Get Involved in the Arts in 2015!

It’s funny sometimes how things in life come full-circle. In the fall of 2013, I had one of those moments in that I was approached to manage the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit. Although this is a typical project that I would take on here at M3 Group, this time it had a bit of a nostalgic feel. Not only am I a huge advocate for the arts in our community, and especially in our schools, I had won a prize in the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit my senior year of high school. Now I have the pleasure of organizing this opportunity for other budding artists.

If you’ve never been to or heard of the event, here’s the deal: Every school from around the Greater Lansing region has the opportunity to submit student art work to be displayed at MSUFCU’s Headquarters throughout the month of February. The pieces are also displayed at, so people can vote both in person and online.

There are several awards for student’s to win, all of which are decided by hand written votes (submitted at the exhibit) votes submitted via social media. The People’s Choice award is given to the top three pieces with the most votes from these venues. There is also a Social Media winner, designated by receiving the most ‘likes’ on Facebook, as well as a School Spirit award for the school with the most participating supporters. Then there is the Juried Choice award, given to three students who have been selected by our esteemed panel of judges.

Some of the past judges have included Debbie Mikula, Executive Director of Arts Council of Greater Lansing; Alice Brinkman, Director of Reach Studio Art Center; Leyna Lightman, Manager of Education at the Broad Art Museum; Jon Frey, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at MSU; and Zahrah Resh, local artist.

Last year we received almost 10,000 votes from people visiting the headquarters and website. This year we hope to get even more. This year we are particularly focusing on making it possible for companies or individuals to purchase their favorite artwork.

We are lucky to live in a community that supports these types of programs for students. This exhibit gives them a chance to competitively share their pieces and strive to improve their skills. As viewers, we reap the benefit by getting to enjoy these amazing pieces. I hope you visit MSUFCU’s Headquarters to view the pieces, vote and encourage others to do the same. You can also stay updated on the viewing times and see the artwork by liking the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit Facebook page.


Here are a few of last year’s winners:


First Place Juried Choice




Second Place Juried Choice




Third Place Juried Winner & First Place People's Choice Winner





Second Place People's Choice


Third Place People's Choice



















Social Media Winner










Is Black Friday Killing Christmas?

Maybe I’m becoming cynical in my old age. Maybe I’m reflecting on my childhood and remembering a more civilized Christmas holiday. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m finding that Christmas is about much more than getting a 60” LED TV for less than a grand. To me, Black Friday has officially become a poison that the masses don’t mind drinking.

From an economic standpoint, I’d be crazy not to acknowledge the sales that come along with the madness of November’s last Friday. Even with a sales “decline” in 2014, Black Friday still generated over $50 billion across the U.S this year (Source: National Retail Federation). Worse yet, there are multi-billion dollar ad-buys amongst the nation’s largest retailers in October and November, enticing shoppers to come in for the post-Thanksgiving rush.

As an “Ad-Man”, I find myself having an opinion on most every commercial I view or hear. Christmas used to be one of my favorite times of the year for ads, when the quality went up and the message focused on the holiday itself. But In recent years, I can’t tell you I recall any memorable Christmas focused ads; instead, I remember shouting matches among big-box retailers urging me to ‘Come on in’ shortly after my Thanksgiving feast. Wholesome Christmas greetings from your favorite companies have now been replaced by the deal of the day. How nice.

I’m hoping we get back to an era where companies are more interested in the consumer and the season, rather than the sales spike. There are already multiple retailers that have taken a stance against the absurdity of opening on Thanksgiving evening; this is a step in the right direction, but ultimately it will take a cultural change before retailers (and advertisers for that matter) catch on. Let’s get back to a time where Santa is the spokesman, implores you to be good little boys and girls and then takes a nice long drink of his Coca-Cola.

Skip the lines, the traffic and the madness and get back to a place where you buy a product because it might have connected to you personally. All in all, there are much better things for you to be doing with your time during the holiday season; there is no need to have a throw-down with a senior citizen over a $29 tablet. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


A few suggestions to have a happy holiday:

Don’t do this.

Try this instead!

