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Alex Aptheker on LinkedIn

4 Dec



Life’s A Circus

14 Apr

Advertising is a broad field. There are many aspects to the profession that one can specialize in. One of those aspects is the creative side of advertising; people occupying this field are copywriters often referred to as, “a creative.”

One notable creative is Dan Balser. Balser is the advertising department head at The Creative Circus in Atlanta, GA. The Creative Circus was founded in 1995 and it is an accredited two year program for students interested in building their portfolio. This educational program focuses on the creative side of advertising. Circus students graduate with experience in full-scale branding, brand extensions, product development, interactive design and innovative technology applications.

Dan is a multifaceted individual. He didn’t originally believe he would venture into the ad business, he graduate with a bachelor’s in marketing. When Balser discovered advertising he thought he would be an account executive, and for a while he was, until a creative director discovered his skills as a writer, and the rest was history.

Balser loves there are virtually infinite solutions to every problem we get. As a creative, was hired to solve business problems, but the solutions come from our own creative brains.  Balser also appreciates learning about knew businesses and occupations, “when I work on a client’s business, I become an expert in their industry.” Balser goes on to speak about a project he worked on almost Twenty years ago, “I didn’t know much about CCD technology, polyolefin resins, or QSRs, some fast food restaurants. But in order to grow each of my clients’ businesses, I have had to learn about their businesses. So yes, I am in advertising. But I feel like I work in a huge range of different industries.”

Balser believes that there are some particular characteristics a creative should posses to be truly successful in the industry. These characteristics include: curiosity, tenacity, talent and social skills. Balser believes with these characteristics combined anyone can be successful not only in advertising but in any profession they pursue.

Today Balser lives in Atlanta with his wife who is also an advertising professional, and their two beautiful children. Balser loves his work, and more importantly he’s good at what he does. “Love for what you do is the most important, craft and professionalism is what makes people successful, but passion remains the most important.”

Less is Better

12 Apr

In the world of advertising, less is better. When someone in a car is driving 50 miles per hour past a billboard, they will not take the time to read five lines of script, or dissect an intricate photograph. When someone is watching TV and an ad comes on the screen with a paragraph of writing and a picture in a million different colors, it is very unlikely they will receive the message. This is where the effectiveness of a logo or trademark slogan comes in handy.

Nike, the swoosh, even known today as the, “Nike swoosh.” This is one the most simplistic logos on the market.  Just a simple black and white image of one solid shape that carries the eye from one end of the swoosh to the other. The swoosh was created by a student at Portland State University in 1971 and it has stuck ever since.

The fluid black mark represents the wing in of the Greek goddess Nike, the goddess of victory. Initially, the mark was called, “the strip” but was later named the, “Swoosh”, which is actually a type of material used in making Nike Shoes.

There is hardly anyone in the world that does not recognize the Nike logo, and it will continue to be one of the most recognizable brand name logos in history.

Belk’s New B

12 Apr

If you’re like me, Belk is a store your mom dragged you into when you were ten, full of women’s clothes and stuffy perfume. I would have rather been at the nearest Limited Too. So for the 122 year retailer, and for the first time since 1967, Belk is taking an active hand in changing their image. (

After 43 years, the new elegant lettering will be replaces with a more streamline, modern look. ( Belk is even implementing a new catch phrase, “Modern. Southern. Style.” Aimed at the majority of their customers; southern women. The new logo hopes to start attracting customers beyond their demographic.

Some skeptics find the new logo rather mediocre; a rip off of Bloomingdales with a hint of Macy’s, and the flower on the side a little misleading. (

For those of you traditionalists don’t fret. Belk has still maintained a family owned operation and still stands to serve their loyal shoppers. The new logo is, “what we aspire to be in the future,” said Tim Belk, chairman and CEO. “We want to reflect our increased focus on meeting the fashion needs of our modern customers while we will continue to meet the needs of our traditional and classic customers.”


Doodle My Google

12 Apr

Google it!” is a common phrase these days. The larges and most popular search engine in the world has even now become a verb. Why are we so obsessed? There are many reasons consumers turn to Google for the answers to their every day problems, but there is a marketing technique Google uses that can’t be beat. Google is hip, its different, even its name just draws you in.

When you type in ( to your address bar on your computer, the familiar screen comes up. But what is less familiar is that there is no Google at the top of screen in the familiar blue, yellow and red colors. Instead there is a picture of a pumpkin patch, or a winter landscape, or a pirate ship. However, conveniently, these pictures all ironically resemble the trademark word, Google.

These are called Google Doodles,( and they are spotted at the top of the Google home page in the theme of any holiday or notable event. They can be themed for more popular occasions like Halloween or Independence Day, or they can be commemorating an event you may have never known about, like Abe Lincoln’s birthday, or the anniversary of solstice.

From Target to Tar-jay

12 Apr

Live is a moving target. Cliche? Not if you’re referring to the fourth largest general retailer in the US, Target.  With over 1,740 stores nationwide Target is the second discounter behind Wal-Mart. What is the key to Target’s success? What did Target do right that many others have attempted to do, and failed?

One of the keys to Target success, is the iconic logo. In 1962,after 200 names attempted, and in a swarm of red and white inspiration, the family department store chain Dayton’s changed their name to Target. “As a marksman’s goal is to his the bulls-eye, the new store would do much the same in terms of retail goods, services, commitment to the community, price value and overall experience.”

In 1968 the old Target logo got a streamlined makover into the one we are all familiar with today, one solid cirlce surrounding a black dot. Finally in 1994, we were introduced to the line, “Expect more, pay less.” A promise reflecting the unique retail experience at Target.  In 2009 Target announced that it was partnering with two advertising agencies, BBDO North America, New York, and Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, Ore. The agencies will provide strategic marketing and creative support on select brand projects.

Target seems to have gotten it right. Clever ads, and a classy logo.  Why go to Target? Why not Wal-Mart, or K-Mart, or one of its competitors. Target is an image. Target personifies style, in everything it sells, and in the way it sells everything.

The Siren and the Starbucks Split

12 Apr

Starbucks, we know the name, we know the logo. That is all about to change. Well, hopefully not. Starbucks is changing their familiar green circle by removing the words and leaving the siren, or better recognized as a mermaid, to fend for herself. The logo hasn’t changed since 1992. Starbucks believes this is the change they need to globalize their product, to bring the Starbucks brand beyond coffee.

Customers and critics are skeptical that the logo won’t be recognizable, and to strip the text from the logo isn’t a wise move ( Faithful Starbucks customers went crazy after hearing the news. Making sure their thoughts and concerns were heard, the fan pages were blowing up with both criticism and praise about the change.

Starbucks prides itself on being familiar, on being the one thing customers can count on in their day. Change is scary; this would explain why the, “regulars” would have a problem with stripping the logo free of those comforting words.

As unsure as the Starbucks populous is about the change, they are just going to have to deal with it. Starbucks Corp. stands strong by their decision to refurbish their logo and remain convinced it is in the best interest of their company and upcoming business decisions (