M/A/R/C Research
Search the blog:

Archive for March, 2009

Did You Notice This Movie Trend?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I love to go to the movies and I am sure that lots of readers enjoy doing the same thing. I saw a list of the top ten grossing films in the US last year and something jumped out at me. The list I saw just had the name of the film and gross revenue and not the rating of the film. When I added the rating here is how the list looked:

Revenue Movie   Rating
$532,831,967 The Dark Knight   PG-13
$318,298,180 Iron Man   PG-13
$317,011,114 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull    PG-13
$227,946,274 Hancock   PG-13
$223,806,889 WALL•E      G
$215,395,021 Kung Fu Panda     PG 
$187,748,420 Twilight   Pg-13
$179,606,381 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa         PG
$168,368,427 Quantum of Solace        PG-13
$154,529,187 Horton Hears a Who!   G

The reason I added the ratings is I thought that none of the top 10 movies were R rated and I was right. I actually brought my kids to Kung Fu Panda, WALL-E, Madagascar and Horton Hears a Who. So maybe the strategy is, the more family oriented the more gross revenue?

  • Is it me or is violence, swearing and sex not selling these days?
     
  • Or at least in the movies?
     
  • How many of the top 10 grossing movies have you seen?

Maybe I knew that but never really thought about it.

  • What do you think?
     
  • Are you surprised by this trend?

I look forward to your comments.

I Know I Am Getting Old Because . . .

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Even though I am a few months away from another birthday (which will allow me to celebrate my 43rd birthday a number of times over) I thought I would post about how I am feeling.

I know I am getting old because:

  • I am actually thinking about how fun it might be to be at the airport and being taken to my gate in one of those carts!
     
  • I see my doctors more often than some of my close friends!
     
  • I am less than 10 years away from enjoying the early bird dinners!
     
  • I am asking my kids to go into the other room and bring me a bottled water. The entire distance can’t be more than 30 feet!
     
  • I am about to celebrate my 25th anniversary of graduating college!
     
  • The doorman at a club laughs when I ask him if he needs to see my ID!
     
  • I am losing clicker control to my 7 year old child!

Ok your turn . . . .

I know I am getting old because . . .

Animals Sometimes Do The Funniest Things

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

As you have heard many times I get so many emails with blog suggestions, videos and funny stories. Well this one is no different (thanks M.C., for sharing).

I love animals, and sometimes they do the funniest things. Get ready to view six pictures that I hope will get a chuckle out of you:

 
Lions lying with lambs, dogs and cats sleeping together...
 
 
Who's in here?
 
 
Here's Johnny!
 
 
Star crossed lovers.
 
 
Larry, Curly, Moe
 
 
Oops!
 
 
For me the funniest ones are the raccoons looking out from the sewer and the horse doing the split. Very funny!

  • Which is your favorite picture?
     
  • What is the funniest thing you have ever seen any animal do?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time To Fill In The Blanks

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

It is probably on everyone’s mind daily. If you watch TV, you hear about it. If you look at the newspaper, you read about it. And probably it is a topic of conversation with your family, friends and industry contacts.

What am I talking about? The economy. The seven letter word that is on everyone’s mind. The question is what are you doing different because of it?

How do you finish these two sentences?

  • The economy is forcing me to ______________________?
     
  • No matter what I am still going to do ________________?

For me the second answer is very easy for me. No matter what, I am still going to:

  • Fund my children’s 529 accounts
     
  • Max my 401k contribution year after year
In terms of what the economy is forcing me to do is:

Having a little more cash on hand–even though I believe it is a great time to invest long term, we just want to be careful and a little conservative

Now your turn:

  • The economy is forcing me to ______________________?
     
  • No matter what I am still going to do ________________?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Nothing To Do On A Saturday Night? Try This. It Will Probably Save You And Your Company Money!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

So there I am at my house on a Saturday night and everyone has gone to sleep. It is 11:00pm and as I click on channel after channel I come to the conclusion that there isn’t anything good on TV. I walk over to the computer and begin to go on a few websites. I remember the past few business trips I have been on the flights haven’t been crowded and the hotels seem to have lots of empty rooms. Clearly the economy is affecting them dramatically. Since that is the case there must be great deals at hotels.

With that thought in mind, I reviewed all of my upcoming trips that involved hotels. There were six of them in five different cities. After checking the first one, I noticed that the company website–not Orbits or Priceline–had lower rates than I was getting. After cancelling one reservation and rebooking a new reservation, the savings were almost $100.00. Mission accomplished on the first reservation. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I repeated the process five more times and guess what? Each time the same thing happened: I was able to get a lower rate. The total savings on those trips had to exceed $500.00.

To me that savings is huge…especially with all the people we have travel over the course of the year. The amazing thing was it doesn’t take that long to find out if you can get a lower rate and once you do it you get a confirmation email within seconds!

I was amazed and glad there was nothing on TV!

  • Have you noticed this trend as well?
     
  • Are you using sites like Priceline more often?
     
  • What are some of your best practices that can save money with regard to travel?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Sports Fans: What Do You Call Him?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

A-Rod!Over the past few weeks this sports star has been called so many names — many of which haven’t been flattering at all. He went from Alex Rodriguez to AROD to AFRAUD (courtesy of Joe Torre’s book) to AHOLE to AROID. The last two "new" nicknames were headlines from New York newspapers.

