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Two and a Half Cents

My Take on Current and Future Marketing Trends

Month

September 2012

Week 5 The Concept Paper: Paradise Grill or Evergreen Transportation, LLC?

Paradise Grill

 

Focus:

15 second commercial to run on Friday morning news, 5 strategically placed billboards, a Facebook coupon advertisement, ¼ page ad in Food section of the local Sunday newspaper

The Brand:

Strengths

Restaurant offers exotic dishes such as Korean Bulgogi and Seared Shark, extraordinary ambiance, and distinguished customer service

Weaknesses

Modest accommodations, overly-exotic menu choices that may not be right for all, unaccommodating to smaller children

Audience Demographics:

Middle to Upper income families, ages 45-75, well traveled, adventurous, appreciative of the finer things in life

Content Points:

  • Exotic menu selections
  • Ambiance
  • Customer service
  • Demographic served

 

Evergreen Transportation, LLC

 

Focus:

Advertisement on C.H. Robinson load boards, Postcard and direct mail advertisements to local manufacturing plants, 1 page advertisement in TheTrucker.Com

The Brand:

Strengths

On-time guaranteed delivery, On-call 24/7 customer service, Low-rates, Local and OTR delivery, Over-seas delivery

Weaknesses

Limited trucks, Must book in advance, No Less-Than-Truck-Load shipping options

Audience Demographics:

Manufacturing plants, Companies needing to move large shipments, Small companies looking to save money on shipments

Content Points:

  • Locally owned and operated
  • Inexpensive
  • Advance scheduling
  • On-Call 24/7 customer service
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It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra)

George Baileys Personal Journey 

What is at stake?

The main characters life and everything he owns is at stake.

Who is the central character?

George Bailey played by (James Stewart), is a savings and loan manager who is about to lose everything he owns to a greedy town banker who does not care about anyone. George is a loving and caring family man who views the world through rose colored glasses. He holds out hope despite the fact that his life is anything but perfect. It is only after losing everything and attempting suicide that his true story begins.

Why?

George Bailey is the perfect example of a person who is handed every conceivable obstacle imaginable and yet, at the worst moment of his life, he can still realize his own self-worth.  Little does he know that he is about to embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Describe the character’s personal journey.

George Bailey begins his journey with a prayer. He is contemplating suicide because, throughout his lifetime, he has faced nothing but hardships and trials, although he is one of the most kind and generous men alive.

On this dark, cold and snowy Christmas eve, George has suffered for the very last time.  Unbeknownst to George, he is about to encounter an stranger who will provide him with a different perspective of the life George has led.

George’s life is flashed before our eyes. He is a 12 year old young man growing up in a town called Bedford Falls in 1919. George, his little brother Harry and a group of friends are out sledding near a frozen pond.  When his little brother slides down the hill and ends up in the icy water of the pond, George unthinkingly dives in after him, saving his little brother from certain death but at a cost; George loses his hearing in his left ear.

Next we see George working for Mr. Gower in the town drug store, running local deliveries and helping with customers, etc.. George flirts with a few girls as they come and go from the store. George is thought of as an arrogant boy; head full of knowledge and always speaking about his quest to leave Bedford Falls one day. Mary, a young girl from Bedford Falls, is secretly in love with George and, one day while shopping in the drug store, whispers in George’s ear that she will always love him til the day she dies. She doesn’t realize that she whispers into his deaf ear and her confession goes unnoticed.

George’s boss, Mr. Gower, asks George run a prescription to a customer. George had seen a telegram earlier that day, addressed to Mr. Gower, informing Mr. Gower of his son’s death.  George notices that Mr. Gower is upset and had used the wrong medicine when mixing the prescription and doesn’t know what to do. George seeks out his father’s advice.

We see George listening in on a conversation between George’s father and the hateful Mr. Potter, who wishes nothing more than to put an end to the Building and Loan Association that his father manages. When Mr. Potter accuses George’s father of running a charity and is a complete failure, George speaks up to defend his father’s honor.

George runs back to the drug store to return the pills to Mr. Gower. Mr. Gower is upset that George didn’t deliver the pills and slaps George. George tells Mr. Gower why he didn’t deliver the pills, Mr. Gower feels bad and begins to cry. He hugs George and begs forgiveness for slapping George.

We move ahead to 1928. George is now a young man. He is following his dreams of getting out of Bedford Falls. He is getting ready to leave for Europe before heading to college. It is the last night before his big trip and it is also the evening of his little brother’s high school graduation.

George and his family sit around the family dining table talking about how Mr. Potter continues to harass his father at the Building and Loan. George’s father asks George if he would consider taking over his father’s position but George declines. He states he would go crazy if he had to stay in Bedford Falls.