57 Things That Are More Fun Than Black Friday Shopping





All About That 80s Bass

Being a kid of the 80s brings with it a love of all things 80s.  With the Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine 80s Flashback Fundraiser coming up in May, it is never too early to start thinking about warm weather and big hair! Here are some of my all-time favorite movie and music moments from this crazy decade.

Let’s start with the movies. Here are three of my favorites:

Top Gun – I am Dangerous scene


The Breakfast Club (There are so many good scenes in this movie, so I just went with the trailer.)


Back to the Future – Johnny B. Goode scene


Now to the music.

I don’t think I could pick a favorites list, so I’ll just remind you all of some of the best MTV videos, from Pop to Big Hair to New Wave.

Remember these?


Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf


Be sure to join us in May at the Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine 80s Flashback Fundraiser.  Bring your big hair and leg warmers and get ready to rock out with our 80s cover band, Starfarm!

Hit the Subscribe Button

The best way to spread your video work today is obviously to upload it to YouTube. But YouTube is much more diversified than it used to be and some people make a living off of creating video content on YouTube.

After it was purchased by Google in 2006, YouTube channels were added to the Google accounts that they were under. So, now companies can keep all of their Google accounts under one banner, making keeping track of things easier.

YouTube itself has become more of a social media platform where you can like things and follow certain channels. You can subscribe to a channel and their videos, likes, and comments will show up on your feed. But in order for them to see the things you do on their feed, they would need to subscribe back.

Google has even implemented a sort of ‘preview’ for the content on the channel. This means that the creator can put together a short video telling what they are all about, whether it is an account for someone’s business or their own personal show. This helps you to know what that account is about and catch some of the personality of the channel.

There are even spaces for images, such as an avatar or a cover, within channels. These are options that can make your channel look more professional and well thought out. It gives people a good impression of the channel.

YouTube has even made it easier to edit videos after they have been uploaded, reducing the need to delete a video if there are minor mistakes.

But these tools won’t make your videos look professional all on their own. There is a lot of work that goes into professional video work. So, I wouldn’t recommend using your phone to take videos and expect them to look great. Microphones on your phone are not great at capturing high quality video either and won’t cut out a lot of the background noise that you don’t want.

YouTube is a form of social media, but it is more focused on the video aspect of the account, so sharing your videos on other social media sites will bring people to your channel. Keeping content up-to-date and uploading new videos is the best way to add subscribers while also showing people searching your business online what you do by giving your business a face.

It’s not an absolute necessity to have a YouTube account, but I feel like it is something that is worthwhile to look into when promoting a business.

“I wouldn’t trade her for gold”: A Review of “Once”

This past week I happened upon two tickets to see the Tony-Award winning show Once at the Wharton Center. The last time I went to a theater to see a live show was with my dad to see “Peter Pan” and I was about eight years old. Needless to say, it had been awhile.

I didn’t know much about Once before I arrived. What I knew was that it was a romance story, supposedly with a few nontraditional twists and what was reportedly an incredible soundtrack. What I didn’t know was how much of an emotional, heartbreaking performance it would turn out to be.

Upon arriving at the theater, I was surprised to see audience members up on stage with the cast and crew (even if I don’t attend the theater often I at least know that’s not exactly a norm.) About 15 minutes before the show started, the cast came together and started singing Irish folk songs, warming up and clearly enjoying themselves. They let the audience members stay on stage as part of the experience and even took requests, making jokes and engaging onlookers the entire time.

I sat in my seat, waiting for the curtain call to signify the start of the show. But none came. Instead, audience members slowly made their way back to their seats as the lights dimmed and suddenly, the show began.

During the show, I laughed, cringed and had tears in my eyes as the story of a simple guy and girl was told with beautiful music. With witty dialogue, physical humor and just the right amount of profanity, Once grabbed me by the hand and took me on a wonderful journey I won’t soon forget.

The story involves an Irish street performer (or “busker”) who’s ready to give up on his music. Just when he’s ready to quit for good, he meets a girl who becomes instantly drawn to his songs, insisting that he stick with his dream. She convinces him that his true destiny lies within his music and (with a little determination and a lot of stubbornness), persuades him to continue with his dream.

Over the next seven days, the two become fast friends and begin to realize that their feelings for each other go beyond the music they’re creating. But things aren’t so simple; with a past flame holding him back and a current one keeping her occupied, their love story is one that is genuine yet complicated.

