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By: Jenny Briskman

This is one I’ve been wondering about for a while and only recently decided to research in advance of this year’s awards. Here’s all the info you need to impress your friends on Sunday:

Record of the Year
Awarded to a single track //  Award goes to the performing artist, producer, recording engineer, and/or mixer

Album of the Year
Awarded to a whole album // Award goes to the performing artist, producer and recording engineer

Song of the Year
Awarded to a single track // Award goes to the songwriter who originally conceived of, and wrote, the song (this can be the performing artist, but may not be)

By: Jenny Briskman

For any female between the ages of 20 and 90, Titanic most likely holds a special place in your heart. I still remember being 11 years old, seeing the movie with my parents on New Year’s Eve and crying non-stop throughout the entire third hour of the film…both for the fact that Jack and Rose would never find eternal love, and that Leonardo DiCaprio would never be my boyfriend.

It was sad.

15 years later, the release of Titanic 3D will surely bring with it a new onslaught of female tears and Leo-mania.

So, you may ask, what did James Cameron choose to modify with the re-release of the film? Did he brighten the skyline behind Jack, when he shouts, “I’m king of the world”? Did he linger a little longer on Rose’s neck as Jack sketches her? Maybe that infamous sweaty palm print on the inside of the car window was sharpened, just a tiny bit.

No…like any good sci-fi/fantasy nerd, Cameron updated the nighttime sky in one of the final scenes to be scientifically accurate based on the time and date of the ship’s destruction.


By: Jenny Briskman

Have you ever wondered how grapefruits got their name? Are they somehow related to grapes? Turns out it’s a pretty simple answer – it’s believed that the name refers to the manner in which grapefruits grow in clusters on a tree (similar to grapes). Also, did you know that the grapefruit, like all citrus fruit, is a Hesperidum, or a large modified berry with a thick rind.

By: Jenny Briskman

Did you know that 84% of US consumers will celebrate Mother’s Day, each spending about $138 (according to the National Retail Federation). That means a total of $15.8 billion will be spent on gifts for mom.

And how do we spend that money?
$3 billion on special dinners or brunch
$2 billion on flowers
$1.6 billion on gift cards/gift certificates
$1.4 billion on clothing and accessories
$1.2 billion on consumer electronics
$1.1 billion on personal service gifts (e.g., a trip to the spa or salon)
$696 million on house wares and gardening tools
$672 million on greeting cards

By: Jenny Briskman

BMW hasn’t always been a manufacturer of cars. In World War 1, BMW was a major supplier of airplane engines and aeroplanes to the German government, which was represented by their logo – a spinning white propeller blade against the blue sky.

But in 1918, when the war ended and the German government stopped needed airplanes, BMW had no option but to change its business. The company began making railway brakes, then moved on to motorized bicycles, motorcycles and cars. However, even with the change in product, the company kept their logo, which is what’s still used today.


By: Jenny Briskman

I’m a huge indie film fan. I can pass on most big-budget movies; even the ones I’m so excited to see beforehand (I’m looking at you, Hunger Games), never end up being that great. But give me a low-budget, one-camera film, with some no-name actor, and I’m good to go.

So at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, I ended up seeing 5 movies (if you’re interested, they were: Rubberneck, Resolution, Mansome, Shorts: Status Update and Free Samples…All worth seeing, except Free Samples, which may have been the worst movies I’ve ever seen).

Where I’m going with this, is that before each film that plays as part of Tribeca, the same sponsor commercials play – American Express, Caesars, Heineken. So by the third time I was seeing these spots, I was sick of them…Except, that is, for one very interesting Stoli commercial.

You can watch the spot here

Go ahead and watch before you continue reading this post – I promise it’s worth the :26 seconds of your life.

Notice anything interesting? Ya, I didn’t either. The spot always got a good laugh from the audience – who among us hasn’t been in a theater with that asshole whose cell phone keeps ringing?

But then I saw the spot a second time. Then a third. And then I noticed something. What if the main character – Terry – were African-American and the African-American guy sitting in the theater, nibbling on popcorn and watching, entertained, as Terry gets knocked out, were Caucasian? What sort of PR nightmare would Stoli have had on their hands then? And what type of laugh, or startled silence, would have come from the Tribeca audience?

By: Jenny Briskman

Recently, I saw two separate commercials that made me stop, take a second look, and say to myself “what the hell.” Then, I decided that rather than just say “what the hell” to myself, I might as well share my thoughts with an audience to try and get an “amen” and a “Jenny, you’re brilliant”.

Hey, a girl can dream.

Anyways, here are links to the two commercials in question, and in case you’re too lazy to click through, I’ll describe each of them briefly below.

Title: "Airport Run" :60
Brand: Chevy Malibu Eco
Description: 30-something son picks up his 60-something parents from the airport. 30-something starts his Chevy Malibu Eco from his phone; parents don’t understand the technology and think he’s left his car running the whole time. Gray-haired grumbling ensues. Once inside the car, son explains how the car helps maximize gas milage. Dad claims this is “hippie talk”. Commercial ends with mom offering son two dollars for gas. [Ed. note: As far as I am concerned, gas has never been two dollars. Ever.]

Title: "Dads and Grads" :30
Brand: Verizon
Description: Father (in his 50s) and son (recent high school grad) text each other unemotionally in a Verizon store. Sub-titles capture their “real” thoughts – turns out they actually DO have emotions! Son is sad to leave for college; father is super proud of him for graduating. They finally say they love each other – but never out loud, only through shoulder shrugs.

So, you may ask, what’s my problem with these spots? They rely completely on bland, one-dimensional stereotypes. There’s nothing insightful or nuanced about these individuals – the two sons or the parents. There’s just the quick and easy hit: old people don’t get technology and men don’t share their feelings. Boring and, more importantly, untrue. In fact, the Chevy Malibu commercial runs counter to current statistics, which show that in 2010, 82% of online adults aged 55-64 were using social media on a monthly basis (up from 59% in 2008)*.

*Source: Experian Marketing Services, “The 2011 Social Media Consumer Trend and Benchmark Report.”

By: Jenny Briskman

It seems to me that one of the most frustrating things for account execs, creative folks, and production people, is the constant struggle for white space.

White space may sound simple to an outsider, but to those in our industry, we know it’s anything but. Wikipedia describes it as the following:
"White space should not be considered merely ‘blank’ space – it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all, the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition."

The struggle for white space is difficult. Agency outsiders look at white space as prime real estate – a way to increase the impact of the creative by adding a second phone number, another call to action, or a bigger logo. Those within the agency believe that impeding into the negative space detracts from the elements that already exist – crowding them and making everything more difficult to read.

While both sides believe they are correct at expense of the other, I ask you to take a look at the online banner I recently saw on Yes, it’s enormous and the colors are a little crazy. But that’s not only why this ad got my attention. Check out all that white (well, orange and blue) space. By leaving off a phone number and an address and bullet points and a header, the important information really pops.