That evening, after attending his brother’s graduation, George meets a very mature Mary at his brother’s graduation party. He takes her dancing and so begins his courtship of Mary; the same Mary that confessed her love for George many years before.

George’s courtship of Mary ends abruptly as his father suffers a stroke and passes away. George puts his dreams on hold as he volunteers to take over his father’s responsibilities. Mr. Potter wishes to gain control of the Building and Loan association but the town’s people vote George in as Executive Secretary, taking over for the position his father held.

George stays to take care of the family business while his little brother attends college. Once his little brother completes college, his little brother is supposed to come back and take over; thereby, freeing George from the burden to continue his pursuit of his dream.

George’s brother returns to Bedford Falls only to tell George he has found work with his new wife’s father and he has not intentions of staying to take over for George. George is distraught upon learning that he will be stuck in Bedford Falls. That evening, he holds a family reunion party at his home for his little brother. George wanders off to gather his thoughts and finds himself passing by Mary’s house. His mother had alerted Mary to George’s whereabouts prior to his passing by her house and Mary invites George in.

Mary’s mother dislikes George because he is not rich enough for her daughter and wishes her to marry another boy in town but Mary only has eyes for George. After a very awkward conversation between the George and Mary, the phone rings and interrupts the two of them. The other suitor is on the line and, after speaking with Mary for a few minutes, the suitor wishes to speak to George. He offers George a job as a means to get George away from Mary but George refuses.

George grabs Mary by the shoulders and begins shaking her, telling her he doesn’t want to get married. In the next moment he and Mary begin kissing as George realizes he is very much in love with Mary. We see George and Mary married and heading out on their honeymoon in the back of a taxi.

Their honeymoon does not even get started as Mary and George notice that several people are rushing to the Building and Loan to withdraw their money. His uncle Billy had been left to run the Building and Loan while George would be on his honeymoon, but his uncle Billy had handed over almost all the Building and Loan’s money to Mr. Potter who had called in the loan. There was little money to provide those demanding their money.

George and Mary had to cancel their plans as George had to use their honeymoon money to appease the worried customers. Later that day, George receives a call from his new wife declaring that they had become the owners of an old a dilapidated fixer-upper; the one house in town that George despised.

A few years later, George is approached by Mr. Potter and offered a position with Mr. Potter, handling his affairs in exchange George would be paid a handsome salary. George accepts and continues his life in Bedford Falls, fathering a few children with Mary, he settles into a peaceful life.

On Christmas Eve, 1945, George picks up the paper to see his brother face on the front page with the words, “President Decorates Harry Bailey,.” His brother has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. George’s business partner, Uncle Billy, mistakenly hands over a deposit to Mr. Potter meant for the Building and Loan. Uncle Bailey was too busy bragging to Mr. Potter about Harry’s award that he absentmindedly folded up the large deposit into the newspaper paper and hands the paper over to Mr. Potter to read. Mr. Potter discovers Harry’s mistake and keeps the money with the intent of finally taking down the Building and Loan, forever.

Harry confesses his mistake to George and George becomes distraught over the repercussions. He believes this one mistake will most likely bankrupt the Building and Loan and possible put them both behind bars.  George closes up the Building and Loan and returns to his home. His child is ill and it is Christmas Eve. George cannot take the thought of losing everything and placing his family in such dire straits.

George loses his temper and begins yelling at people. George is seen screaming into the phone at Mrs. Welch, his sick child’s teacher and accuses Mrs. Welch of making his child sick and then yells at Mr. Welch and offers to fight him. George leaves the house in a rage where he ends up at the local bar. Towns people are surprised to see him there and as he begins to drink heavily. He prays to God to show him a way out of this current predicament. Suddenly the husband of his sick child’s teacher approaches him and punches George in the jaw for yelling at his wife earlier. George tells the bartender, ‘That’s what you get for praying.” George realizes he has his insurance policy tucked into his coat pocket and believes that his wife and family would be saved if he were to die.

George wanders out of the bar, gets into his car and shortly after, crashes into a tree.  George approaches the town bridge overlooking the icy waters below. Just before George jumps into the river, he sees an older man jump into the river. George jumps in the water to rescue the man.

George pulls the man from the water and the bridge toll keeper offers the two men the warmth of the tollhouse. Once inside, the suicidal man claims he jumped in to the water to save George. He claims to be George’s guardian angel and is trying to win back his wings by saving George.

George tells the angel that he wishes he had never been born and the angel grants his wish. The angel begins to show George his life if George didn’t exist.

