Pop Culture Platforms Boost Brands


Every year brands use the Super bowl to launch their products to the top.

Budweiser has captured America’s heart with a small yellow puppy, Oreo used the ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet after a super bowl blackout in 2013 and this year Red Lobster responded to Beyoncé’s new song, “Formation”.

In this racy song, top artist Beyoncé, says in the first verse, “When he F*%$ me good I take his a$$ to Red Lobster because I slay.”

When brands receive unexpected attention during these events, it is in their best interest to play on that attention in a clever way.

When the lights suddenly went out in the 2013 Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, they responded on Twitter with, ‘Power out? No problem! You can still dunk in the dark.’ This tweet gained so much attention that it was retweeted over 10,000 times in the first hour. It received more comments, attention and views than their commercial.

When these opportunities arise, creatives have minutes to put together graphics and any other details they would need in order to keep relevance and respond in a positive way.

When Red Lobster was given this opportunity they responded with a graphic of their cheddar biscuits and the tweet, “’Cheddar’ Bey Biscuits” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? #Formation,” and tagged Beyoncé.

The tweet received thousands of retweets. However, it also received thousands of negative reactions.

Many believed that Red Lobster should have capitalized more on this moment and been more creative.

Therefore, they sent out another tweet that said, ‘You definitely slay, @Beyoncé. Thanks for one heck of a weekend.” They also attached a photo of her halftime performance.

All Red Lobster sales have increased by 33% in result of the new release of “Formation”, and seem to be gaining a lot of notice due to the mega-attention Beyoncé is gaining from her black panther performance.

Thankfully Red Lobster was able to bounce back from their weak tweet and gain a more positive response.


Non-Profits and How They Are Using Advertising and Public Relations


The Importance

Nonprofit organizations depend on public relations and other marketing communications for a range of benefits that go beyond soliciting direct financial support. The more positive an image a nonprofit can promote, the more openings it will have to accomplish its mission and goals.

Social Media

Social Media is one of the most influential resources non-profits use to promote their organizations. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a few other influential mediums.

Sackcloth & Ashes

Sackcloth & Ashes is an organization that sells high quality blankets and for every blanket sold one is donated to a local homeless shelter. This organization relies heavily on social media to promote its products and its mission.

Instagram is one of the top resources that Sackcloth & Ashes uses to spread the word of its beautiful blankets. They translate the passion of the company into an image that allows them to share the mission with hundreds of millions of people using Instagram.


Love Your Melon is a non-profit organization that aims to put hats on every child in America struggling with cancer. LYM uses a multitude of mediums like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote the mission and goals. However, campus ambassadors have a new take they are using to spread the word.

The Love Your Melon Campus Crew Program is an exclusive crew made up of students that have a passion to improve the lives of children battling cancer. The Program includes over 2,500 Crew Members across America and over 225 different educational institutions. Crew Members represent the brand and serve through sales events and promotions, personally engaging with charitable programs and raise awareness for children with cancer.

Organizations like Love Your Melon and Sackcloth & Ashes are using new age techniques to enhance their brands and broaden their reach.  The innovative use of ad/PR is changing the way non-profits accomplish their mission.

Professor Spotlight: Dr. Cheryl Bacon



Dr. Bacon attended Abilene Christian University where she got her bachelors degree in Mass Communications and Political Science, her masters in Mass Communications, and enrolled at Texas Tech University where she got her Doctorate of Education with a 4.0 GPA.



Dr. Cheryl Bacon is the director of the public relations/advertising division and the Chair of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department at Abilene Christian University.

Bacon worked professionally in public relations, development, and financial administrations for nine years. However, she was always drawn to teaching. Supervising students on staff and teaching them about media and writing effectively was always something that appealed to her.

“I teach at Abilene Christian University because I believe few things we can give our children are as valuable as an education. Only one’s relationship with the Lord and the blessings of family and friendship are of greater value,” Bacon said.

As director of public relations/advertising Bacon explains to future students that an Ad/PR practitioner is a problem solver who uses communication skills to help clients/organizations persuade, inform and motivate its audiences.

“When I was employed by the university as a public relations practitioner I saw my work as my ministry,” said Bacon. “Whether they spend their careers in business, government, education or the non-profit sector, I want my students to use their acquired skills and understanding to minister, serve and lead throughout the world.”


