Category: Marketing

How to Advertise to Millennials

BCA Intern Nora Carlblom

By Nora Carlblom

Getting someone under the age of 25 to look up from their phone seems almost impossible. While it is hard for our family and friends to get our attention, a brand or company may really struggle when it comes to figuring out how to advertise to millennial. A simple answer: A sponsored ad on social media.

WHY? Social media is the way to advertise to millennials because we are seriously ALWAYS on our phones.

  • It was found in 2015 that teenagers spend an average of 9 hours a day on social media. That means 9 hours of our day are spent scrolling through Facebook, then Instagram, then Snapchat, repeat. (CNN)

- We pay attention to social media more than things like a billboard or TV because it is often right in front of us
- It is almost guaranteed we’ll notice your product if it shows up in the middle of our Instagram feed.
- When I scroll through Instagram and see a sponsored ad that is a picture of a well paired outfit, it draws me in to the account and I often end up on the stores website.

HOW? The ad needs to be modern and appealing to youth in order to catch our eye. Along with looks, they also need to be relevant to what is currently happening. This is why social media is the way to go. Each social media platform is catered to advertising certain things. Instagram is more successful in advertising things such as clothing or food, while Snapchat is strong in showcasing a variety of things. It can range from the election to a new movie to beauty and fashion, and almost everything in between.

Product Placement
Many brands have celebrities advertise their product for them through product placement on their Instagram.
The post usually doesn’t look like a typical advertisement. Product placement can be achieved by sending someone with a large social media following to something like a music festival in their clothing and simply asking them to post a picture of them there in their clothes. Others have the celebrity holding the product or using it in a setting that is their everyday life, and their caption is them raving about the product.
The way we see it is, if the celebrity is using it and “loving” it then it must be worth the money. While, some people add the hashtags “#ad” or “#sponsored” to their post, it still drives fans to go and take a look at the product advertised.

Sponsor a Snapchat Selfie lens

A selfie lens is a silly interactive filter on Snapchat that adds various effects to your snap. A few examples are a dog that sticks out its tongue when you open your mouth or one that alters your face to make your eyes super big or your head into a pear shape.

The first filter that pops up is the sponsored one. So not only would your advertisement be fun and interactive it would be the first one Snapchat users see.

It is seen that many companies have benefited from sponsoring a filter: (AdWeek):
- Men’s Wearhouse created a filter during prom season and had a 48% engagement rate among 1,800 high schools
- Michael Kors’ put out a lens for #NationalSunglassesDay that received 100 million views and increased purchase intent 2.1 times above normal rates.

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Cows are in at the Inn: Madonna Inn to host CowParade launch

Opening weekend events include artist & sponsor reception, 101-Cow Roundup

San Luis Obispo, CA – Madonna Inn is the latest sponsor to join the CowParade SLO County Herd, pledging support for three beautiful bovines and offering its event space for September’s opening weekend festivities.


Phyllis Madonna

Phyllis Madonna poses with a CowParade cow during a promotional photo shoot at Madonna Inn.

Before all 101 fiberglass cows – magically transformed by local artists – are put out to pasture in public spaces throughout SLO County, event staff will roundup the herd for an exhibit launch at Madonna Meadows. Artists and sponsors will have the first chance to view all 101 cows at a VIP reception Friday, September 16. The public is invited to witness the display and even see one sponsor’s cow live-painted on Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Food trucks, beer and wine for sale, live music, and the Harmony Town Ice Cream Truck will be on hand for this one-time chance to see all the cows in one place.


The following week, 101 colorful cows will be placed to be seen “grazing” in public places throughout the county. Sponsored by local businesses, organizations and individuals, the herd will become the talk of the town – seen by an estimated 500,000 visitors and residents – before the entire stock is roped in and driven to a gala charity auction in May 2017.


Auction proceeds benefit The Land Conservancy of SLO County, ARTS Obispo, and the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation, along with sponsor designated charities of their choice. Proceeds from Madonna Inn’s cows will benefit the Cuesta College Rodeo Club and Women’s Shelter of SLO.


“We’re thrilled to be among the famous destinations who have hosted CowParade, and we felt Madonna Inn just had to be part of it,” said Clint Pearce, Madonna Enterprise President. “The combination of art and agricultural education makes this exhibit a perfect fit for SLO County and for Madonna Inn.”


In addition to sponsorship, Madonna Inn matriarch Phyllis Madonna showed her supported for CowParade SLO County early on by displaying her singing chops in one of several local “celebrity” videos promoting the event. Watch the videos here.


