CARMEN GRAF DISCUSSES KEY ROLES OF ADVERTISING, CREATIVITY AND ENGAGING YOUR AUDIENCE

by Jairus Popp

Texas State alumni Carmen Graf presented to Texas State students during Mass Communication Week the importance of incorporating the creative and advertising fields while captivating your targeted audience.

Speaking from experience, Graf is currently the vice president and executive media director for the company GSD&M.

GSD&M, a full-service advertising agency out of Austin, Texas, has both its own creative and advertising departments. Many competing advertising agencies outsource their creative works.

“To be a great media maker in the world of today you need to use both sides of your brain,” said Graf. “Using both the left and right sides, we can combine both our creative and logical skills together as one.”

Throughout Graf’s panel, she presented some of the successful creative advertising projects GSD&M has produced. One of their key projects, the campaign for BMW’s remodeled 2010 Z4-Roadster, used the concept of art, while drawing in the targeted customer base found through research and development.

A slide provided by Graf showing the use of two different creative sources to make a successful advertisement
A slide provided by Graf showing the use of two different creative sources to make a successful advertisement

“There’s a lot of clutter in media,” said Graf. “The way around this is to know your objects and desired outcomes.” This technique, proving successful in the BMW sales of the Z4, who sold 10 of the cars before even being released and increasing global sales by 26.4 percent, despite the $65,000+ price tag.

“I remember seeing the BMW commercial for the Z4 and thinking how cool it was,” said current student Andrea Garza. “Meeting someone who had a part in the project itself was not only cool, but very informative on the process of it and its success.”

Another key component to Graf’s panel was the importance of alluring your targeted audience or crowd.

“Media is all about engagement, that is the Holy Grail,” said Graf. “One of those things driving engagement is the successful use of social media. There is a lot of clutter in media. The way around this is to know your objectives and desired outcomes.”

Another slide Graf provided on the importance of knowing your objects, desired outcomes and the components to make them successful
Another slide Graf provided on the importance of knowing your objects, desired outcomes and the components to make them successful

From works with Petsmart, Chipotle, and as of today Whole Foods Market, Graf was able to show the crowd the success of this model with GSD&M.

“I just really like GSD&M,” said current student Rob Sailors. “I hope to run the creative department one day.”

Graf ended the panel by hitting the audience with the importance of networking with social media, a tool she did not have as a college student, and the importance of privacy settings.

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