Always Leave Them Laughing

Always Leave Them Laughing

One of the major objectives of any trade show exhibit is to create a lasting impression in the attendee’s mind. After all, if a visitor can’t remember you, how can he give you his business? You also want to create a positive impression, and unfortunately, that’s harder to do than the negative equivalent.
Which brings us to humor. People love to laugh – and they like other people to laugh with them. Witness the almost constant flood of jokes and cartoons that flit across the internet: Proof that humor cannot be stopped. You’ll often find that people go out of their way to remember great jokes, where they’ll never, ever stop to jot down the details of an eye-catching graphic. This makes humor an invaluable marketing tool -–if you can make it serve your corporate objectives.
Some of you are dismissing this idea out of hand. “There’s nothing funny about my product!” I can hear you saying. Well, what’s funny about rental cars? Beer? Car insurance? None of these items are inheriently funny, yet companies in all three sectors have effectively used humor to fix their products in the public eye.
It is important to remember that your trade show campaign should be fully integrated into your marketing plan as a whole. If you are using humor in your television and print media, bring it to the show floor. However, if you are known as a stoic and conservative company, playing for laughs at the convention center will fall flat. Consistency in corporate image is key.
What can we learn from companies that have successfully used humor? There are four key lessons.
Avis Rental Cars “We try harder” campaign centers on humorous scenarios highlighting what would happen if a rental car company wasn’t willing to go the extra mile. They film ridiculous situations, such as an attendant handing out books to customers waiting in long lines, and contrast them with the bright, efficient service a customer could expect from their company. It gets a chuckle – but you’d better believe that when a weary traveler is eyeing the rental car company kiosks at the airport, an image of that book-toting attendant flashes through his mind.
Key #1: Exaggerate the norm.
Contrast exaggerated examples of industry ‘norms’ with how your company excels. A restaurant chain that serves large portions could highlight the much smaller servings to be had at the competitor’s. Wendy’s did this very effectively with the “Where’s The Beef?” campaign in the Eighties. Be careful not to explicitly or implicity identify your competitors, or you’ll be hearing from some very angry lawyers.
Remember the Budwiser frogs? How about the lizards? Or the donkey that wanted to be a Clydesdale? Each of these campaigns was phenomenonally successful, yet only tangentially related to the product at hand. Each approach was slightly different. Frogs croaking Bud – wis – er can be inheriently funny, especially if you’ve already had a few brews yourself. It also appealed to the coveted young drinker demographic, as studies have shown an intense brand loyalty among drinkers, generally established in the early twenties. The lizard campaign capitalized on the wry, sarcastic humor enjoyed by Budwiser’s target audience. The donkey campaign tied into the traditional Clydesdale imagery, a strong if staid marketing tool.
Key #2: Know your target audience.
Jokes that appeal to one demographic may not work with another. Gen Y shoppers have especially sharp funny bones, and may appreciate dry wit. Tie in your classic marketing efforts whenever possible.
Geico and AFLAC have recently done very well with their talking animal ads. By using the same animals over and over to reinforce the marketing message – after all, that poor duck could surely use some disability insurance of his own by now! – both companies have created a brand awareness second to none. Ask the random person to identify a disability insurance company, and chances are that they’ll tell you about AFLAC. Ask them about another disability insurance company, and you’ll be lucky if they can name even one.
Key #3: Create a character.
Create a ‘character’ as part of your brand image. This character should show up EVERYWHERE – including television commercials, on the literature you distribute at the show, in your signage and graphics, and potentially as stuffed animals. The Serta Sheep toys have taken on a life of their own, and each and every one of them goes out with the company name blazoned on the side. That’s humorous marketing at work. Consumers buy these secondary products because of the laugh-factor, and bring a constant advertisement into their home. The influence on subsequent purchasing decisions may be minor, but it is in fact there.
Humor can be a great way to convey your marketing message. Geico has done this very well with the “I saved money on my car insurance by switching to Geico!” series of commercials. Exercise equipment salesmen, politicians, animated characters – all have been pressed into service to recite those ten words. Using different settings keeps the audience engaged, while constant repitition drives the message home.
Key #4: Repetition counts.
Remember, consumers need to hear a message at least six times before they’ll recall it easily. The trick is to keep the presentation fresh while the message remains constant.
Comedians world-wide will tell you that humor is a tough business. It’s hard to tell what will make one person laugh and another roll their eyes in disgust. However, if a joke falls flat for a comedian, they simply move on to the next joke and keep moving. If you’ve invested tons of time and money in your humor campaign, you need to know these three things:
1. It must be funny. Test the campaign on objective people. Lots of objective people. If the majority laugh, you’re golden. However, if less than half the people get the joke, drop it.
2. It must be quick. There are great funny jokes that take half an hour to tell. That’s nice. Inflict them on your relatives or when you’ve got a whole room full of trapped subordinates. Customers aren’t going to give you that much of their time. You’ve got half a minute tops to get them laughing.
3. It must reflect well on your company. Ethnic, racial, sexual, and gender based humor has absolutely no place in the corporate world. Perceived slurs – even if they are made in the guise of a joke – will travel around the world as fast as the internet can move, and suddenly your company will have all kinds of attention they don’t want.
Laughing is a lot of hard work, isn’t it? But once you’ve found the right balance, you’ll have an advertising campaign that will draw the crowds into your exhibit – and more importantly, toward buying your products and services.

