The Drive-In Theatre: Old and Obsolete, or New and Refreshing?

The movie industry is always locked on the next best screenplay, or the newest high definition movie projection technology. But no one is looking towards the past for the next new experience, and they should be.

Take it back to 1933. The Great Depression was in full swing, but a man named Richard Hollingshead didn’t let that stop him from creating that next best thing in the film industry. In an attempt to design a movie theatre experience that was more comfortable for his larger-than-average mother, he revolutionized the movie industry for people of all shapes and sizes for decades to come.

The first drive-in theatre in Pennsauken, New Jersey, 1933

The concept: what if someone could just drive up, park, and watch a movie without ever having to leave their car? Everyone would be able to see the movie through their windshield on a multiple-story high screen and roll their windows down to listen in. The drive-in theatre started with a 1928 Kodak projector mounted on the roof of Hollingshead’s car, a large sheet nailed between two trees, and some low-quality speakers next to the screen. But it spread like a wildfire after Hollingshead patented the idea, and the experience improved rapidly. By the 1950s and 1960s, there were almost 4,000 drive in theatres across America. Visitors could tune in to a special radio station to hear the movie’s audio and leave their windows rolled in case it began to rain.

A showing at Shankweiler’s Drive-In, Orefield, Pennsylvania, circa 1950

Tragically, as interest rates for land tracts rose and more impressive projection technology developed, the drive-in theatre began to die out. By now, there are no more than 300 spread across the United States. It’s a shame that a vintage experience like the drive-in theatre is so hard to find nowadays. But is it? Surely there can’t be one within, say, an hour of your home. Even if there was an easily accessible one, the price of a ticket must be monumental!

Or not. The Ocala Drive-In is only a 45-minute drive from the University of Florida’s main campus, and you can get tickets to two showings in one night for a grand total of six dollars. Even after you incorporate the cost of gas (about three dollars each way), a trip to the drive-in theatre is half the price of two regular movie tickets. Plus, who wouldn’t want the brand-new, priceless experience of a vintage drive-in? The Ocala Drive In is a historical spot in Florida, and it is only one of eight total drive in theatres in the state.

A premiere showing of Cinderella at the Ocala Drive-In, Ocala, Florida, 2015

The theatre may be old, but it always has screenings of the industry’s best blockbusters, like Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Located at 4850 South Pine Avenue, Ocala, FL, the Ocala Drive In is bound to provide visitors with a memorable experience – one that’s bound to make you reconsider going back to your same old, local theatre.

FreeRide Surf & Skate Shop’s History in Gainesville

Skateboarding and Gainesville have had a very interesting relationship over the past 30 years. Ever since there was a skating presence here, FreeRide (Originally known as Inland Surf Shop) has been there.

The store has recently decided to close it shop because it is being bought out by a development company to construct new buildings around the area. Raina, a store employee, did not know a specific date of closing but said it’s scheduled to be closed soon.

They are providing major discounts for skating gear and clothing which is discounted up to 40% off retail value. You can go in and find some great gear for the summer season at ridiculously low prices. They also have some of the most caring staff willing to answer any questions you might have. Local skate shops aren’t businesses, they are part of the community, so come check out FreeRide before we lose a little piece of Gainesville history.

The store originally opened up in 1975 with the explosion of the sport around college campuses everywhere. During that time, most students rode to get around campus and to feel part of the counterculture that was being rampant with the times. In the following decades skating had wild resurgence with street skating in the late 80’s and then in the 90’s due to the popularity of skaters like Tony Hawk and Mark Gonzalez. Skating now has entered the mainstream with popular brands like Supreme and Thrasher being worn and shown off by the most famous celebrities in the world.  Raina went into great detail about the magnitude of the skating culture that was brought here by of one the best skaters of all time, Rodney Mullen.  

Rodney was born in Gainesville, FL and started his lifelong love of skating at around 10. He is arguably the best technical street skater ever and has become known as “The Godfather of Street Skating.” He accumulated a 3.92 GPA while studying biomedical engineering at UF but decided to drop out after starting his own skateboard company, World Industries, but still shares his love of science to the world “I’m a nerd down deep,” he said.” I like computers and I always read that stuff. “He invented tricks like the Flat Ground Ollie, Kickflip, Heelflip, Impossible and the Tre Flip along with 50+ other original tricks.

Sponsored Florida skater Cooper Moser spoke about how much of an influence Rodney Mullen was to him “Yeah man for sure! Rodney definitely inspired me to be a better skateboarder as well as a student in school. Rodney was a mathematician, like he is a genius on and off the board. He definitely inspired “freestyle skateboarding” and created his own tricks as well as his own style. No one can ever recreate what Rodney did for skateboarding. As well as Rodney being from Florida influenced us and gave us hope as skateboarders that we as well can make something out of ourselves as well.” 

