Sunday, November 30, 2008

Assignment 3-1

One of the hottest toys for the past several years has been Elmo, the bright red Sesame Street character. I remember Elmo when he first hit the streets as tickle-me-Elmo. It was all over the news and parents were paying hundreds of dollars for these toys. It was THEE toy to have for Christmas that year. I thought it was just a fad. Well, it wasn’t. I went to a Halloween party this year with almost no notice. I quickly went to Walmart with my wife to look for a costume. We wound up walking out with Elmo suits that were supposed to be for toddlers. They just fit over our heads and went about halfway down our chests. They were very snug. The costumes were a big hit at the party and I actually had someone come up to me at the party and ask me for my Elmo suit. They said that their child loves Elmo and they would be a hero if they brought it home. By the end of the party, I had to cut the openings for the arms as I am not a toddler and the person that wanted the suit had already left.
Sesame Street has always been a great place for children to visit. The show does a good job teaching children valuable lessons. What is interesting is that Elmo is a relatively “new kid” on the block at Sesame Street. According to Sesame Street, Elmo’s “personality wasn’t fully formed until Kevin Clash began performing the character in 1985” (“Elmo,” 2008). It was Clash that created the monster’s trademark giggle. A new development is that Elmo has his own segment on Sesame Street called “Elmo’s World” (“Elmo,” 2008). I think this is why Elmo has taken off so much. He has a lot of face time on the show and parents like Sesame Street so kids get to see him a lot. It has been a marketing success for Sesame Street and a hit with kids nationwide and beyond. This goes to show that pop culture can decide who will make it and who won’t. Even in the Muppet world!

Elmo. (2008). Sesame Street. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from

Monday, November 24, 2008

Assignment 2-1

The Nintendo Wii

This week I would like to explore the pop culture topic known as the Wii. I actually don’t have much experience with this gaming system but many of my friends do. Many gaming systems in the past had large followings but the Wii is off the charts. “According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and The NPD Group, computer and video game sales, including portable and console hardware, software, and accessories, were $18.8 billion in 2007, a 40% increase over the $13.5 billion market in 2006 ( Miller & Washington, 2008, p. 122). The Nintendo Wii was among the top sellers.
There are several reasons why this gaming system has been so popular. One reason is the fact that this system gets the players moving. Games sure have come a long way. Parents like the system because it gets their child off the couch and moving around. It has also been a big hit with older people in nursing homes. I am sure that was a surprise to Nintendo. The Wii lets the nursing home residents play such things as baseball and golf while offering these sports in a safe environment.
I remember the first gaming system I got and it was a regular Nintendo. It will be very interesting to see what kind of gaming systems come out in the future. It looks like Nintendo will continue to stay on top of their industry. It makes me think that maybe 3-D will be the waive of the future. Only time will tell!

Miller, R. & Washington, K. (2008). Chapter 21: Video games. Entertainment, Media & Advertising Market Research Handbook, 122-126. Retrieved November 24, 2008, from Business Source Complete database.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Assignment 2-2

The three contemporary icons I chose are Bob & Tom, Lowes, and Mercedes-Benz. Each of these icons means something to me and means something to many other people in society. I feel that they are well known icons and fit this discussion well.

I like listening to Bob & Tom in the morning. They make me laugh. The Bob & Tom show is broadcast nationwide from 6 A.M. to 10 A.M. When I am in the car during these hours, they are the only station I have on. Lowes is my home improvement store. I am in the real estate business and I therefore shop their not only for things for my own home but for homes I purchase and rehab. I have found the products to be good and the service decent at Lowes. Last but not least, we come to one of my dream cars. I have always loved cars, especially nice ones. I would like to own a Mercedes someday, maybe an E55 AMG or a S65 AMG.