Autographs for Sale

Autographs for Sale

The fact that so many celebrities find their autographs up for sale is really annoying to them. In protest of this fact, many of them don’t sign on a regular basis anymore. They are more concerned with promoting their skills or even supporting other organizations with their time.

Yet many celebrities are more than willing to sign for a good cause. Jay Leno is famous for having motorcycles, jackets and more signed by handfuls of celebrities. The money raised from the sales of these items goes for various charities that Leno supports. This is a great way for those in such a position to offer their support as well.

You will find plenty of places online that offer autographs for sale. You definitely what to do your homework to make sure that it is a real signature. There are plenty of ways to fake a good one these days. You may pay hundreds of dollars for an autograph to discover it isn’t legitimate.

Many sporting goods stores offer autographs for sale from various players. They may be on helmets, balls, jerseys, or other items. The cost of such an autograph depends on the status of the player. When they retire or they change teams their items are often worth more. It is a good idea to get your autographed sports items when someone is still a rookie before the prices increase.

It is amazing what people are willing to pay for a certain autograph though. Some of them are very rare due to the person choosing not to give out very many of them. Collectors look for these rare items and they are often willing to pay thousands of dollars once they have verified that the autograph is real.

If you are interested in a particular autograph, you should be able to locate it. You may not like the price associated with it though. Still, having such autographed items can be fun. Some people make a living though out of getting these autographs and then selling them. It is controversial as to if it is ethical for them to be doing so. Many celebrities feel that they are being exploited in this manner.

How To Download Free and Legal MP3

How To Download Free and Legal MP3

Free music? Of course! But free and legal music? Yes, it’s possible. Everybody who has ever surfed the Net knows that music can be downloaded freely. Although there are many questionable sites that offer free music, you do not have to do anything illegal to find good music on the Web.

So, where can you download free and legal MP3? Below are some great sites where you can download good music without having to break the law.

Download Free and Legal MP3s at Amazon.com

Amazon.com may be best known for its books, but the site also features a Free Music Downloads section where you can download free and legal MP3s. The site offers music from different genres, including Alternative, Indie, Punk, Blues, Broadway, Children’s Music, Christian, Classical, Country, Dance, Folk, International, Jazz, Latin, New Age, Opera, Pop, Rap, Hip Hop, Rock, R&B, Soundtracks, and more. If you’re a musician or an artist, you can also upload your own MP3s here for free and let music lovers discover and experience your own brand of music.

Download Free and Legal MP3s at eMusic.com

Perhaps one of the best places to look for and purchase MP3s online is eMusic.com. This is because the site offers files that are not copy-protected, thus letting you download an unlimited number of songs to satisfy your music needs. The music may not come for free but for every new sign up, the site offers up to 50 files completely without charge.