After the first CowParade launched in Chicago in 1999, CowParade events have been held in 79 cities worldwide, including London, Tokyo, Mexico City and Milan. Auction proceeds since 1999 now total more than $30 million.


Check out more about CowParade SLO at Limited cow sponsorships are still available. Please contact Heather Hellman at


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Jeff Thoma joins a third generation at family business

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Jeff Thoma, a senior engineer for Apple Inc., is leaving Silicon Valley to return to Thoma Electric, the business his grandfather created more than a half-century ago and is now led by Thoma’s father and uncle.

Thoma will join the company in April as a principal engineer.

Returning to the family business brings Thoma’s career full-circle: His affinity for engineering came from his father, Bill, the president and CEO of Thoma Electric.


Jeff Thoma

Pictured: Jeff Thoma, Principal Engineer at Thoma Electric Company

“I loved it when my dad brought home drawings,” he said. “I would just stare at them even though I didn’t know what the symbols meant.”

By the time he was 12, Thoma was working in the shop, sweeping floors and sorting screws. While there, he also learned about computers and computer-aided design.

“I tried to be as inquisitive as I could,” said Jeff, who was assisting the company with design by the time he was 18 and has since attained his PE (professional engineering) license.

While his early education came from his father and uncle, Ed, the company’s vice-president, the San Luis Obispo High School graduate went on to study electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego. He was a hardware engineer at Kyocera Wireless in San Diego before he joined the prestigious Apple, Inc. in 2009.

While he cannot discuss specific projects he worked on at Apple, his experience in the pioneering tech world broadened his technical knowledge and honed his management skills, assets he will use in his new role at Thoma. He believes there is opportunity to expand the already successful business and he is excited to be part of the firm as it continues to grow into new markets.

“At Thoma Electric, there is easily over 200 years of electrical design and construction experience,” he said. “I’m looking forward to adding my own unique experience to help it grow even more.”

Thoma returned to San Luis Obispo for the quality of life – he and his wife, Alexis, are expecting their first child – and to be near family.

The Thoma family has been connected to the electrical business ever since Jeff’s great-grandfather helped electrify Chicago more than a century ago. Bill Thoma said he’s proud that his son will continue that tradition – though it comes as no surprise.

“He has a passion for engineering and told us repeatedly that when he grew up, he wanted to be an inventor,” Bill Thoma said. “And his name is on a number of patents.”

Thoma Electric, which now has 62 employees, began when Clarence “Bud” Thoma, now 96, launched Thoma Electric Company as a contracting business in 1962. The company expanded to include consulting, engineering and design.

“The next generation of the Thoma family is here, with experience and education second to none,” Bill Thoma said. “Ed and I are not going anywhere and are as excited about the business as we ever have been.”


About Thoma Electric

Thoma Electric, founded in 1962, provides consulting, engineering, design and construction services for projects throughout California and the West Coast. The company maintains the highest level of integrity, accountability and commitment to total customer satisfaction. Thoma leads the industry in promoting energy conservation and environmental sustainability. Among their many projects for a wide range of industries, Thoma’s local work includes several projects at Cal Poly, including the Alex G. Spanos Stadium; Hearst Castle; Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria; and Barney Schwartz Park in Paso Robles. Out-of-area projects range from the Angeles National Forest Headquarters in Arcadia to the Bakersfield Federal Courthouse. Thoma’s projects list includes 200 health care facilities, 400 school projects and 150 fire stations.

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San Luis Obispo Firm BCA Brings Home Six American Advertising Awards

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF. – After winning top marketing honors from the prestigious California Office of Tourism Poppy Awards, Barnett Cox & Associates (BCA) followed up with another substantial tourism achievement, taking Best of Show at the American Advertising Awards for Coastal California. The gold award for video is one of six honors BCA received from the American Advertising Awards (formerly the ADDYs), the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition.


The video, created for the City of San Luis Obispo’s tourism campaign, combines spectacular visuals with a custom music score to showcase the appeal of visiting the city. Local indie rock band Moonshiner Collective appears in the video, performing original music that captures the spirit of “The Happiest City in America.” Robin Chilton, owner of Peregrine Media Group, shot and edited the video, which can be seen on the main page at


“In a beautiful, cinematic way, the video highlights what makes the community special – everything from the wildly popular Farmers’ Market and stunning peaks to the Cal Poly marching band and the San Luis Obispo Symphony,” said Dave Cox, co-owner of BCA.