Throughout the show, the entire cast is present on stage, supporting the story with the wonderful sounds of violin, guitar, accordion and more. The music is hauntingly beautiful, gentle enough to remind you that it is indeed a love story, yet sad enough to warn you that the ending will most likely not be a happy one. Even though you can sense things aren’t going to end the way you want them to, you can’t help but cheer for the unlikely couple until the very end.

This morning as I was driving to work at M3 I was listening to an interview on 97.5 FM with Donna Garner, who plays Baruška, the mother of “Girl” (the female lead). She was discussing the show and said something that I found to be incredibly accurate:

“This is a show that will make you laugh your head off and then, in the same moment, make you cry your eyes out.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Once will be at the Wharton Center through this Sunday, October 19. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Smile! You’re on Social Media

With the explosion of social media over the past ten years, you can expect one thing: People are always looking for something new to share. With smart phones, tablets, laptops and even that crazy Google Glass thing, they have the ability to share whatever they choose with the whole world. Immediately.

In some cases, this can be a great thing. For example, Fashion Week’s in New York, London, Paris and Milan are now live-tweeted and Instagrammed by attendees, giving fashion addicts everywhere the chance to be a part of the experience. Political protests in Hong Kong are getting international coverage via Twitter, among other networks, bringing attention to a matter that even ten years ago would not have gained the following it has now. To state the obvious, social media has become a game changer. And it’s not going away.

Because a new topic can become a trend in a matter of minutes, this tells us as advertisers one thing: tread carefully. One slip and all of your mistakes, either personal or professional, can be splashed across every newsfeed around the country, or worse yet, the world.

Take Ryan Case for example, an Editor on ABC’s hit series Modern Family. Case experienced one of the worst flights of her life last week with an extremely unruly passenger. To document the event, she live-tweeted the entire thing. Her tweets are hysterical, ranging from incredulous to appall in a matter of minutes. It’s a hilarious encounter to read about and has been trending all over social media for days now (read Cases’s full description via here).

However, there’s a message to be taken from this encounter that applies to all of us: Keep in mind that just about everyone in the business world (and millions of consumers) have access to the internet and are connected to social media in some way. They’re poised, just waiting to share something new. Every single day. So be mindful the next time you think, “Oh, no one will notice. No one saw that.”

Believe us. They saw it. And now so will their friends, their mother, their boss and their lab partner from sophomore year of their undergrad. It’s 2014, people; the Internet is the number one reason things don’t ‘go away’ anymore. Let’s just hope Ryan Case isn’t there to live-tweet it when, and if, you have your own embarrassing moment.

Cannes Stop, Won’t Stop

This summer I was fortunate enough to attend the Cannes Lions Creative Festival for two days. No, that’s not the film festival (although that would have been amazing too.) Never heard of this one? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either before I attended.

The Cannes Lions Festival is a giant creative meeting of the minds where the best of the best in our industry get together and celebrate the past, present and future of advertising. Every year people come from all over the world for this weeklong event to network, view presentations, attend workshops and quite simply, to be impressed.

Celebrities, CEOs, small agencies and independent firms are all welcomed with open arms. That’s the great thing about Cannes; no matter who you are or where you are from, creativity doesn’t discriminate against you. Everyone is welcoming and inviting because they’re all here for the same reason; they want to be inspired. They want to see what other people are creating, thinking and doing.

In my two days at the festival, I sat in on a discussion with the Marketing Director of Flipboard on how mobile advertising is the next big thing; watched Joe Pytka, the director of Space Jam (among many other accolades) discuss his career and how certain brands have left their mark on advertising; had my senses overloaded with the Saatchi and Saatchi Directors Showcase, an hour long set of the year’s best ad campaigns; chatted personally with Anthony Burrill, the creator of this year’s Google Beach; and was completely blown away by Marc Pritchard (Global Brand Building Officer of Proctor and Gamble) and his presentation, “The Creative Brief”.