Download Free and Legal MP3s at GarageBand.com

GarageBand is where you can find the best Independent music from the most talented Indie artists. The site has recently partnered itself with MSN music to realize the Internet’s true potential in providing a means for both artists and music fans to connect and transform the music business.

Download Free and Legal MP3s at IUMA.com

IUMA is where you can find and download free and legal MP3s from famous, not-so-famous, and unsigned artists all over the world. If you’re into Indie music then this is the place for you. IUMA is mainly dedicated to bringing you music from undiscovered artists whom you should know about.

Download Free and Legal MP3s at Download.com

CNET’s Download.com is one of the premier places where you can download free and legal MP3s. The site has one of the largest music archives on the Web so you can have your choice of music to suit your taste. At this site, you do not only hear the artist’s music, but you can also take a closer look on how their music came to be by reading artist’s bios and stories.

Download Free and Legal MP3s at AmpCast.com

Ampcast is another music site where you can download free and legal MP3s. Search through their entire archive for Independent artists or music from popular rock/pop groups. And if you don’t like to download anything, you also have the choice to feeds from the Ampcast Surreal Radio. The site also offers great music videos which you can watch through video streaming and community features such as forums and chatroom where you can talk with other music lovers or Ampcast artists about your favorite topic – music.

As you can see, there are plenty of sources of free and legal MP3 music on the Internet, you just have to know where to look.

I couldn’t imagine my childhood without Disney Movies

I couldn’t imagine my childhood without Disney Movies

Each tale is unique and you are certain to find a favorite or two among the many films that have been created over the years. Disney movies offer something for everyone no matter what your age. I love watching the older films but the newer productions are nothing short of astonishing.

I am continually amazed by the incredible artistic feats that the Disney movies display. Considering that I remember Snow White when it was in the theaters, I can attest that I have had my fair share of films to compare. While I will always love the genuine beauty of the classic cartoon drawings, there is something truly astonishing about the computer generated images found in today’s Walt Disney productions.

No matter what, I find that children adore Disney movies no matter what kind of approach the animators use. The stories are so compelling and original (not to mention entertaining) that children of all ages will enjoy each and every one of the films. This includes the older ones that retain such charm.

Now that I’m a parent, I make sure that my little ones have all of the same wonderful experiences with Disney movies as I did. Creating your own collection of Walt Disney films may take a little time and effort but it is worth everything that you put into it. I love that I have many of the classics available any time at all.

This is especially good news for the kids. They have a chance to see classic Walt Disney movies like Bambi in the comfort of our home. These films are not seen on television and they are not re-released in theaters. However, they are readily available whenever the kids would like to enjoy them.

While I do love the amazing new Disney movies, I still get a thrill when my kids want to watch one of the older classics. It’s nice to know that my little ones have a chance to enjoy the very same films that I enjoyed as a child. I almost feel as if I’m a kid again when I watch with them. It is a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

How to Increase Romance with Humor

How to Increase Romance with Humor

Ask any single adult what qualities he or she wants in a spouse or partner, and one of the first answers is always “a sense of humor.” Yet relationships and most marriages easily lose the early excitement after living together for several years.
Healthy relationships require laughter. Sex is better; everything is better sprinkled with laughter, be it a chuckle, a belly laugh, or an amused smile.
Humor also motivates better results without resentment. For example, instead of nagging your loved one for leaving dirty clothes on the floor or dishes in the sink, write a silly poem and stick it on the bathroom mirror.
Follow one important groundrule: humor should never belittle another person or be at the other person’s expense. Here are a few ideas of how to inject more humor into the special relationship you want to last forever.
Ask your spouse to post a list of outrageous birthday wishes. (You do the same.)
Use travel time on trips to recall fun/ funny incidents about your lives together.
Create awards (or improvise a medal on a fancy ribbon) to present when the spouse overcomes a touch challenge.
Select each other’s underwear!
Together, list the people who make you both laugh the most, and see them more often. Do the same with movies.
Go to lunch and exchange lists of small, daily pleasures.
Give each other small or silly treats.
Create a list of offbeat occasions for giving silly treats.
Go away for a weekend. Explore.
Take on volunteer opportunities together. Try it once, at least.
Go where others are having fun.
Select perfume or cologne for each other…(pick one for your sweetheart that drives YOU crazy!)
Identify your favorite, edible treats from your childhood then center a date around eating it.
Create a scavenger hunt for each other…hiding clues with a present at the end. Photograph the process.
Go bowling or play putt-putt golf, and whisper sexy secrets in the middle of the game.
Practice giving each other very specific compliments on acts of love or service.
Schedule dates in bookstores. Share with each other what delights you. End with a dessert or ice cream.
Flirt with each other at parties or other social events. Make eye contact, and compliment each other publicly.
Order take out and announce a “feed each other” meal. No cheating.
Schedule dates at the fair, circus, zoo, or theme park. Do this at least once a year. Be sure to eat some junk food from your childhood while you are there.
Have a caricature drawn of the two of you…frame it.
Dress up in costumes and take pictures…even if it’s just headgear. Make a scrapbook of these.
Look at each other’s high school annual together… or family album.
Joel Goodman, founder of The Humor Project, reminds us that, “laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Remember this with daily doses, weekly sprinkles, and monthly dollops and your relationship will flourish.

