Jordan Peele Strikes Again With ‘Us’

Peele shocks audiences with a strong opening week and a haunting movie experience

Jordan Peele has gone from dipping his toes to diving right into the deep end of the horror genre. His latest work, Us, follows a black family of four on a weekend trip to the beach in Southern California as chaos ensues across the United States. The movie made a meteor landing at the box office last weekend, scoring an impressive $70 million and a spot in the top three biggest horror movie openings of all time.

The premise of the movie sounds like a fever dream without being able to watch it unfold in theatres, but here it is in short: a government program gone wrong leads to the hostile takeover of red-jumpsuited doppelgangers who come from abandoned underground tunnels and are inspired by the 1986 charity program Hands Across America. Sounds crazy, right? But once you watch it, the concept becomes increasingly more unsettling, leaving you to wonder: “During what mundane task will my evil doppelganger come and take me?”

As it turns out, though, tagging a specific character with the “bad guy” title in this film isn’t as easy as it initially seems. The cerebral thriller leaves the audience with many questions, the most prominent of which are, “What’s going to happen to the rest of Adelaide’s family? Will Jason confront his mother, now knowing she’s the ‘evil’ copy?” These questions, as well as many other questions viewers might have, could all be answered in the future.

“There’s always the possibility (though slim) that Peele has another twist up his sleeve — maybe this could be the first entry in a larger series…This could be Peele’s attempt at a larger universe.”

Josh Spiegel

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Josh Spiegel explains that a franchise based on Us would be a welcome return for Nyong’o as Red/Adelaide, as she delivered nearly two full hours of an incredible onscreen performance.

Lupita Nyong’o as Red and Adelaide in Us

To read Spiegel’s opinion and more about Us, check out Josh Spiegel’s “The Questions Lingering After ‘Us’,” The Hollywood Reporter, (Mar 23, 2019).

Future of Tourism to be Influenced Through Global Summit

Each year the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) holds a Global Summit to discuss how tourism has evolved throughout the year, as well as upcoming trends for the industry. This year’s event will be held in Seville, Spain.

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Image of Seville, Spain – Courtesy of TripSavvy

Travel Weekly highlights expectations for this year’s Global Summit in its article, “Change in the Making,” written by Arnie Weissmann and Johanna Jainchill.

The event will feature several speakers, one of which will be Ken Dychtwald, CEO of the company Age Wave. Age Wave’s business mission is to focus on the older demographic of the population and the problems that affect it.

He will be speaking about something that seems unconventional to the tourism industry, which is refocusing tourism’s target market to the older generations. It’s often assumed that younger people are the ones who like to travel and embark on adventures, but according to Dychtwald the opposite is true.  “[The older generation has] more appetite for travel, more desire to experience the world, more free time and financial strength than ever before in history,” Dychtwald says.

There will also be several other speakers, most notably including Barack Obama, who was an advocate for tourism during his presidency. Travel Weekly says that he will speak about why he saw tourism as a valuable part of the U.S. Economy.

Ultimately, this article provides insight that tourism is continuously changing, and the Global Summit will be a driving force in this change. Attendees are urged to listen to the speakers who will explain the major changes that will happen in the industry, as well as how to best prepare their businesses for them.

As time passes, a variety of factors will continue to affect tourism. It is an industry that always allows room for substantial growth, and the summit this year will surely educate tourism professionals on how to be successful in this changing environment.

For more on the annual Global Summit, visit Arnie Weissmann and Johanna Jainchill’s “Change in the Making” Travel Weekly, (2019). https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Government/World-Travel-Tourism-Council-Global-Summit-Change-in-the-making

Storytelling Techniques in Marketing

Storytelling. The most basic, yet intriguing pastime since the dawn of human communication. Storytelling not only draws in an audience, but makes listeners engaged until the narrative concludes. This type of verbal interaction has primal roots and serves as an important way to carry on tradition and valuable information. Effective marketing and advertising techniques incorporate storytelling into campaigns in order to draw in and effectively engage audiences.