The shop also sponsors Possum Creek Skate Park which is a 20,000 sq. ft concrete park created by Spohn Ranch Skate Parks. This skatepark features modern plaza elements, a multi-level bowl and obstacles which allow skaters to transition through the park’s landscaping. These landscaped areas give the skater’s the feeling of a real urban environment.

Photo Courtesy by Possum Creek State Park

Popular Graduation Hairstyles to Wear with Your Cap and Gown

The class of 2019’s answer to fabulous and fresh styles inspired by your favorite celebrities.

Graduation Day — with the special day approaching, the coming weeks will bring caps, gowns, and smiling faces as the class of 2019 welcome their transition into adulthood. Past graduation seasons have shown that finding a hairstyle to complement your cap and gown is no easy task. Co-owner and master hairstylist Michele Anzivino of Gainesville’s Ciao Bella Hair Salon recommends checking out these celeb-inspired trends that will have you looking stunning as you walk across the stage.

  1. The Sleek Up-do


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As we all know, the weather in Gainesville is incredibly hot and humid around graduation time. Anzivino says a great way to avoid frizz and stay cool is to sport a low bun like Selena Gomez’s on your special day. This look is also a super cute and easy way to style your hair under a cap.

2. The Beachy Waves



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Jennifer Lawrence’s beachy waves have become her staple hairstyle on the red carpet. The curls create an effortless vibe that looks flawless even when you take your graduation cap off. Anzivino recommends this style because of its versatility as it can be worn in many ways depending on how tight or loose you prefer your curls to be.

3. The Fishtail Braid



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At the Ciao Bella Salon, many clients are requesting Sarah Hyland’s fishtail for special occasion styles. The elevated side braid looks romantic and elegant while keeping your hair out of your face. To recreate this look at home, make sure to pull out the pieces of hair that frame your face and curl them with an iron.

4. The Half-up, Half-down



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If you would prefer a combination of curls and keeping your hair pulled away from the face, then the half-up and half-down style worn by Blake Lively is the one for you. Anzinivo suggests wrapping your hair around the iron in alternative directions to achieve a natural look. Once the curls are in place, secure the pieces of hair that frame your face with a clear elastic and you’re ready to go!

5. The Low Pony



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Honestly, Jennifer Lopez never fails to disappoint when it comes to her taste in beauty and hair trends. If you’re interested in recreating her popular, chic ponytail, begin by parting your hair before applying styling cream and securing the low pony. It’s as easy as that! Anzivino advises to not forget to make sure the ponytail is low enough to fit your cap.

6. The Blowout


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The blowout is a great way to create a simple look that is both straight and has body. Jessica Alba sports a blowout when she wants to keep things more natural, which might be what you’re looking for on graduation day.

One of these styles is sure to have you feeling your best for graduation! If you’re still unsure of which hairstyle is best for you, the hairstylists at Ciao Bella Salon are always happy to answer questions and offer services.

Visit us at 235 S. Main St Ste 102, Gainesville, Fl 32601 or feel free to call us at (352) 379-9200.



Narratives and Content Marketing Strategies

I may have mentioned this before, but content is where it’s at. Content is becoming so important that the content associated with a good or service is as important as the actual good or service.

It seems truer now more than ever that people want to get a sense of who a company is based on how they sell their products. Sure, we all know the history of the famous Sears catalog, and we know how instrumental that catalog was to Sear’s brand.

But what is it about content that reels people in?

Part of the discussion has to do with competition. If two companies are selling the same product, they have to find a way to get their product noticed. Sure, companies can rely on the quality of their product, and perhaps even word-of-mouth, but that may or may not get people through the door initially. Further, that does not guarantee customer loyalty.  This is where a sound marketing strategy comes helps.

What matters is the narrative a business creates about itself, and the narratives a business can generate for its customers. Content is not just about the object or service on sale. It is about the culture created based on the content of the narratives created.

Advertising is a brand of storytelling.
Advertising is brand storytelling.

The latest round of posts will feature students diving into this storytelling schematic.

For this new assignment, students were asked to create a content marketing strategy for a local business here in Gainesville, Florida. This will be a multi-faceted approach to marketing that will feature a long piece (800 words or more), a short piece (think press release), and a presentation. The end goal is for students to come up with creative and topical ways to sell a business via a stratgic-content campaign.

Our class blog will feature some of their long pieces. It will be interesting to see what kind of narratives they create.


