Logos, Branding, and Marketing. Oh My!


Just like in 2020, an epidemic also swept through America in 1850. But unlike in 2020, that epidemic was not a viral contagion but rather a viral soprano. 1850 was the year that American showman P.T. Barnum (founder of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus) created a craze for Swedish singer Jenny Lind. A shrewd marketer, Barnum knew what people craved and he fed it to them through savvy promotions, creative publicity, and a multitude of souvenir offerings (hats, chairs, opera glasses, etc.)  that Lind enthusiasts gobbled up.  

Many of our STA students are familiar with “Lindomania” as it was documented in Hollywood’s recent film, “The Greatest Showman.” However, our “Mass Media and Pop Culture” students have been taking an even greater look at the kinds of media and media trends that create unique sensations, much like P.T. Barnum did while calculating how best to appeal to 19th century consumers.

Students in “Mass Media” (taught by teacher Mrs. Mariah Kirsch) have spent time examining, analyzing, and deconstructing advertisements in order to assess just what elements are most important in marketing and branding. They were then tasked with developing a new advertisement or commercial that integrated at least three STEPPS.  (STEPPS stand for six principles that drive products to be attractive, appealing, and popular among consumers. They include “social currency,” “triggers,” “emotion,” “public,” “practical value,” and “stories.”)

In many ways, teenagers are perfectly primed and pumped to be terrific marketers as they are highly attuned to what is popular and not popular among their peer group. They understand well how elements like popular music, film references, and images of social media platforms can be insta-triggers to their age group.  

While reading the book Contagious by Jonah Berger, these Saints developed a solid understanding of why certain products, ideas, services, and behaviors catch on quickly and why others falter.  The book reveals the importance of word-of-mouth marketing and social transmission in the success of a brand, and our students studied specific, actionable techniques that they then set in motion while developing their own ad or commercial. 

The outcome was an impressive array of promotional materials that messaged a true understanding of just why marketing, branding, and advertising is so important to the life and longevity of a product.

Saints Pride!

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