George learns that the town would belong to the Potter’s. Mr. Gowen, the pharmacist, would have been sent to prison for murder. The Building and Loan would die after George’s father’s death. His uncle Billy would go insane after trying to manage the Building and Loan by himself. George would not have any children.  George’s mother would be a lonely owner of a bed and breakfast, living on a meager salary.  George discovers there in no Bailey Park and that the town would be without many of the houses it now has George wouldn’t be there to help finance them.

Finally, George seeks out Mary to find her working at the local library, sad and lonely. George approaches Mary but she does not recognize him and runs from him. It is at this moment that George realizes that he, in fact, has a wonderful life.

George’s wish is granted and he runs through town wishing everyone a Merry Christmas as he makes his way home. He understands that he faces going to jail but he also realizes it is a price to pay for all the wonderful things he had accomplished.

He reaches his home, kisses and embraces his children. Mary runs into his arms and tells him, “It’s a miracle.” He wanders downstairs to be greeted by all those he had helped over the years. They all come bearing donations to help him keep his job.  George is finally happy with his life.

How is the character transformed?

George is transformed from a man who felt he had not accomplished anything in life into a man who realized he had importance. George always had the life he wanted but was too blinded by the things he didn’t accomplish to appreciate what he had.

What good reason does the character have not to act?

George could have remained in a state of self-pity and jumped to his death. The insurance policy would have taken care of his family and resolved the issue with the Building and Trust but it would have been a matter of time before his uncle Billy would have succumbed to Mr. Potter’s evil ways, his wife would be left alone to care for the children and the towns people would fall victim to Mr. Potter, as well. George had to act in order to be shown that his sacrifices were beneficial and appreciated by everyone around him.

Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)

Captain Willard

Captain Willards Personal Journey

What is at stake?

The main character’s own sanity hangs by a very thin thread. Just a small push in the wrong direction will most likely send him reeling into complete madness.

Who is the central character?

The main character, Army Captain Benjamin Willard, played by Charlie Sheen, is a character that lives for the excitement of battle. He cannot escape the thrill battle gives him and feels bored and helpless when not engaged in combat. He is teetering on the brink of insanity with no help in sight.

Why?

The main character loves the excitement he feels in the midst of battle. His wife has left him and he has witnessed the deaths of many of his battle buddies in the Vietnam War. Yet, despite this, he cannot escape the thrill and excitement he experiences when he is immersed in the violence of battle.

Describe this character’s personal journey.

In the beginning of the movie, we see Captain Willard lying on a dirty bed in a sleazy hotel in Saigon. We hear a voice in the background. It is the voice of Capt. Willard’s self-conscience letting us inside his personal thoughts. He is impatiently waiting for his next mission. He feels weaker the longer he stays away from battle and asserts that he feels stronger when he is in the jungle, fighting.

We first catch a glimpse into his madness when he begins a crazy dance inside his dirty room. He punches the mirror in the room and his hand begins to bleed. He rubs the blood all over his face and naked body. This is the personal reflection of what he envisions himself to be: a blood covered killer. He is slipping into madness.

Two army soldiers knock on his door and he is told that he is being offered a very special mission. He finally has a mission.

Capt. Willard is briefed about his mission. He is to locate and “terminate with extreme prejudice” a former highly decorated war officer who has went AWOL and has seemingly slipped into complete madness. His name is Col. Walter Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando). Col. Kurtz has appointed himself as a god-like figure to a Vietnamese tribe. He recently commanded the tribe to assonate some very important Vietnam intelligence officers. The United States is fearful of what might happen if Col. Kurtz were to be captured and tortured for the intelligence information he knows.

Capt. Willard accepts the mission under anonymity and understands that, if he is caught, the mission he is on does not exist. In his own mind, Willard questions the charges against Col. Kurtz and the mission at hand. After all, it was wartime, so why would the military be so focused on killing this highly decorated Colonel? He reassures himself by telling himself that it is not his place to question. Willard sets out for his target into the deepest parts of the war-torn jungle.

Capt. Willard first travels by helicopter and then by boat. He is introduced to the boats crew, fellow soldiers whom he describes as “just kids and rock-and-rollers with one foot in the grave.”The boat captain, Chief Phillips, tells Capt. Willard that the last person, who was sent on the mission six months prior, was rumored to have shot himself in the head. Willard ponders this story as he flips through the military dossier on Kurtz.

At the rendezvous point, a beach head transformed into a make-shift landing zone, Capt. Willard is escorted to meet Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall), also known by his troops as Wild Bill. Wild Bill is on the warpath to clear the Vietnamese villages surrounding the beach front so that he and his men can surf freely without fear of being killed.

