Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mad Men

Most people outside of the profession don’t know the difference between public relations and advertising. For example, a component of public relations is “earned” media. That is to say, PR helps develop stories that the news media determine to be appealing or newsworthy, so the media report your story. With advertising, you pay for your space or time in the media. Both disciplines demand creativity and a strategic approach. In most organizations, there are clear walls between those handling public relations and those in advertising. That’s by design.

I’ve spent my entire career on the public relations side and only dabbled with paid advertising. But with recent developments within the California State University system and the sudden reversal to once again admit more students, we need to get the word out. Unfortunately, our university (much like most CSU campuses) doesn’t have an advertising department – or even an advertising budget, for that matter. The free media, including social media, helps, but it doesn’t reach our entire audience.

So this month I crossed over to the advertising side as Cal State San Bernardino introduced its first television advertising campaign. Since funds are limited, it’s limited to cable subscribers in designated Inland Empire areas, and only on a handful of cable networks. Naturally, I’ve posted the spots here and on Facebook. You can find them all at the CSUSB YouTube channel. Take a look and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Old College Try

This is a bittersweet time in our household. Sam just turned 18, his senior pictures arrived and he’s looking ahead to college next year. At this point we really don’t know where he’ll be in the fall, but it’s not because he hasn’t had a chance to look at colleges. He and Allie Seligman spent the past weekend with Megan Moore, who gave them the grand tour of Sonoma State and the local area. More than anything, it was a great opportunity for a road trip and for all of them to spend time together – and to spend a few days seeing what it’s like to be living on their own. Sam came back with Sonoma high on his list of choices.

Sam got a taste of that the previous weekend, when he spent his 18th birthday weekend with his brother Sid at Cal State San Marcos. I didn’t ask many questions, but I’m sure it was more than a “taste” of college life.

There are still a few more campuses that Sam will visit, but he’s been to Northern Arizona, USC, Redlands, UCLA, UCSB, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and others. Some will make the cut and others won’t… Of course, he won’t make the cut at some of those, but the value is in seeing what he likes and doesn’t like. He seems to have settled on a top three, but the final decision will be based on where he is accepted and what we can afford. By springtime the pieces will fall into place.

This entire process is pretty interesting and inspiring; not only with Sam, but hearing what schools other high school seniors are visiting. Most are still in the same boat as Sam – sending out applications and waiting to find out where they are accepted before charting out the next chapter in their lives. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday Night Lights, College Gameday, The NFL Today

The best thing about the fall is that every weekend is filled with football. And this time of year, the football feast goes well beyond the weekend, with NFL games on Thursday nights, too.

Fridays mean high school games, and I go to a prep game almost every Friday night. I saw most of Claremont High’s games this year, but skipped a couple to catch Upland High and watch some of the kids who played baseball with or against Sam when he was younger. Both teams advanced to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, and I opted to stay closer to home for the Upland game against Temecula Chaparral instead of traveling to Eastvale (near Corona) for the Wolfpack’s game against Roosevelt High. Both the local teams faced tough challenges in the first round. Claremont lost its game to Roosevelt, 28-21, and apparently had a chance to tie the game late. Roosevelt was the regular-season second place team in the league that was won by nationally ranked Corona Centennial. This was the best season for the Pack in several years, finishing with an overall record of 7-4.

Meanwhile, Upland outlasted Chaparral, 40-35, but was clearly the better team, despite the close score. The Highlanders gave up a pair of touchdowns on turnovers, but also took advantage of very questionable coaching decisions on the part of the Pumas. Upland moves on to host Corona Centennial on Nov. 26.

Saturdays are reserved for college football. When UCLA has a home game, that eats up the entire day, which is set aside for hours of tailgating, plus the game itself. There is plenty of college football action on TV when the Bruins are on the road, although I’d just as soon forget about their performance Thursday night at Washington. Ouch.

It’s actually hard for me to sit down and watch an entire NFL game on Sundays, mainly because I have a need to use my time constructively, even if that’s doing chores and running errands. The only thing that matters anyway is how my fantasy guys are doing, and those updates are available all day. 

I love when it rains on the weekend. It’s the perfect excuse to sit and watch football and not feel guilty about not being productive around the house. That lack of guilt only goes so far, because the rain also means that I should sit down and update my blog.

Tonight I’ll turn my attention to women’s volleyball and hope that Cal State San Bernardino wins the NCAA Division II West Regional. If the Coyotes beat Seattle Pacific, they’ll advance to the national tournament Dec. 2-4 in Louisville for a shot at the university’s elusive first national championship.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Good Seats Still Available

No matter which school you favor, the UCLA-USC game is always an event. There’s nothing quite like the college football experience, and when rivals square off, it’s nothing short of chaos and mayhem. Depending on what time you arrive to start tailgating, that description doesn’t even begin to set the scene.

Of course, I mean that in a pleasurable, positive way. For the past two years I’ve had UCLA season tickets, and there is absolutely nothing better on a Saturday in the fall than to be with family and friends at a college football game. And it’s all the more fun when some of your tailgating friends are the parents of the quarterback.

The past two years have been incredible watching the remarkable development of Richard Brehaut as the Bruin QB. After watching from the sidelines for most of last year and a bit of this season, the job is his. He’s performed admirably, demonstrated leadership qualities and has shown tremendous potential. Yeah, this really is fun to watch, and just as enjoyable watching Danny and Yvonne along the way.

It’s great to watch the games on television – and UCLA plays on TV Thursday night at Washington and on Friday, Nov. 26, at Arizona State. But you gotta be there. There is only one more home game at the Rose Bowl, so your opportunities are running out for this year. Yep, that’s the rivalry game against the Trojans on Saturday, Dec. 4. Tickets are still available.

I found this graphic on Facebook
If you’re reading this, you likely know me, which means you might know Danny or Yvonne, too. So why wouldn’t you go to watch their son lead the Bruins in the biggest game of the year? This is one of those rare and extraordinary experiences in life, and you have the opportunity to be there.

The game’s at 7:30 p.m., but the tailgating starts many many hours earlier. We’ll be in Lot H on the south side of the Rose Bowl. Give me a call once you have your tickets and join us for the pre-game activities. I really do hope to see you there.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eight is Enough

It’s been more than eight months since I last updated my blog. Truth be told, I’ve let it go dormant because it’s a heck of a lot easier to post bite-size notes or links on Facebook and other sites instead. 

For a blog to have value, you really do need to give it regular attention. Unfortunately, I spend most of my day at my computer – both at work and at home – and don’t relish the thought of adding to that time. Like most of you reading this, it’s hard to find the extra hours for yet another “assignment.” Another problem is that I when I write, I like to put some time into formulating my thoughts. So there you have it;  I haven’t felt like spending another couple of hours at the computer each day. Thanks for understanding.

Enough of my whining. It’s time to take this thing off life support and give an honest effort in reviving "Sid’s Side." This time I’ll try not to let it consume so much of my time so that it drives me away again. I’ll be brief – perhaps a compromise between the previous postings and the Facebook model.  I’m giving it another shot.

So why dust off the blog after so long? Because today is a significant day and it seemed appropriate.

My dad would have been 100 years old today if he was still alive. That’s an incredibly strange concept to wrap my head around. Obviously, he was older (48) than most of my friends' fathers when I was born. My dad – the previous Sid Robinson – died when he was 60 and I was just a couple weeks shy of my 12th birthday. I don’t know that I ever really thought a lot about his age when I was younger, except that I was the first of my friends to lose a father. But I’m thinking about it now. Today it got me.