As you know, I am not a fan of the NY Yankees, nor am I a fan of most of their players. Frankly I haven’t been a fan of AROD’S for a long time. Yes he has tremendous talent and is arguably the best player in baseball. But I have always said he doesn’t make teammates around him better and won’t win anything but personal awards.

I have so many mixed feelings about him. On one hand he knew what he was doing and should get all of the wrath that comes with that, but on the other hand I kind of feel sorry for him. If I had a Hall of Fame vote, would I vote "yes" for him? I don’t know. Should the commissioner do something about him? I don’t know. Here is one thing I know: I love baseball and all of this stuff has really messed up a game I truly love. There were 103 other names on that list and part of me believes they should be fair to the American public, baseball fans and (I can’t believe I am saying this) AROD and release the names.

I have so many mixed emotions on this topic.

  • What are you feeling?
     
  • What are you calling Alex now?
     
  • What would you do if you were the commissioner?
     
  • Do you think Alex was sincere with his apology?

I look forward to reading your comments.

PS – It looks like Jose Canseco was telling more of the truth than all of us thought!

Attention Researchers: Based On Your Research, Who Has The Best Webinars?

Monday, March 16th, 2009

webinarsSome of the most effective marketing tools these days are webinars. They are inexpensive (sometimes free) to attend. And since you can participate from wherever you are there are no travel costs and frankly the time commitment isn’t that great.

The question is, what are the best ones to attend? Years ago I must admit I attended two in a row that were not only very basic but an infomercial for the company who was presenting. I understand that hosting companies need to see the value, but I believe the payoff will be big if the webinar is done correctly. My goal is to walk away learning a few things and unfortunately that didn’t happen during the ones I attended.

Some of the companies and associations (I haven’t attended many of these) that have webinars include:

Now your turn to add to the list:

  • What webinars have you attended?
     
  • What webinar did you learn something from?
     
  • What webinars would you recommend?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time For Some Quick Friday Fun — True Or False? (** Contest Closed **)

Friday, March 13th, 2009

This contest is now closed. Click here to see the final results and answers to the quiz.

Click here to take the True / False Friday Fun Quiz.

The contest will close Friday, March 27 at 3:00 PM CDT, and the winners will be announced later that day. As usual, the quiz will be timed as a tie-breaker.

Good luck to all.

Taunting and Bulletin Board Material — Does It Really Have A Place In Sports?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

As I am writing this post, the Super Bowl is thirteen days away. Yes, that is how far ahead I write. It will probably take one more day before someone on the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals says something that ends up on the locker room bulletin board. The media can’t wait to make a big deal out of it! The other coach will probably bring it up in team meetings and use it (or at least try to use it) to their advantage, saying they disrespected you etc. Why is that? You are making millions of dollars, playing a sport that you probably love, and have been playing since you were a little kid. Why do you need any more motivation? Why do you need someone to say something about the way you play the game, the way you look or even say something bad about one of your family members? Why do coaches need to motivate athletes with bulletin board material? I am not sure why the use of bulletin board material has been going on for decades!

Shouldn’t you be playing at the highest level you possibly can for every play? For every minute you are on the field? For every game? I don’t get it! I never have. All eyes are on you at all times when you are playing sports and giving anything less than 100% all the time to me is just wrong.

Float like a butterfly...Over the years two of the most famous people who taunted their opponents prior to their game were Muhammad Ali and Joe Namath. Great athletes — certainly could be considered the best ever in their sports. Because they are so great maybe I can understand the taunting (because they can back it up) but I don’t think that would motivate me anymore if I was playing against them.

I am not a huge fan of all of the taunting. Even though Terrell Owens has a million dollar smile I think he goes too far with some of the crap he does on the field. I also think the same is true about Chad Johnson. I also have no respect for some second string player making big predictions when they probably can’t back up their words on the field.

  • Do you think the bulletin board material motivates athletes?
     
  • What do you think about all the taunting in sports?
     
  • What do you think when a second string player makes bold predictions?
     
  • Do you have a favorite athlete who taunts the other teams?

I look forward to reading your comments.

What’s Your Favorite Number?

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I guess everyone has one! Every time I mention that I am going to Las Vegas or a location that has a casino, people will say, "My favorite number is ‘blank.’ Please put a few dollars on the number at the roulette table." Most of the time I will write down the number and do precisely what they want me to: Go up to a roulette table and put a few dollars on a few numbers for friends.

Although I am not a huge fan of roulette, I will play once in awhile. Of course I will play my numbers as well. I try not and play random numbers. One of my favorite numbers is 23 because of my birthday. I also like 8 and always have. I think that is because my favorite baseball player growing up was Carl Yastrzemski and that was his number. In fact if I am given the choice when I am playing sports, I will take number 8. I also like the number 3 — which is somewhat funny because I am not exactly sure why.

  • What’s your favorite number?
     
  • Have you changed your favorite number over the years?
     
  • Has your favorite number won you a bunch of money?
     
  • Why is that your favorite number? Is it based on your birthday, anniversary, number of kids you have?

I look forward to reading your comments.