These icons each mean something different to me. Bob & Tom mean comic relief in a stressful world. They also show me that it is possible to find a job you really love to do. Who thought you could create radio show writing indecent songs and interviewing comedians? Lowes has an interesting meaning to me. It makes me think of the American dream. It is a luxury that we as Americans have the opportunity to own our own homes and spend thousands of dollars on them if we want too. Mercedes-Benz has a strong meaning to me as well. On some basic level, the car gives me a goal to reach for. It is possible to have a lot of nice things in life on a very tight budget. To be able to afford a $100,000 car or even a $50,000 is quite an accomplishment. When I say afford, I mean write a check for it. To reach that level of success is a goal of mine.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Assignment 1-4

Crocs: Pop Culture in Action
Who would have thought crocs would have caught on like they did? Well I certainly didn’t think they would have caught on but I sure wish I had bought some stock in the company. Crocs are a certain type of shoe that is made out of plastic. They have an unusual design and are very comfortable. They have hit the ground running, no pun intended. Crocs are popular because they are comfortable and because they have been able to penetrate such a wide range of audience, from young to old.
On average, women have nineteen pairs of shoes (Marx, 2008). Could this be a reason why Crocs have become such a hit? Yes, women have certainly purchased these shoes, but they are not alone. That might also be a reason why Crocs have become so popular. They are worn by young and old and men and women.
Another sign that shows how popular Crocs have become is that they have to deal with copy-cat products hitting the shelves. In July of 2008, Crocs Inc. filed a lawsuit against Sketchers USA Inc. for copying the style and texture of the original Croc shoes (Lynch, 2008, P. 22). It seems that Sketchers would like to cash in on this market. They might have come a little too late to the party, though.
Pop culture is always changing. What is “in” today is “out” tomorrow. The sales of Crocs have dropped in 2008. “Crocs suffered a net loss of US$4.5 million in the first quarter of 2008, down from net income of $24.9 million in the same period last year” (“Clunky,” 2008, p.18). I didn’t even know that they were becoming less popular until I researched the brand for this assignment. While Crocs might not be experiencing the dramatic growth they enjoyed before, they are very much a part of pop culture.


Clunky crocs must face up to the fashion police. (2008). Media: Asia’s Media and
Marketing Newspaper, 18. Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Business Source
Complete database.

Lynch, M. (2008). SKS, crocs in legal battle. FN: Footwear News, 64(28), 22.
Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Business Source Complete database.

Marx, P. (2008). Sole sisters. New Yorker, 84(26), 84-89. Retrieved November 16, 2008,
from Academic Search Complete database.

Assignment 1-2

What is popular culture, and what does it mean to you?

Popular culture is like a picture taken of society at any exact moment in time. It is what is hip, current, hot, or cool in a culture at any given moment. Popular culture is constantly changing with the times. Pop culture is the will of the people or the movement away from the masses. It can define a group of people for good or for bad. Popular culture, to me, is what is “in”, it is the newest gadget, car, phone, movie, and trend that society has taken in and accepted. It can be so had to keep up with popular culture because it is so fluid. Right now, it seems that it is cool for young men to have longer hair. My 19 year old brother has this mop on his head. I think he needs a hair cut, but all of his friends look the same! That is popular culture for you.

Why is an understanding of popular culture relevant to you in a business environment and in your present and future career?

It is critical to understand popular culture from a business standpoint. The bachelors degree I am looking to receive is in marketing. I would like to go into marketing or maybe sales. It is crucial to have an understanding of what the current pop culture is all about. Pop culture has an influence over us as a society. People want to fit in. If I work in either marketing or sales, I must understand what the current trends are to be successful.

What would you consider to be an example of a pop culture artifact? And why would you choose it?

I would consider the Batman saga to be an example of pop culture. The reason I chose it was because I just saw the second installment of the newest series. It was a great movie. Batman has managed to stay cool for decades. Something tells me Batman will be popular for decades to come. As society, culture, and technology have grown and adapted, so has Batman. People always like a hero. Batman is certainly an example of a modern day super-hero.


Batman has been a part of popular culture for many years. Just a few days ago I finally saw the movie Batman: The Dark Knight. It was great! Batman will remain a popular culture icon for many years to come. The proof is in the history of Batman. There have been numerous remakes of this classic.

Each remake is different from the last. This most current offering has been a huge success. I saw the movie in the "cheap theater". The movie was originally released months ago yet it is still going strong. The cheap theater was maybe 1/3- 1/2 full. I couldn't believe it.

I think Batman is still loved because most people like the idea of a secret person helping to stop crime and trying to make the world a little safer. On top of that, who doesn't want to have some super powers? I can't wait for the third part of this series to come out. I might even be willing to watch it at the expensive theater!


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