Supporting the Mission

Dr. Bacon believes that a commitment to teaching and students deepens relationships within coworkers as brothers and sisters in Christ and increases the community of believers. She chooses to think that on can get an education anywhere. However, at Abilene Christian the mission is to prepare students for Christian service throughout the world. At ACU you not only get a great education but have professors that will go above and beyond to ensure you succeed in the classroom and in your spiritual life.

Elise Mitchell Returns the Favor


The Beginning 

Elise Mitchell was born in Illinois where she followed her older brother to ACU where she pursued her degree in public relations. Mitchell’s decision to come to ACU was strongly influenced by the friendliness and generosity of the community. The Don H. Morris center was also one of the deciding factors that influenced Mitchell’s decision to attend ACU. She loved that a small school like Abilene could have the technology and facilities for her degree plan.

Mitchell Communication Group

In 1995 Mitchell created her own agency.

A few years later, the corporate communications at Walmart contacted Mitchell.  Soon after she was hired as a consultant for the retailer.

Since the partnership, Mitchell Communication Group has extended its work with Walmart, J.B Hunt, Tyson Food, Sam’s Club, Hilton Hotel and Procter & Gamble in the past 13 years.

 JMC department & Morris and Mitchell

In 2010 the plans for the student-run advertising and public relations agency on campus became finalized. Here there would be a lab for students to work for The Optimist as well as have real experiences working in an agency.

JMC department chair Dr. Cheryl Bacon was the one to call Mitchell and personally ask if she would like to donate to her alma mater’s newest addition.

“I didn’t hesitate,” said Mitchell. “I absolutely know it was the right thing to do.”

Morris and Mitchell has been one of the most influential improvements to the JMC department. It gives students an experience that will prepare them life after college, and we have Elise Mitchell to thank for that.

Student Spotlight: Shelby Ratliff


Shelby Ratliff

Shelby Ratliff is a senior advertising and public relations major from Lake Kiowa, TX. She graduated from Sacred Heart Catholic School in 2012 and continued her college education at Abilene Christian where her sister Sarah attended.

Hobbies/Favorite Things

Some of her favorite things include riding her horse Willy, working out, being on lake, coffee, sushi, and fashion. Shelby has won an American Quarter Horse Association Championship and multiple National Snaffle Bit Association Championships.

Shelby is also a member of GATA, a social club on campus.


Plans for the Future

As a freshman and sophomore Shelby studied in the College of Business as a marketing major. However, her junior year her passion led her to the College of Journalism and Mass Communications where she started to pursue a degree in AD/PR.

After college Shelby hopes to move the Dallas/Fort Worth where she can work with an Ad/PR firm or as a director of social media. She wants to be in Dallas where she can be close to her family and her continue to ride her horse both competitively and for fun.


Advertising/Public Relations

Shelby has learned a lot in her transition from COBA to the JMC department. However, she believes that the AD/PR classes have better prepared her for the future. “The department has taught me how to plan things out better, how to speak professionally in a job interview, how to voice my opinion in a mature way, and handle any unethical situation I may be in.”

ACU Athletic Department Uses Ad/PR to Boost Fan Base


School Spirit

The ACU Athletic Department is very aware of the lack of school spirit. School spirit is considered to be one of the most influential contributions in uniting a university. Regardless of being Division I, the turn our for sports games is less than impressive.

Hopes for the Future

The athletic department hired Randy Carter from Peak Sports Management to increase their local advertisements and community support. Since Carter arrived at ACU last spring, he has increased the amount of advertisements around Moody coliseum and reached out to local vendors to help support ACU athletics. For example, every game day the volleyball team receives a $200 voucher from McAlister’s Deli for the players to eat for free.

New Traditions

One of the biggest projects right now is called Wildcat Country. The athletic department is partnering with Students’ Association to hold a tailgate for every home football game this year. Over 30 vendors will be setting up booths on the Northwest parking lot of Shotwell Stadium.

Here they will be giving away free food and door prizes for all who attend. Action Zone will be setting up an obstacle course for social clubs to compete against each other, and Lyle Land and Cattle will be providing live entertainment. Air Castles by Andrea will also provide inflatables for families to bring their children to play.


The goal of this event is to unite not only ACU, but also the Abilene Community. Events like these are how the athletic department is using advertisement to build its brand and fan base.