UNI Student Blog Gains National Readership Through Academic Work
IDS major Jessica Christensen branded herself as “The Visual Vegan” as part of a project in her Digital Advertising class. As part of the project, students are required to develop and promote a personal brand utilizing social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Jessica’s Visual Vegan brand combined her interest in graphic technologies, marketing, and animal activism. She explained, “It’s easy to feel alone as a vegan in the Midwest, but experiencing it on a digital platform opened my eyes to this whole new world of kind, compassionate, and driven professionals. I hope to work alongside these people to make a positive difference in animal’s lives.”
One of her most recent posts reflected on a recent social ad created by the Ruffles brand of potato chips. The post poked fun at vegetarian Thanksgiving options:
Ruffles’ offensive approach towards vegans struck a chord with Jessica, who wrote her post as a response to this ad. This post has been viewed on a national level. When searching for this Ruffles discrepancy, type in “ruffles thanksgiving” and Jessica’s post, “Hey Ruffles, Don’t Piss Off Vegans On Thanksgiving” will be the first result. This is above the NY Post article.
When she was checking her Google Analytics for her blog, the numbers jumped exponentially in a few days after publishing the Ruffles post.
Many of Jessica’s site visitors came from Google searches. This indicates that her blog achieved excellent search engine rankings through its high quality and relevant content. With over 2,000 page views in a few days, Jessica definitely accomplished her goal of raising awareness about this ad! Below is the overall important statistics that influence the grade you receive.
In recent light of the distasteful joke, Ruffles issued an apology to vegans.
Direct messages were sent to various people speaking out about the incident. All were very similarly worded to this message. PETA sent a letter to the President and COO of Frito-Lay North American on November 29th. The letter intended to have the advertisements removed from all platforms. Ruffles has removed all the advertisements on social media since then.
Jessica’s experience in Digital Advertising has given her a new perspective on future careers in the digital space. She stated, “This project was by far one of the most beneficial to me in terms of professional and personal growth. It gave me a clear big picture of what path I want my life to take.”
Who is Jessica Christensen?
Jessica is currently a non-traditional student at the University of Northern Iowa studying Graphic Technologies with a minor in Marketing. She will be graduating Cum Laude in December 2017. Her time at UNI was dedicated to many clubs such as American Advertising Federation (AAF) where she has been the Creative Director. Jessica has also been involved in the Grafx club as a general member and designer.
She spends her extra time volunteering at Wildthunder W.A.R.S. for their cat adoption program. In the past, she has volunteered at the NE Iowa Food Bank in the pantry to assist community members in getting monthly groceries. But that’s not all! She donates her time to being a Consumer Behavior tutor, along with doing freelance design, and pet sitting on the side.
After graduation, Jessica plans on looking in the Cedar Valley for positions related to graphic technologies. While her plans after graduation are not set in stone, her aspirations are clear. She hopes to work for a company that has a positive impact on the world as a whole. Her dream job would be working for Mercy for Animals or any similar animal advocacy group as a Content Strategist or Digital Media Director.