A Look at Make-Up Infomercials

A Look at Make-Up Infomercials

Using a variety of female celebrities, infomercial producers have once again created a huge market where none existed. That’s not to say that make up products didn’t exist. They did. And they were a multibillion dollar industry long before anybody ever thought of infomercials.

Starting in the early twentieth century with the advent of movies and their subsequent side affect – beautiful stars! – make up companies have been designing products to make average looking women look better. Or at least think they look better. Make up has been a staple of upscale department stores and high priced boutiques right from the very beginning of the retail business. Even in the early days, make up products had their own departments. Salesgirls were hired who exhibited a youthful, sparkling appearance. They would grab women by the hand, lead them to the sales counter, apply a bit of this, a dab of that and a puff of something else for free and then make the sale. Early products were marketed in the usual manner – for their value in improving your appearance and their price.

The first make up celebrities in the pre-infomercial era were not the stars that women were trying to emulate but the heads of the Hollywood make up departments who made the stars look so glamorous. And so the likes of Max Factor, make up master to countless female celebrities (and men too, by the way) and the most successful line of make up products were born. Later on the celebrities themselves, sensing a huge cash return for the use of their face, put themselves on various lines of make up products available in stores. When their looks faded, when their careers stopped humming along, the make up products disappeared as well.

And then came infomercials. All of a sudden there was a way to get women interested in buying make up products over their TV sets and was it ever successful! Sensing right from the outset that the products had to be celebrity driven, producers came up with a way to market their products to women all over the world via the TV set. Faded and fading stars from the music business, movie business and TV business jumped on the bandwagon to sell make up and other beauty supplies to American women by the truckload. Here’s the hook that they used: the make up infomercial and the products were not completely celebrity driven. The celebrity was merely there to endorse the products supposedly used on her over the years to keep her looking younger and more beautiful. But the product itself was created by, bore the name of and was demonstrated by the make up artist who had labored for years applying make up to countless beautiful celebrities. The make up artist was not a beauty herself but a “regular” woman who merely worked on celebrities. Hence, the housewife watching in Des Moines, or Chicago or anywhere was not made to feel ugly or less than glamorous.

In fact the celebrity was usually somewhat demeaned on make up infomercials as they would often appear on the show without any make up on. You would be channel surfing and a close up shot of a celebrity you know would appear on the screen and you’d stop, you’d notice she didn’t look so good. You’d wonder what happened and you’d start watching the infomercial. And you’d hear her talking endlessly about how her appearance, her look, her beauty was predominately the successful work of the artist and her line of amazing products while the artist was applying make up to her face and transforming her right before your very eyes.

And furthermore, YOU!, Miss American Average Woman, could have these same products that celebrities have been using for years to make movie magic happen, the secret stuff known only to Hollywood insiders, delivered right to your door in a few days for the low, low price of…well you get the idea. What a concept! Don’t get the beautiful celebrity, with the face of an angel, to sell the product. Have the average looking make up artist sell the product while the beautiful celebrity is transformed from average looking to gorgeous right before your eyes! And of course, the celebrity was an equal or even majority partner in the profits from the line, picking up millions along the way for a days work, sitting in a comfortable chair, in air conditioned splendor, having make up applied to their faces. As the man said – Only in America!

