!

Peace. ~Matt

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