Why does storytelling work as such a valuable marketing tool? The answer is simple and reverts back to creating a connection with those interested with the tale at hand. An example of storytelling in advertising includes Nike’s “Become Legendary” campaign. Nike’s message encourages the audience to feel empowered and become as “legendary” as Michael Jordan. The reasoning behind why viewers connect with the advertisement traces back to biology with “mirror neurons [which] help us feel what others feel.” This phenomena makes “stories relatable and motivate action.” In marketing, this storytelling technique promotes action by the audience. In effect, customers become encouraged to do business with a particular brand.

Storytelling also creates a “driving force that inspires action.” Creating motivation serves as a prime way to encourage consumers to become involved and interested in a product or service. Apple’s “Share Your Gifts” visual storytelling ad promotes action by its audience. Encouragement through storytelling results in a call to action which creates a relationship with Apple and their consumers.

The evolution of storytelling from ways to continue cultural traditions to a form of marketing displays the versatility of an effective form of communication. If in search of a unique yet successful marketing tool, give storytelling a try and the results will most likely bring about the success wanted.

For more on this, check out, Jennifer Lux’s “The Psychology Behind Brand Storytelling and Its Effect on Consumers”, Voice, Adweek(Mar 15, 2019).

https://www.adweek.com/creativity/the-psychology-behind-brand-storytelling-and-its-effect-on-consumers/

Why Apple Had to Change

During these last few years, the company that told everyone to think different, has repeatedly done the opposite and disappointed customers for years now. Last Monday, Apple presented drastic changes to the image of the company and had one of the most polarizing keynote events of recent memory.  The keynote was about services like Apple Card, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV +. 

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Image Courtesy of Apple

Apple Card is a credit card where users will earn 3 percent back on Apple purchases, 2 percent on all purchases made with Apple Pay, and 1 percent cash back on physical card purchases. They also introduced Daily Cash, which means your Daily Cash balance will post to your account the same day that your transactions post. There are no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, no late payment fees, or fees for exceeding your credit limit. They also said they hope to offer lower interest rates than its competitors. 

apple news
Image Courtesy of Apple

Apple News + gives you unlimited access to more than 300 magazines and a few newspapers.  The publications include Time, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Wired, Skimm, Vulture, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. 

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Image Courtesy of Apple

Apple Arcade promises high-quality, premium games. No ads, no lockout timers, no in-app purchases, and no need for internet connections. You will also be able to cross-platform play, which means you can play on your iPhone, and pick up where you left off on your Mac, iPad, or your Apple TV. 

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Image Courtesy of Apple

Finally, they introduced Apple TV Plus, the subscription service will feature original TV shows and movies. Apple brought about a dozen brand-name talents involved with its series, including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, Kumail Nanjiani, and Big Bird, and Oprah. 

The drastic change to services is not surprising; Apple has had worrying sales for the past five years because consumers are buying phones less. The only reason for sales growth is because they raised the price of the iPhones. The iPhone generates two-thirds of apples overall sales, so the introduction of these new paid services is Apple’s solution to replace the lowering margins of apples sales profits. 

Opening the Doors for Diversity in American Theater

New leadership roles are popping up at theaters across the country. Many of the longtime artistic directors that have served their communities for the past 50 to 60 years are beginning to retire. It’s important to note that most of these directors are white men. Many of them are stepping down to retire, while a few of them are getting the boot after sexual misconduct and workplace harassment allegations. This has created the opportunity for greater diversity in leadership positions within the theater.

In the latest edition of The New York Times, theater reporter, Michael Paulson, writes about this major leadership transition and how it has led to a total transformation within the American theater. According to Paulson, the role of the artistic director is not only to choose the show lineup and oversee its production, but also to serve as the face of the theater, forming relationships with patrons and getting new community members into the audience.  