The video for the tourism campaign, funded and overseen by the City of San Luis Obispo’s Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID), was part of a complete branding makeover, featuring new logos, print and digital advertising and social media. In February, the Visit California Poppy Awards recognized BCA’s work on the campaign, presenting BCA and its digital partner StudioGood with the best overall marketing award.


“We were happy to let others in on what locals already know – that San Luis Obispo is a wonderful place to visit,” Cox said. “And knowing how important tourism is to the city’s vitality, we were honored to promote it.”


While the campaign brought awards to BCA, it brought dollars to the city: San Luis Obispo’s hotels saw a 12.3% increase in transient occupancy tax and huge boosts in other key indicators over first 12 months of the program.


Other distinctions BCA earned in the awards competition include:

•              Silver for SLO County Farmers’ Market Association associated campaign

•              Silver for 40 Prado Homeless Center capital campaign video

•              Silver for SESLOC Federal Credit Union TV commercials

•              Bronze for Andre, Morris & Buttery website

•              Bronze for Adamski, Moroski, Madden, Cumberland & Green LLP website

Gold winners move on to compete against winners from throughout Southern California and Southern Nevada for the right to advance to the national finals.


BCA, a full-service marketing and public relations firm, is owned by longtime San Luis Obispo residents Dave and Maggie Cox. Learn more and follow BCA at,, and

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CowParade SLO Seeks High School Students to Join the Moooooooovement

Harmony, CA – CowParade SLO County wants creative high school students to join the herd and participate in the world’s most successful public art event!

After the first CowParade launched in Chicago in 1999, CowParade events have been held in 79 cities worldwide, including London, Tokyo, Mexico City and Milan. Now the colorful cattle drive has been led to San Luis Obispo County, raising money for ARTs Obispo, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and The California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation.

By fall, 101 beautiful bovines – fiberglass cows magically transformed by local artists – will be seen “grazing” in public places throughout San Luis Obispo County. Sponsored by local businesses and individuals, the herd will become the talk of the town – seen by an estimated 500,000 people – before the entire stock is roped in and driven to a gala auction in May, 2017.

While local artists are being chosen to decorate the life-sized hefty heifers, CowParade SLO is reaching out to each of the county’s high schools to paint “mini-moos” – Labrador-sized cows that will benefit art programs at the schools. CowParade SLO will donate blank sculptures to each school that wants to participate.

Art departments and their students will have two cow templates to choose from – one grazing and another standing with its head up. High schools will have until September to create their bovine for CowParade SLO. During the May gala, the cows will be auctioned off, and the proceeds from student-designed cows will benefit each school’s arts program.

It’s a great way to rustle up enthusiasm for the arts while raising money for schools. Interested SLO County high schools should contact Tom Halen at

Check out more about CowParade SLO at


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Snapchat: Advertising to Millennials

By: Jessica Bohon

By: Jessica Bohon

What is Snapchat? Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social media platforms targeted toward millennials. With this photo-sharing service, the photos you send disappear seconds after they are opened. Once they disappear, users can no longer access them. The app is popular with this generation because we have learned from our parents, siblings, and teachers to be cautious with what you post online – it will come back to haunt you. There was a need for a real time application that users wouldn’t be apprehensive about posting freely. Evan Spiegel filled this void with Snapchat.

Quick Snapchat Facts:

- 7+ Billion video views per day on Snapchat

- 100 Million active Snapchatters daily

- Target Market: 13-34 year olds (millennials)

- 60% of U.S. 13-34 Smartphone Users are Snapchatters

How Has It Evolved? After starting as a simple photo-messaging app, Snapchat has grown into a versatile tool for marketing, advertising, sharing, and community connecting. While it began as a temporary visual messaging application, it became a viable social media platform when the “My Story” component was implemented, allowing users to compile snaps in a chronological storylines that are accessible for 24 hours. Originally, Snapchat was not useful for marketers because there was no way to measure engagement nor a way to have two-way interaction with consumers. Recent additions and updates have provided Live Stories and a Discovery section, which make it easy for users to keep up with what is happening in their community and other areas of interest. 

Aspects & Uses:

DT slo filter- Chatting: capability to chat with another individuals (Messages disappear just like the photos). slo pismo geofilter

- SnapCash: send and receive money through Snapchat instantaneously (password protected).

- Geo-Filters (local): user created geo-tags that represent original artwork to represent that geographic location in the community.

- Sponsored Geo-Filters: filters that advertise for companies or events.

