Say It Like You Meme It: What Pizza Rolls Can Teach Us About Marketing to Millennials


by Madison Butler

The millennial generation gets a bad rap for a number of things: for being entitled, overly invested in technology, for being lazy and jobless. But as a generation with rapidly growing purchasing power, it’s important that companies and the professional writers creating copy, blogs, and advertising for these companies understand this expanding market.

Despite spending around $600 million a year, Millennials are a difficult sell. Two of the biggest challenges companies face when marketing their products are overcoming a lack of disposable income and creating an authentic campaign that will make Millennials want to spend. Bloomberg says that the success of a campaign is determined by its authenticity.

Merely adopting the language and blogging habits of young people won’t make a product “#relatable.” To win over Millennials, professional writers must strike the balance between age-appropriate and genuine marketing.

What makes or breaks a campaign?

One example of an upizzamemensuccessful campaign is the blog run for Totino’s Pizza Rolls. The company is trying too hard to connect with a younger generation by using slang and memes that fall flat. This image was originally posted on Tumblr, where a successful post can have hundreds of thousands of likes and shares. This post has 72.

The main issue with this blog’s postings is that they’re trying to capture a Millennial attitude without creating a branded message. The caption “#TBT to my fave summer camp memory, canoeing on Lakey McLakeFace (yes, pizza rolls need sunblock.)” is bogged down by slang and nonsensical references. (See Boaty McBoatface.)

Advertising and…memes?

Totino’s Pete Zaroll pizza roll character is meant to be relatable, but seems disingenuous. Internet success is fickle, but one way to tank potential is to bombard the audience with ad after ad featuring a character trying to emulate millennial behavior. The idea of using memes to advertise isn’t a new one, but what most companies miss is that memes cannot be forced. Trying to intentionally create a meme will surely end with Millennials mocking your company on Twitter.

dennysOne company that has successfully marketed itself to Millennials is Denny’s. While blogs can be a great resource for companies to go in depth on their products or share news about upcoming releases and events, Denny’s has used its blog to connect to a younger audience. The Denny’s blog is also hosted on Tumblr, but their posts have a much wider reach, with at least a few hundred likes/shares per post and at most, thousands.

Where Totino’s posts are contrived-weird, Denny’s posts are truly bizarre. The most successful of their posts embrace the strange, surrealist humor prevalent among Tumblr’s users. This post from the Denny’s blog has over 12,000 likes and shares and shows a clear understanding of the audience.

Denny’s also shows an understanding of the importance of interacting with users and the types of interactions users expect. The posts with the most likes and shares on the blog are the ones where they have responded—not with information about their restaurant, but with comments that are similar in style to other comments. The brand is cohesive throughout each post.

While not every blog is going to be as strange as Denny’s, advertisers should take away that marketing to a millennial audience should be treated with consideration. The success of the Denny’s blog is twofold: understanding the audience and using professional writing skills to match that audience while delivering a message.

In advertising, genuinely weird is better than pandering. Otherwise, your audience will mock the campaign as something they could do, but can’t get hired for.

Are You Write for the Job?

by Jenna Enright

If you’re a student honing your professional writing craft, it’s only a matter of time before a future employer asks you to submit a writing sample.

We live in a sadistically redundant world of e-applications, making the writing sample just one more burden to the already over-burdened modern job seeker.

Really, though, this is your chance to prove your skills, expertise, and understanding of the position to your future employer.

Here are a few simple tips for choosing the optimal writing sample:

1. Be Relevant. Choose a sample relating to the job. If applying for a journalist position, send an article you published. Public relations candidates should submit a press release. Future lawyers and psychologists should showcase their ability to analyze concepts and ideas in a paper. I could go on but I’m sure you get it.

2. Keep Current. Don’t submit samples more than 1 year old. This says you haven’t written anything in a while.

3. Edit. Edit. Edit. Never submit a piece with typos or your professor’s comments.

4. Choose Quality Over Relevance. Or rewrite a relevant sample to improve its quality (see above).

5. Keep it Short. 1-2 pages is ideal. 4-5 pages is the limit. Hiring managers in the digital age can receive hundreds of applications for a single position. A sample that’s too long may deter them from considering it at all.

6. Be Engaging. An engaging sample will be more memorable for the hiring manager and prove that you can keep an audience hooked.

7. Avoid Personal Blogs. A piece published on your university’s professional writing blog, however, is okay.

8. Ask for Clarification. If you are still unsure about what the employer wants from a writing sample, ask. This can show initiative and attention to detail. Better safe than unemployed.

Below are links to some additional sources to help you nail the writing sample portion of the competition:

University of Pennsylvania

University of Maryland Baltimore County

Columbia University

Psychology Today

Writing Professional Emails: Dos and Don’ts


by Stacey Richardson

     Subject line: Report

     Come to my office. This report wasn’t done as I asked and we need to meet NOW!  