As many of these artistic directors are stepping down from their roles, more and more are being replaced by women and people of color. A study done by two Bay Area directors, Rebecca Novick and Evren Odcikin, looked at 85 artistic director jobs around the U.S. and found that since 2015, 41 percent of those jobs have been filled by women and 26 percent by people of color.

Paulson suggests that although this leadership transition is a huge step forward in terms of representation and diversity in the theater community, this is still an uneven demographic change. Women are still less likely to get hired over men, and women of color are even less likely to get hired.

“Theater leadership is still not broadly reflective of the nation’s demographics.”

Additionally, once these directors step into their new roles, it is a delicate balancing act to find the right amount of change and continuity. According to Paulson, it’s crucially important that they think strategically about how to lure in new audiences. They should not be so quick to make changes that they distance the theater’s current patrons as a result.

It’s going to take time before theater leadership is fully representative of the demographics of the nation. In the meantime, the small steps towards inclusivity are changing preconceived notions and creating a more welcoming theater experience for everyone.

For more on this, check out, Michael Paulson’s “The Theater, Transformed,” The New York Times (Mar. 20, 2019): C1

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.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ and the Marvel Fishhook

After eleven years of universe building, Marvel already has our attention and doesn’t need to do much more in the way of teasing

Since 2008, Marvel has had comic book nerds and action movie lovers alike raving over their ever-expanding cinematic universe. With every post-credit scene and every teaser trailer, the Disney-owned company charges up potential energy to slingshot the next installment under their name into the list of highest grossing movies of all time. Avengers Infinity War, released in late April 2018, sits comfortably at number 4 on the list; Captain Marvel, the franchise’s latest release, blew past the $500 million mark in just a week.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

But Marvel barely needs to lift a finger anymore to get fans foaming at the mouth for their next film, and their recent trailer for Avengers: Endgame shows that they know it. The trailer, which mostly consists of shots from past Marvel movies, seems to act simply as a recap for fans to know what is at stake in the movies: the fate of the entire cinematic universe. Fans have speculated on who we might lose in the next film, but no one knows for sure.

“It [seems] impossible to not disappoint fans who [have] built impossibly high expectations about the conclusion of the Infinity War storyline…We’re two (three) trailers in, and Endgame has been appropriately teased without saying almost anything at all about the movie itself, therefore upsetting no one.”

            Graeme McMillan, writing for the Hollywood Reporter, hits the nail on the head when he explains why Marvel no longer needs to provide spoilers in their trailers. Spoilers ruin excitement and upset fanbases. All Marvel needs for their well-established universe (eleven years in the making) is a few urgent tones and ultimatums like those heard in the trailer, repeating “Whatever it takes” all the way through.

Scarlet Johansson, Karen Gillan, and Robert Downey Jr. in the trailer forAvengers: Endgame (set to release April 2019)

            For more information on Avengers: Endgame, check out Graeme McMillan’s “Avengers: Endgame and the Art of the Spoiler-Free Trailer,” The Hollywood Reporter, (Mar 14, 2019).

-Ian

Interactive Museums Become Hot Spots for Millennials

In the modern age it seems most people are not shy to post their daily outings on social media platforms? As an effort to connect with social media engrossed individuals in society, interactive museums serve as a new way to involve guests by featuring the perfect set-ups for your next instagram post.

“The average millennial checks their phone 43 times and spends five hours on social media per day.”

In order to produce successful marketing in the modern age, strategies must reflect knowing “where the millenials are” and what they are interested in.

Refinery29’s 29Rooms pop-up featured 29 different interactive, artistic displays inviting guests to become one with the art. The Museum of Ice Cream in Miami features a set of fun, brightly colored rooms which feature a banana swing, sprinkles play pool and whipped cream cloud exhibit.

(Image Courtesy of Refinery29)

These displays not only are fun for visitors, but serve as a successful marketing strategy. Once photos are posted online through Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, others become interested in visiting these centers as well. Capturing the interest of more potential visitors and dispersing unpaid advertising presents a win-win for these “selfie factories.”