- “Selfie Filters”: generic, animated filters for users to send to others.

- Live/Discover Stories: community and special event stories that all can see, and those within the community can contribute snapchat Tips on Using Snapchat to Promote your Business: blog snapcode

- Advertise your Snapcode on alternative social media platforms as well as print and web advertisements.

- Create a Geo-Filter in your area that represents your company.

- Utilize the Live Stories feature to promote events.

- Update your “My Story” feed consistently.

- Check back to analyze views and screenshots.

- Check and respond if any followers directly chat-responded to a Story piece.

- Use Snapchat to become more involved with the events and people within the surrounding communities.

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How Social Media Can Boost SEO

Contributor: Lindsay Kent

For business owners, search engine optimization (SEO) can sometimes feel like a mystery to everyone but the search engines themselves. Keeping up with the shifting rules for “good SEO” can seem time consuming and daunting. While it is a good idea to stay up to date with SEO best practices, they sometimesaren’t guaranteed to work because of ever-changing search engine algorithms (see Google’s SEO starter guide here).

This is where social media comes in. Here is a list of five ways your company’s social media presence can boost your website’s search engine ranking:

Social media photo

Image credit: Jason Howie, Flickr

  1. The more the merrier: Using a variety of social media is the way to go. This means having your company on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – if your target audience is there, so should you. Just make sure you have the time and budget to keep the pages current and updated.
  2. Followers matter: More followers means a higher domain authority. Getting a healthy amount of followers to your company page involves:
    1. Posting regularly, but not too often. Over-posting can be more detrimental than not posting enough, as followers will begin to unfollow you. Finding a safe number of posts can be tricky, so putting together a social media calendar is helpful for organization.
    2. Well-written posts that are short, to the point, and relevant to the audience you’re seeking.
    3. Beware of links to sites that claim to get you more followers. These may work quickly, but can actually lower your search engine optimization if search engines catch on. Instead, opt for the old fashioned way. Follow other pages, engage and interact. On many social media platforms, you can pay to expose your page and posts to new audiences. This increases followers without putting your SEO at risk.
    4. To keep followers engaged, be sure to set aside time to reply to comments, reviews and private messages. This makes followers feel included and keeps them coming back to your new content.
  3. Interaction is key: The more shares a post gets, the better it will help your page. Search engines keep track of shares, likes and comments. Every bit of activity on a post helps. Posts that tend to get more shares include pictures, videos, infographics and anything eye-catching. Once a follower is drawn into your post, shorter content will keep them there. Finishing off a post by asking your followers to “share if you agree,” “click on the link below,” or asking them a question that entices a response is also effective.
  4. Put a local spin on things: Is your company involved with your city’s annual holiday parade? Post about it. Post pictures, tag people, tag companies involved. People are more likely to comment and share when they feel a connection with your post. This is called locally optimizing your posts. When people search locally, it makes your post more likely to come up.
  5. Lots of Links: Includinglinks in your social media pages and posts is important in a variety of ways. First, make sure a link to your site is included in the bio sections of your social media pages. In posts, use links to your site where followers can read more about the subject of your post. This way, you can keep the content short on social media, but curious readers can still click to learn more. A great way to accomplish this is by sharing regular content from the news section of your website, and from a company blog that posts timely, relevant material your followers will be interested in reading.

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Local Golf Passport Program offers lessons from PGA coach

Passports now offered at three Central Coast courses

golf passportSAN LUIS OBISPO – Central Coast golfers can learn from a pro thanks to lessons offered through the Golf Passport, now available at three local courses. For $60 a month, Passport holders receive
private and group coaching from Rudy Duran, PGA member and longtime golf coach, a daily bucket of range balls and free loaner clubs. The Golf Passport is for new and experienced golfers alike and
can be used at Morro Bay, Chalk Mountain (Atascadero), and now, Dairy Creek (San Luis Obispo).


Duran has been a golf professional for nearly four decades and is best known for being Tiger Woods’s first coach. He loves to play and coach, helping golfers of all ages and skill levels bring out their
natural abilities. Duran is also a course designer and operator, bringing a unique perspective to the game.


The Golf Passport offers players the chance to learn and improve through practice and play. Three courses are offered. “Golf Talk” coaches lead discussions about the game, rules, etiquette, equipment design, and other off-the-course topics. “On Course” provides a group lesson out on the green where players are instructed on swing, body position, and technique. And players get a half-hour private lesson with Duran in “One on One.”