P.S. feature image is Photo by Kaboompics .com

Media and Creativity Collide

The world of advertising is always evolving and changing with the flow of the consumers’ needs. If advertising teams remain stagnant, they become a rock in the river impeding the flow of progress instead of promoting it. The most successful teams are the ones open to change. Sometimes just changing a P to a B is all you need.

Lindsay Rittenhouse gives some insight on how companies are moving with change in this week’s issue of Adweek. IHOP, BP and Westworld are a few examples of how companies are consolidating their media and creative teams to push innovation forward. IHOP’s collaboration with IPG agencies Initiative and Droga5 allowed for the IHOb campaign to come to fruition. All it took was a letter change to blow up Twitter. It would not have happened though if Initiative and Droga5 had not worked so closely throughout the campaign. Consumers in this generation require personalized media and innovative ideas to garner their attention. This creates a need for media teams and creative teams to become synonymous in order to deliver successful media campaigns. BP also had WPP Team Energy create the “Possibilities Everywhere” campaign in order to emphasize its support of transitioning to a lower carbon future. WPP used a single team made up of strategists, media specialists and creatives in order to deliver the campaign instead of splitting up the responsibility into separate teams. Westworld and Giant Spoon also found great commercial success in its campaign for the new TV show. Giant Spoon co-founder Marc Simons stated how they don’t treat media creation like an assembly line. “There’s a central team made up of strategy, creative, media, experiential that is linked to our projects. It’s not just a media-led project or creative-led project,” Simons said.

Advertising has become a creative collaboration. As consumers take in new media their expectations rise. Media and creative teams can no longer act separately if they want to create the next IHOb. Creating innovative media is difficult for one department to do. Everyone can’t be as witty as the International House of Pancakes, or should I say burgers. While collaborations between teams can bring tension and cause individuals to butt heads the pay off is tremendous. IHOP’s campaign speaks for itself garnering 1.2 million tweets and 15,000 media stories in just ten days. There were probably individuals who laughed at the idea of IHOb proclaiming that a letter change won’t create any media buzz. Low and behold though that the IHOb campaign is one of the most successful media strategies in the past few years. Times are changing and with that consumers needs are as well. Advertisers need to take risks and get creative with their media. IHOP and Westworld have shown the industry that consolidating media and creative teams are a step in the right direction in combating an evolving market. Who will use this information to succeed in the market? Only time will tell. It is clear as day though that advertising must do something different or it risks falling to the wayside in the mind of the consumers.

For more information, follow up by reading the article What’s Old is New in Adweek volume 60.

It’s the Content, Fool, the Content

We are heading into the last quarter of the semester. While it went by really fast, there is still more work to be done. In fact, it seems that most of the work has been saved to the end.

At least that is what one of my students said. I assured him that we do not plan things this way; It’s just that we are at the more advanced work. I don’t think he believed me.

In any case, we are steamrolling towards one of the final projects of the course: content marketing campaigns. For this assignment, students have to pick a local business here in Gainesville and develop a content marketing strategy for that business. This business should be a local outfit, and it can be a for-profit or non-profit business.

The main things students are going to learn during this project is how to shape content that tells the story of a company and sells the product the company produces.

Content marketing is changing to accommodate the times, and if it feels like we are in some strange public relations time warp all the time, that’s because we are. One thing that social media has made very clear is that narratives are important and not just product narratives. Brand narratives matter and consumers are demanding more and more that these narratives be shaped by some ideology.

The Nike and Colin Kaepernick campaign is a perfect example:

Today, we live in what I like to call a “narrative economy,” one where who a company is or how a company identifies matters just as much as the products they sell. Maybe it is a sign of the times, but companies are increasingly being asked to publicize their values. Companies are no longer allowed to paint themselves as neutral actors. People are demanding that companies have some social relevance, some social good, in order to be accepted.

I am not sure how long this trend will last or whether it is even right to make these demands on companies (that would make an interesting debate). I am sure that content marketing, specifically the kind that involves careful storytelling, is critical to company success right now.

We will talk more about content marketing in the coming days, and I will certainly post more on it. For this week, though, get ready for some trade journal posts from the students.

I have to say: I am very proud of them. These trade journals/press releases are getting better and better every time. Here are some great reads you should check out this weekend:

Vegan Beauty is All the Buzz: A look into the vegan cosmetic industry. Is it a fad, or is it here to stay?
Social Media and Eating Habits: An interesting and slightly terrifying look at the ways social media influences eating habits.
Economic, Racial, and Gender Inequality: A series of press releases that touch on the college admissions scandal involving the wealthy, the corporate diversity rates, and the sexual harassment of female lawyers by their clients.

Good stuff. They have chosen some great content here because, as the title says, it’s all about the content.