Have you ever received an email like this—one with a vague subject line, no greeting, passive-aggressive tone, and use of all capital letters? Emails like this tend to provoke the receiver and cause unnecessary conflict. How do you avoid writing an email like this?

To understand how to communicate more effectively through emails, I set out on a search for tips and tricks. For the “dos” of professionally communicating with colleagues, I found this article informative. These were the more useful points:

  1. Understand the personalities you are dealing with. Consider the personality type of the recipient of the email. Do they prefer to discuss issues as they arise? Or do they prefer to understand the project entirely prior to beginning to avoid future questions? When you understand this about your employees, you will be able to understand how much information to provide them at a time and whether they need primarily email correspondence or face-to-face explanation.
  1. Revise, revise, revise! If you send an email to a client full of typos and grammatical issues, you will lose their confidence. Your writing inspires a vision of how people see you. If you never meet your recipient face-to-face and send them correspondence with errors, their image of you may not be positive. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading and revising emails before inputting the email address for the receiver and hitting the “send” button.
  1. Be clear and concise in your language and avoid using extra words. Do they need multiple adjectives to describe their tone in the last report they submitted? Do they need all of the details concerning the project? The more information you bog the reader down with, the faster you will lose their attention. If words aren’t kept simple and the message isn’t clear in the beginning, the reader will spend more time trying to figure out your meaning. Cut the unnecessary information.

In order to understand what not to do, I found this article’s tips to be the most valuable:

  1. Avoid all capital letters. The use of all capital letters denotes yelling. Yelling at colleagues and employees is frowned upon, so avoid yelling at them.
  1. Avoid text speak, abbreviations, and acronyms. The use of any of these make it easy for the reader to lose your meaning. Also, they’re unprofessional. Would you really say “ROFL” to your boss? Avoid the unprofessional jargon.
  1. Be polite. Don’t underestimate the power of a polite and gracious attitude towards your recipient. But be sure mean your words. Don’t be sarcastic or snarky – this is the one-way ticket to pissing off the recipient of your message. Say “please” and “thank you” but genuinely mean it.

There are four ways, and only four ways, we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.

— Dale Carnegie

If we want to be seen by the world as competent, intelligent, and capable beings, we must make sure we showcase our best abilities. Within digital correspondence we can only show what we say and how we say it – be sure that what you say and how you say it projects the image of you that you desire.


Take a Facebook Holiday

by Brennen Smith

 WAIT!! How could I ever give up Facebook?!? bren3

Well, you won’t have to give it up completely, but we are going to run through 5 tips that will improve your happiness by staying off Facebook.

Overcome the anxiety and fear of ‘missing out’ on some random person who posted a cute picture on her way to adopt a new dog (…something you were never once apart of, by the way).Get on the road to personal happiness. Focus on the things that matter. Improve your reading, writing, and social skills outside of the Facebook world. Give this a try on a weekend or for a couple of days. Create your holiday timeframe.



Welcome to the world of real information. Facebook news feeds tend to average out on the same types of news stories (if you want to call them news stories). Don’t LIKE a funny post or video, LIKE a story you are actually interested in reading and gaining more information from REAL news sources. You will be able to read a story written by journalists who are educated in writing, and this will expand your writing comprehension as well.


Talk to the people you care about most by text or phone call. A quick and easy comment on their Facebook page may never grant you a response, and who knows when or if they will ever read it! Although texting is still somewhat distant, it is more personable and ties the communication directly between you and your friend only. Want something better? CALL THEM!



Grandmothers especially love getting letters in the mail. This will show your love and appreciation for her in a personal way. While saying “send a letter” sounds more like a thing from the past, hop in your car, drive to the nearest hallmark store, and get your gma or gpa a card. You will have just as much fun reading and going through all of the cards as they will when they receive one from you! Plus you will end up writing more than the card can hold!


In this crazy world, we all need a “less is more” type of mentality. Facebook adds on a lot of extra baggage to the mind, and starting your day without it in the morning clears your brain for better thinking and processing. It gives you more room to be concerned about other issues – that may have higher priority and require the attention more than checking the 20 new Facebook notifications lighting up your phone. Writing works in this way. You have to remove the clutter and extra jargon – because ultimately, we are trying to get the point across and focus on what is most important.


Get out and do something fun. Call up your family or friends and plan an event. Have little ones that need attention? Take them to a bookstore and read fun books to them they find interesting. You may even end up helping them with their reading and writing skills; perhaps even your own! End this event with more fun by meeting everyone up in the family at Chuck E. Cheese for dinner. Doing something like this will be a reminder of how much more meaningful your life is. It will raise your self-esteem in conversation and in writing. You won’t be as concerned about other people and what they are doing. Comparing your life to everyone else is a baseline for jealously and overall unhappiness. There have also been reports that Facebook can negatively affect your health! So get out and DO something! These memories will far exceed your memories from Facebook. GOOD LUCK!

Finished the Challenge?