“The Passport, whether it’s purchased for a month or six months, makes a great holiday gift for all ages and skill levels,” said course manager Joel Clay. “Our courses are casual and family friendly, and we offer value that you won’t find at other courses.”


Classes are offered throughout the week and on Saturdays at various times. To purchase the Passport or for more information on classes offered, visit or email


Contact: Joel Clay, Golden State Golf Company, 466-8848

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Blurring Lines into Pop Culture: Emojis & e-Books as Advertising

Contributor: Stephen Zehnder

Contributor: Ellie Koscheski

As an ad-woman, I love seeing effective examples of advertising blurring the lines into pop-culture. Dove’s recent campaign for their Quench products for naturally curly hair had me all ears, errr, hair?


The Curl Issue

Coming from a straight-haired girl who permed her way through the ’80s in a quest for curls, I’ve always been envious of voluminous, luscious curls. So I was sad to learn from research Dove conducted for the Quench haircare line which found only 10% of adult women, and 40% of younger girls actually like their curly hair.

Their research also discovered a glaring lack of pop culture showing the beauty of natural curls. From Hollywood, to magazines, to runways–straight dominates. Dove set out to change that with their #LoveYourCurls campaign, and I’m a huge fan of the alternative advertising avenues they took to achieve that.

Image Credit: Dove

Image Credit: Dove



Of the thousands of emojis available on cell phones, none featured any females with curly hair. Why were straight-haired girls getting all the emoji fun? For those of you who don’t use them, this may seem silly, but for the 73% of people in the U.S. who claim they use emojis every day, this was a glaring gap. Users want emojis that look like them, and this omission has the potential of making girls with curls feel marginalized as yet another way pop culture ignores curls. This all changed last week, when Dove launched a free app called Dove Love Your Curls Emojis Keyboard. Available through the Apple App Store or Google Play, the app features 131 variations of curls, hair color and skin tone emojis. OMG – finally!


Personalized e-Book

To help girls celebrate and be proud of their curls, Dove launched a personalized e-book, downloadable for free. The e-book is a compilation of stories, poetry and illustrations that beautifully describe the reasons to love your curls. The books can be personalized for the curly girls in your life with names and photos. Of the 350+ reviews on Amazon, positive comments abound such as “awe inspiring,” “uplifting,” “a must-read,” “adored this book,” “empowering,” and “I wish I had this book while raising my curly-haired daughters.”


Major credit to Dove for delving into a sensitive topic for women and utilizing their advertising as a platform for change. Their integration of advertising into popular tech products like emojis and personalized e-books was innovative and seamless, and their continued trend of confidence-boosting ad campaigns for women is inspiring.


P.S. Dove’s “Love Your Curls” YouTube video was launched earlier this year and received 9.3 million views in its first day. To date, it has 70K comments, many from curly-haired women saying it had them in tears. Check it out.

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SLO County’s Dairy Creek Golf Course to see improvements under new contractor

Board of Supervisors approve contract with Golden State Golf Company to operate concessions 

San Luis Obispo – Owner Joel Clay of Golden State Golf Company said he’s planning significant improvements at San Luis Obispo County-owned Dairy Creek Golf Course in the coming year, following the county board of supervisors’ decision to allow him to manage food and beverage, driving range, and pro-shop operations.

The supervisors approved the nine-year contract on September 22, 2015. Golf course operations will still be operated by the county parks department.

Golden State Golf Company now manages concessions at all three county-owned golf courses, including Morro Bay and Chalk Mountain in Atascadero.

Dairy Creek Golf Course

New golf carts now available at Dairy Creek Golf Course.

Concessions at Dairy Creek Golf Course were previously managed by Fairway Inc. of San Luis Obispo, which declared bankruptcy in October 2014. Since then, the county has managed the concessions, but some services including food and beverages have been unavailable. The bankruptcy coupled with worsening drought and browning turf resulted in a 45 percent decrease in rounds last year.

“While we can’t solve the water shortage, we can bring back the services and amenities that golf patrons have come to expect, and we can do it better than before,” said Clay. Clay has more than 20 years of experience managing golf course concessions. He’s in the process of obtaining a liquor license for the restaurant, which currently operates on a temporary license and offers a limited menu. He also plans to install new TVs in the restaurant and he recently purchased brand new golf carts for the course.

“We believe this is a good thing all around,” said Clay. “Patrons will see significant improvement in service, and the county will no longer need to run the facility itself.”

Clay anticipates returning the restaurant to full operation in January 2016. Cart and club rentals, pro-shop operation, and golf lessons are available immediately.

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