Can You Read Your Free Guitar Sheet Music?

Can You Read Your Free Guitar Sheet Music?

Are you still playing London Bridge is Falling Down or Greensleeves? Grow up! It’s time to move on to the classics like Matteo Carcassi’s Etude No. 13 Op 60 or Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Of course, expect your unsure fingers to do an acrobatic stunt or two because these classical pieces that you can get from free guitar sheet music are a bit harder than what you are playing now.

What’s in it for you?

You might wonder why you have to read music. Even if it is free, guitar sheet music has to be learned the right way. No ifs, no buts. Since time immemorial, there have been heated debates about guitar sheet music. Cynics and the high and mighty turn their noses up from reading music. What they don’t know is learning how to read even free guitar sheet music is a strength they can count on when playing future pieces.

The natural players versus the learned players

Some people are indeed gifted with a very good ear to music. For them, it’s a cinch to translate the music they hear to the piano, guitar, and to the violin. Natural players learn to play the piano and the guitar just by watching performing artists. In contrast, learned players have to take up lessons under a maestro who, in turn, stresses the importance of the scales and the notes.

When these two kinds of players meet, expect fireworks from diverse attitudes. Natural players tends to scoff at the tedious lessons of reading music, while learned players have a certain bourgeois outlook about natural players who cannot read free guitar sheet music. Unfortunately, the two differing beliefs slow down their development as true guitar artists.

Should you learn to read music?

Along the road to guitar nirvana, the natural player will have to deal with free guitar sheet music if he wants to learn the intricacies of rock, blues, and rhythm guitar music. This will become an obstacle in his early guitar career if he cannot decode the annotations. On the other hand, the learned player can play any piece he can get hold of. Free guitar sheet music will add to the collection of pieces he can play.

A learned player can also learn a few practical guitar tricks from online coaches. There are videos that demonstrate how picks are utilized, or how to play the fingers with such fluidity. He can appreciate the techniques because he has the right music foundation.

Guitar lessons online offer free guitar sheet music of all music genres. This is an advantage for those who know how to read music, and the guitar sheet music copies will also extend a guitarist’s repertoire. His skill with riffs and ornaments will be heightened as he knows the principles behind his guitar playing. Masters will definitely encourage you to learn how to read music. Your emotional attachment to music will have a solid basis, whether you are playing the piano, violin, or guitar.

Learning music also has its shortcuts. Online gurus will dispose of the tedious approaches to learn how to play the guitar. They promise starry-eyed aspirants that they will be able to play the guitar in just a day with no guitar music sheets from the maestros. With the abundance of free guitar sheet music online, what can one do if one does not know how to read music?

Download your free guitar sheet music

Several online sites give free guitar sheet music which you can download easily. You choose a genre, composer, and difficulty level, and voila! Free guitar sheet music aplenty.

Another innovative approach in online guitar lessons is the use of the CD sheet music (Version 2.0). Suffice to say, it will make your computer a music library. Everything your heart desires – from Christian to metal are now available in CD sheet music.

So the question remains – can you read your free guitar sheet music?

Superman Movies

Superman Movies

The first Superman movie was released in 1978. It was an immediate hit at the box office due to the overwhelming number of people that had been enjoying the comic books for decades. This first of many Superman movies didn’t disappoint and it set a precedence for those that were to follow. The film wasn’t rushed and took from 1973 to 1978 to complete. The producers wanted this to be a very realistic film that covered the story of Superman from the beginning.

Yet there were some production problems from the very start. There were plenty of on screen conflicts. Too many people wanted this production to go according to their own ideas. That led to the film being delayed and over budget. There were plenty of notable special effects in the movie though that were very expensive to create.

Christopher Reeve was chosen to play Superman in the 1978 film. While he had numerous other wonderful movies in his career, it was this one that made him a household name. Other notables in this movie include Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. The cast was very dynamic together and it worked exceptionally well for the Superman movie.