The beach front has become the military landing zone. It is covered in wounded soldiers, village survivors and other soldiers running preparing for another attack on a nearby village.

Later that evening, Wild Bill had transformed the noisy and littered beach landing zone into a beach party scene so as to appear more like home for the soldiers. The soldiers are drinking and carrying on.

At dawn, the beach is, once again, the center of action and Wild Bill is intent on leveling the surrounding area with napalm. He confides in Willard that he “loves the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Willard, again, questions the story behind his mission. He wonders if Wild Bill is able to get away with his madness, what has made the military want a person like Kurtz killed? Willard returns to the boat that transported him to the beach head and continues his journey up river.

Willard continued to read through the dossier given to him on Col. Kurtz. He was beginning to admire the man for the way he moved up the ranks of the Green Beret and the bravery Kurtz had displayed in numerous combat situations.

Willard and his crew suspect a passing boat to be delivering supplies to the Vietcong and Chief Phillips boards to search the boat while the other men stay aboard the boat, weapons loaded and drawn. Capt. Phillips eyes a yellow container that he quickly moves to inspect. A young girl moves towards Phillips and gun fire erupts.

Everyone on board the boat is killed with the exception of the young girl. The boat is searched but no weapons are found. The yellow can contained a small puppy that the young girl was attempting to protect. Phillips insists on taking the wounded young girl to a nearby village for treatment but Willard steps up and shoots the girl in the head, killing her instantly. He is intent on continuing the mission with no distractions. The crew does not look at Willard in the same way.

The boat crew passes through a night-time battle. The firefight lights up the night sky. Willard is given a packet with updated information on Kurtz. Willard leaves the boat with a fellow passenger and attempts to locate a commanding officer before meeting up with the boat crew on the other side of a bridge that is being attacked.

Willard meets up with the boat crew and begins to read the information he was handed. He learns that the previous soldier assigned to kill Kurtz was suspected to have joined Kurtz and the story of the soldier’s death was faked. Willard tears up and discards the dossier he has on Kurtz.

Willard and his boat crew finally manage to make it to Kurtz encampment. They are greeted by a crazed photojournalist and taken around the camp as if on a tour of Disneyland. Bodies of the dead are littered along the camp. The journalist explains that the Colonel is not insane but can go too far. One of the crew member talks Willard into letting him and the crew return to the boat. He tells the crew member that if he does not return, to call in an air strike and provides them the classified code to do so.

One of the crew members decides to stay with Willard and they are led further up river into the jungle to meet with Kurtz. The trip is very revealing to Willard as he walks through endless bodies and comes to the conclusion that Kurtz really has lost his mind.

Willard is finally taken to Kurtz, who is boasting a bald. Kurtz questions Willard about his past in a host-guest fashion. Willard tells Kurtz about his past. Kurtz then tells Willard that he knows the reason he is there and asks Willard to explain why he accepted the mission to kill him and why the command wishes him dead?

The next morning, Willard wakes up to find himself imprisoned. He is kept prisoner for a few days when he realizes just how crazy Kurtz is as he tosses the severed head of one of the boat crew members into Willard’s lap. Shortly after, Willard is released. He is kept alive by his captor for some unknown reason.

Then Willard is struck with an epiphany. Kurtz wishes to die. He does not want to die as a fugitive but wishes to die fighting and not while he sleeps in the darkness. He felt that Willard could kill him as a soldier, with honor and dignity. He allows Willard to escape and Willard successfully completes his mission. “He would make the rank of Major for this killing,” he told himself.

The tribesmen bow at Willard’s feet as he sits at Kurtz’ desk briefly contemplating the idea of taking Kurtz’ place as leader of the tribe. He quickly shrugs off the idea and he and the remaining boat crewman head towards a boat to head back to civilization.

How is the character transformed?

Willard pulled himself out of the grasp of insanity by pursuing someone else who was even more insane than himself. Although he admired Col. Kurtz for his military genius, Willard knew, in the end, that Col. Kurtz’s actions were mad. He refused to travel down that same path.

What good reason does the character have not to act?

Willard, himself sinking into madness, could have easily acted as Kurtz had but he realized a greater strength in himself. If Willard had suffered any further psychosis, he could have easily been another Kurtz. As it was, Willard liked to think of himself as a great soldier and by following Kurtz’s lead; he realized he would never gain the status of being a great soldier that he so desperately desired.

Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)

The crew of Alien (1979)

The Personal Journey of Ripley

What is at stake?

In a word: survival.

Who is the central character?

Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is the main character in the highly successful 1979 science fiction motion picture, Alien. From the very beginning of the movie, we get the impression that she is a “by-the-book” type of character who only wishes to follow company procedure and expects the other crew members to do likewise. She seems to be the only one who understands that the policies that are set in place are for the purpose of protecting the ship’s crew. She is quick to step in and a take charge in emergency situations while maintaining her composer.  She is not well liked by the crew members as they do not seem to mirror her adherence to company policy.

Why?

Although she is accompanied by equally commanding colleagues who steal the show, at times, Ripley is the most likely candidate to cast as the main character because she exhibits strength of character and un-yielding determination to get things done, no matter how difficult the decision.

Describe this character’s personal journey.

In the sci-fi movie, Alien, seven members of a spaceship mining crew are on their way back to earth after a successful mining trip into deep space. Half-way back to earth, the crew members are awakened by a distress beacon coming from a planet not far from where the crew is traveling. The majority of the crew members are opposed to looking into the source of the distress call but company policy asserts that all distress calls must be investigated.

The crew begrudgingly sets course towards the other planet to investigate. Upon landing, the ship suffers some minor damage. Two of the crew members exit the ship to begin repairing the damage. Ripley, being third in command, is left on the ship with the crew’s doctor while the ship’s captain and two other crew members set out on foot to seek out the distress call.

Ripley keeps communication open between herself and the ship’s captain until communication is interrupted by an unknown anomaly. The ship’s captain and his team come across a space ship of unknown origin. The ship is the source of the distress call. The ship has crashed landed on the surface of the planet and the crew enters the space ship to investigate.

One of the crew members separates from the crew and wanders into the hull of the space ship where he discovers thousands of pod-like sacks that appear to be made up of unknown organic material. One of the pods opens up and out jumps a small spider like creature that attaches to the helmet of the crew member.

The scene switches back to the captain and his crew members, one in a body bag. The captain explains what has happened and asks Ripley to open the door to allow them back into the ship. Ripley refuses to open the door to allow them in, citing company policy. The captain orders Ripley to open the door once again and Ripley continues to hold her ground, even though she is disobeying a direct order from her captain.

The ship’s doctor over-rides Ripley’s refusal to open the door by manually opening the door to allow the captain and the crew members inside. The captain and doctor rush the injured member into the medical unit to examine him. The other crew members wait outside and one of the members attacks Ripley for not opening the door sooner. The crew member is pulled off of Ripley and so begins Ripley’s journey.

The crew soon learns that this alien creature is a monstrous killer. The first crew member to fall victim to the alien’s death-dealing objective is the crew member who was attacked by the pod. The alien spider planted an alien inside of the first crew member and the other members of the crew witnesses the alien creature burst through the crew member’s stomach and escapes into the ship.

It is at this point that we witness Ripley beginning to take charge of the out-of-control situation. The captain attempts to track down the alien after it flees into the bowels of the ship but he quickly succumbs to an alien attack. Ripley takes charge and begins ordering everyone to take a stand against the alien monster. She sends the surviving crew members out to track down the alien. One of the crew members wanders off by himself to look for a crew members pet cat and becomes the third victim of the alien.

Alone with the doctor, Ripley learns that the ship’s doctor knew, all along, about the alien and that the mining trip was nothing more than a farce used to obtain a sample of the alien species for military purposes. When the doctor attacks Ripley for wanting to kill the alien, the remaining members jump to her aid. Killing the doctor, the crew members are shocked to find out that the doctor was not really human. The doctor was, in fact, a robot sent out on the mission to get the alien sample.

Ripley makes the decision that she and the remaining crew members will escape the mother ship by using the escape pod and destroy the mother ship and alien by using the ships self-destruct mode.  She begins programming the ship to self-destruct while the other members gather up food and supplies. As the crew members head back to the escape pod, they are attacked and killed by the alien.

Ripley is alone and determined to fight. She escapes the mother-ship and is headed towards earth only to discover that the alien is inside the escape pod with her. She carefully dons a space suit while carefully evading the attention of the alien. Once into the space suit, she releases liquid nitrogen to slow down the alien. She opens up an escape hatch and forces the alien out into space. Ripley and the pet cat are the only surviving members of the space crew.

How is the character transformed?

Ripley already had strength of character and yet she never stopped fighting. She strengthened her personal resolve and taught us all one very important lesson: always follow safety policy, no matter how much you disagree with it.

What good reason does the character have not to act?

When survival is on the line, it is very difficult to just give up. Ripley didn’t have the option of giving up. Where others may have found the opportunity to give up, Ripley saw a reason to keep fighting.  She pushed herself and her crew to keep fighting until the very end. She could have easily given up, but quitting was just not in her nature.

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