If I had to describe the Cannes Festival in one word, I would go with moving. And I mean that with every sense of the word. Everyone there is constantly going, looking for the next event or to meet someone. On the flip side, I also mean it inspirationally. I have never, ever in my life, been to something so incredibly awe-inspiring. When you’re surrounded by so many great minds, the room crackles with electricity. You get the sense that you’re surrounded by something that’s much bigger than yourself. Which, let’s be honest, you are. This festival is bigger and more amazing than anything you can possibly imagine.

The biggest thing that I took away from the festival was that advertising isn’t just about selling anymore. What we do every day is more than putting a price tag on something, it’s telling a story. It’s making a memorable experience for a consumer. It’s creating a feeling, a moment where our consumer is totally and completely in love with whatever we are selling. But most of all, it matters.

For more information on the Cannes Lions Festival, visit






M3 Group – Our Video Blogs

These are videos produced by M3 Group! Contact Us today to find out how we can move your Brand Forward!

YMCA Video Blogs

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MSUFCU Tech Spot


Lansing Chamber PAC Video


Soldans Pet Commercial


Legend Impact Partnership Video


Finally: Our very own produced video highlighting M3 Group’s Services

Diet Coke Pulls “You’re On” Campaign

When it comes to an ad campaign, it’s good to be creative. But sometimes, that creativity can be taken a little out of context if you’re not careful. That’s exactly what happened with Coca-Cola’s campaign, “You’re On”.

Diet Coke is officially pulling their new ad campaign after running it for just three months in North America. It seems the message they were trying to send got slightly skewed. The original ad read: “You’re on. Diet Coke.” But wait a minute: doesn’t that sound a lot like “You’re on Coke”?


You have to give Diet Coke some credit, not all of the ads read that way. Their original TV commercial featured several occasions where a Diet Coke is needed to pull yourself together: first day of a new job, a toast at a wedding, an audition, and of course, Taylor Swift backstage before her concert begins.

Check out the original ad here:


The commercial reads great, but the rest of the ads…not so much. It’s hard to get that idea out of your head once you’ve heard it, and Diet Coke isn’t exactly excited to be associated with an illegal drug. It doesn’t help that there’s a parody of the original ad going around, with the new idea of “You’re on Coke” as the main focus.

So what does this tell the industry? It says that advertising isn’t a dictator in society anymore. Consumers don’t take your word for it off the bat; they’re more skeptical than ever, and are willing to punch any holes they see in your message the second they get the chance. So be warned: it takes a lot more than a cute message and a celebrity to win people over. Better luck next time, Diet Coke.

Productivity: Reality or Myth?

Monday mornings are not something anybody looks forward to. It’s the start of a new week, and generally means that there’s five whole days before another glorious weekend. So how can anyone plan on getting anything done with that kind of attitude? Here’s a list of helpful hints to get you going for the week:





1. Eat a good breakfast. Our society tells us it’s all about “go, go, go”, but don’t forget to stock up before you race out the door. Eating breakfast gets your brain going in the morning, and is more likely to make you happier. Nobody wants a “hangry” person hanging around.

2. Make a to-do list. Go into work with an idea of what you want to get accomplished that day. Generally speaking, writing things down is more effective than just saying you plan on doing something. The written list is a constant reminder throughout the day, and will help keep you on track. You also get the satisfaction of crossing things off the list, which is always fun.

3. Get yourself comfortable. If you’re set on getting something done, set yourself up for success. Find your headphones, kick your heels off, or get a comfier chair; whatever you have to do to make yourself comfortable to sit and get things done for a few hours, do it.

4. Take a break. If you’ve been working hard all day, it’s more than acceptable to take a break every so often. Sitting in a desk for eight hours straight is not only impossible but also complete torture. Walk around the block, chat with a coworker for a few minutes, or catch-up on the latest tweets. Giving your brain a fun break for a few minutes does more good than harm.
5. Reward yourself. Being productive doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your day as well. Did you finish an article? Edit a proposal? Finalize a logo? Good for you! Remind yourself that you’re working as hard as you can, and reward yourself. That can be going to happy hour after work, or stopping by your favorite ice cream place after work. Whatever your reward is, make it a good one. And remember, you earned it.

Going to work might not be your favorite thing to do, but it can be more enjoyable if you feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day. This list isn’t foolproof, but it should help you cross some things off your to do list. And don’t forget – if you don’t finish it today, there’s always tomorrow.