Other potential successful strategies may include scavenger hunts which connect with a brand. This may include “digital touchpoints” or app-related experiences exclusive to those with access. For example, by buying VIP tickets to a concert, a customer may receive a personalized message from the head singer.

Interactive experiences present a seemingly fun and easy activity which captures an audience and presents effective advertising as well. From selfie factories to interactive programming, creative strategies provide sufficient revenue and pull in the interest of modern day consumers.

For more on this, check out,  Daniel Ramirez’s “Creating Experiential That Stands Out in a Crowded Industry”, Voice, Adweek (Mar 12, 2019).

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/creating-experiential-that-stands-out-in-a-crowded-industry/

The new Avengers: Endgame trailer shows almost nothing, and that’s great

Avengers: Endgame is one of the most secretive blockbusters ever, with little to no information about the project known. Marvel is trying to be very careful about any details of the project being leaked, even though the movie is just about one month from release. 

The film has had one of the most interesting marketing campaigns of a movie in recent memory; while superhero movie trailers have been criticized for showing too much of their movie, Avengers: Endgame has shown almost nothing. At first, we only found out about the title of the movie 3 months ago with the first trailer, and most of the footage shown has been shown in other trailers. We have also only had 2 posters, the first showing nothing but the Avengers logo and the new one showing all the avengers looking heroic with Thanos in the background. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have cited that they will only use the first 15 minutes of the movie as material to use for marketing. 

The movie has had two trailers and a super bowl spot which is incredibly sparse for a high budget movie of this caliber. The newest trailer, which was released on March 14th, starts with a recap of the previous marvel movies for about a minute and then shows a minute of new footage including the Avengers in new white suits and Captain Marvel interacting with the Avengers. 

This movie is the culmination of 21 movies over the span of 11 years. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, has been wildly successful, being the highest grossing franchise of all time with over 18 billion dollars grossed at the box office. 

The previous movie, Avengers: Infinity War was about the mad titan Thanos trying to accumulate all the infinity stones, which are 6 gems with unique powers, in his gauntlet. The film shockingly concluded with the villain defeating the Avengers and wiping out half the population of all living creatures in the universe.

Avengers: Endgameopens on April 26 

The College Admissions Scandal Proves Online Image is Everything

How quickly influencers can lose their advertising

Photo Credit: USA Today

Nothing has shown the dangers of influencers and false advertising quite like influencer Olivia Jade Giannulli. The news of numerous rich celebrities has come out about parents paying for their children to attend prestigious universities without the required academic qualifications. Many of the parents have already been charged for this blatant fraud including actress Lori Loughlin, mother of Olivia Jade, becoming a wake-up call for influencers everywhere just how important the content they present is.

Prior to the scandal being exposed, Olivia Jade would present her “brand” on her YouTube channel as a fun college girl and even admits to only wanting to experience USC for the games and parties over the actual school work in her video below titled “basically all the tea you need to know about me (boys, college, youtubers).” It’s a wonder how the world didn’t put the pieces together based on how she branded herself online. Now, the appropriate reactions have come forth and according to Ad Age author Angela Doland, “ In the comments of a sponsored Instagram post about Giannulli getting her college dorm supplies from an Amazon service for students, someone wrote, ‘Hoping your sponsors dump you ASAP.” Since then the advertising backlash has taken off, her biggest partner, Sephora, dropped her “Olivia Jade x Sephora” makeup collection most recently, which will be a big dent in her current and future relationships with brands.

This just goes to show how fragile the common job of an influencer nowadays truly is. Branding yourself online is opening companies and audiences into your life and when your credibility becomes lost, so does all your income that relies on it.

-Julia

For more info go to Angela Doland’s article, “An Influencer Gets Caught Up in the College Admissions Scandal: Wednesday Wake-Up Call,” Ad Age, (March 13th, 2019).

Link: https://adage.com/article/news/news/316960/