It wasn’t long before the plans were underway for a complete series of Superman movies. Superman II came out in 1980, Superman III in 1983, and Superman IV in 1987. The latest release was Superman returns in 2006. Brandon Routh played Superman in this last movie. Every one of these films has lead to very high profits for the movie industry. As a new one came out the interest in the earlier ones was also renewed.

The Superman movies have all been released on DVD’s individually and as a box set. For the Superman lover, that could make a very good present. You can be sure the Superman movies will also be among those that get released on the new Blu-Ray as well. People of all ages really enjoy them. If you have the older Superman movies, you may want to get the new releases. The are full of never before seen footage and extras that you will really enjoy watching.

Laughter and your health

Laughter and your health

Jokes and humor for your health
When thinking about alternative medicine, most people picture plants, crystals, needles, maybe some bugs and leeches, but few realize that jokes, humor and comedy are truly medicines, in their own right. It has long been established that optimists live longer than pessimists, but now there is some hard evidence that people with a better sense of humor also have longer and healthier lives. Your "stay healthy" plan should include a joke and a 20-minute comedy show, to go with the broccoli and carrots.
There are now various associations and physicians specialized in the so-called therapeutic humor, who are still investigating the roles of laughter in our lives. Perhaps the most obvious of these roles is that related to the social life – jokes often allow people to connect and to bond, and sharing a good laughter is a good method to integrate in a team, to get along with the coworkers, neighbors and so on. This function is vital from the point of view of mental health, since it reduces loneliness and, with it, depression and other problems associated with it. You don’t have to be trained in stand-up comedy in order to say something funny, sometimes all you need is a change of perspective or the courage to make fun at your own expense.
Humor is an invaluable asset in crisis situations, when it helps us calm down and reduce the levels of stress (and all the negative effects stress has on health). It is often considered that, among patients with very severe diseases, those with an upbeat approach, who are capable of making jokes about their situations, have the best chances to defeat the illness. So far, there have been no scientific studies to prove this, but the patients themselves report feeling better after joining an activity with humorous potential, even if it’s just watching a comedy show together with some friends or with other patients.
Recent researches suggest that laughter influences more than our mental framework, it actually has a positive effect on the physical aspect as well. It has been widely accepted, for some time, that laughter increases the pain resistance level, but the theory is still not proven. In fact, very few studies have yet been made about the relation between comedy and health, but those existing seem to indicate that a good joke may lower the blood pressure, improve memory and cognitive functions and boost the immune system. Moreover, these results are not short-term only: it seems that a good sense of humor may protect you against heart diseases and alter your biochemical state to a level where the organism produces more antibodies. The lack of research in the field is due to the fact that people have always assumed that laughter is good for your health (along with an apple a day and a breath of fresh air), but little has been done to analyze this in depth.
There is also a "bad" humor (same as there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol). This category includes the approach that makes people feel miserable about themselves, or angry, upset and vengeful, as well as the skeptic and cynic attitude, which is often the front for deep depression and indifference. Jokes directed at other people are also "bad" humor, along with ethnic, racial and sexist jokes, which are born out of frustration, not out of optimism and cheerfulness. Also, people who often make fun of themselves hide a low self esteem, which is only worsened with every funny joke they invent (there is a good reason why clowns and successful comedy actors are often perceived as sad and depressed in their real lives).
If you decide to use laughter as a therapeutic method, the first obvious issue is that there are no harmful side effects, and you’ve got nothing to lose. The second issue is that you can actually improve your sense of humor in time, same as any other skill or ability, by constant training and exposure to jokes and comedy. Next time you go to the movies, buy a ticket for a comedy, no matter how dumb the poster looks. When you read the paper, don’t forget to check out their daily cartoon too. Spend ten minutes every day reading jokes, and, when you find some you like, share them with your friends. (And when your boss catches you reading jokes instead of working, tell him it’s just therapy, he can’t stop your from taking your medication at work, right?) Last but not least, try to find the funny side of the small things that happen every day around you – there is always something absurd or plain stupid going on right near you, which may provide five minutes of good laugher, which, in turn, may unblock some arteries and keep the heart attack far away.