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Archive for March, 2012

Hungry for the Spotlight

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

What do you get when you take a wildly popular young adult sci-fi triology, cast attractive actors to play the leading characters and turn it into film? Record-breaking box office sales, apparently.

The much-anticipated March 23rd release of ‘The Hunger Games,’ a film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic thriller, is predicted to gross in excess of $100 million dollars in opening weekend alone. And according to The Wall Street Journal, Barclays Capital estimates that the movie will generate $275 million domestically. In the days leading up to its nationwide release, thousands of fans have camped out overnight across the country to buy tickets to premier shows in advance. Pre-release hype like this is rivaled only by the latest installment of the ‘Twilight’ series. And as a result of their similar tweeny girl fan bases, The Hunger Games and Twilight have invited a wealth of comparisons between the two series. But how similar are they?

Although both young adult storylines feature female heroines and compelling love triangles, fans and critics alike agree that the similarities end there. In fact, a recent editorial in The Atlantic explained that most adult fans scoff at comparisons to Stephanie Meyers’ vampire-themed Twilight, largely out of a passionate disdain for the novel’s flimsy heroine, Bella. ‘Over the course of the series’ four books, I’m pretty sure Bella never kills, or even injures, anyone,’ Noah Berlatzsky writes. ‘When she does resort to violence, it’s always ineffectual and comical, as when she hits Jacob and injures her fist.’

On the other end of the spectrum, The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen is a resourceful and impressive fighter, a heroine worthy of young female fans.’ According to Blatzky,’ ‘Katniss is an extremely competent hunter and archer, a born survivor who is deadly when cornered. Through the Hunger Games series, she racks up a body count that would impress Dirty Harry. Thumb-fingered Bella wouldn’t stand a chance [against Katniss].’

As excitement builds for the release of The Hunger Games, be careful not to offend feisty fans with comparisons to Twilight. For a list of further faux pas to avoid, check out the official movie site’s list of Dos and Don’ts.

Inside out.

Friday, March 9th, 2012
Ever wonder how enormous objects are installed inside for display ? ‘Like Sue, the T-Rex at the Field Museum in Chicago. ‘Granted
they moved her in pieces and reassembled her. ‘But what about things like airplanes ? ‘Do they use the same process ? Or build the venue around the object ?
Shot on an iPhone with an Instagram filter by Ashley Youkilis.

Spreading Like Wildfire

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Every morning, coupons for deals at local restaurants, gyms, cafes, and spas ‘flood our inboxes. Groupon, Living Social, CincySavers, Deal Chicken ‘ odds are you are subscribed to one or more of those daily deal e-blasts. Indeed, daily deal savers have been a boon for bargain hunters, particularly among the more affluent with disposable income to splurge on sky diving and bikini waxes. According to a recent Time article, ‘The consulting firm Accenture [found that] 54% of households with incomes of $150,000 and above are registered to receive daily deal offers, compared to just 27% of households with income of $35K or less.’

While we consumers are scoring sweet prices, the businesses involved frequently get the short end of the stick ‘ until now. Since the summer of 2011, ‘cash mobs’ have taken the daily deal concept and spun it to favor not just the consumer, but local business as well. Participants pick a store, designate a time, and spread the message via social media like Facebook and Twitter to send patrons (and their wallets) in droves.

According to Chris Smith, the Buffalo engineer who organized one of the first cash mobs to a local wine shop, ‘It’s not just about the money that comes in that day,’ but about promoting businesses with small marketing budgets in the hopes that one-off deal chasers become loyal customers. Yet, according to AdAge, the online deals have not proved to be worthwhile for some businesses. What’s more, Groupon’s initial public offering revealed no earnings, thus creating an opportunity for alternatives to flourish.

The protocol varies slightly from town to town, Cleveland Cash Mobbers have decreed a list of rules to get others started. With an emphasis on supporting local communities, cash mobbers are encouraged to support locally-owned businesses,’and, of course, gather at a local watering hole after the event.’While marketing and advertising experts are trying to figure out the future for the Groupon-led deals, we’re keeping our eye on the growing popularity of cash mobs.

Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

With a camera on every SmartPhone and a plethora of apps that can manipulate our everyday surroundings, even the most ordinary object can become anything but.
Shot on an iPhone w/ Instagram filter by Ashley Youkilis.