The Christmas tree showcased at the Rockefeller Center, which was erected last Wednesday in a festive ceremony, symbolizes the holiday season in New York. The origin of this annual tradition, however, began at a not-so-merry time period. In 1931, the Great Depression was taking a toll on the U.S labor force, with unemployment at 15.9% (compared to today's four percent). On Christmas Eve, the construction workers building the Rockefeller Center (completed in 1939) had a cause to celebrate: unlike so many others, -they- were getting paid. To celebrate this occasion, the workers put up a 20-foot tall tree decorated with ornaments, right where they would be getting their paychecks: Rockefeller Center. Two years later, a savvy publicist with Rockefeller Center organized the first official tree lighting ceremony, establishing the now well-known tradition and calling the tree “a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike.” Ever since then, people from around the globe gather at Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree that brightens up Midtown, Manhattan.
1947--In the summer of 1947, the SS Exodus set sail from France. On board were over 4,500 Jewish men, women, and children, all displaced persons or survivors of the Holocaust trying to find new lives in the Palestine region. But in their way were British troops trying to keep promises made to the Palestinian Arabs to limit Jewish immigration. The British Navy were waiting at the shores of Palestine, violently forcing the passengers on boats back to Europe where they would be living in British-operated internment camps in Cyprus. The British treatment of these migrants did not go unnoticed; newspapers from around the globe reported on the British action to send the Jews back to Europe. For example, Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent, Robert Gary, captured photos of life for the Jews inside these camps. One photo showed Jews having to repair barbed wire fences, which drew comparison to the Holocaust where they would have to do the same thing. An American newspaper ran the headline "Back to the Reich" when reporting on the treatment of the Jews in the camps. All of the reporting quickly drew compassion towards the Jews from the public. The demand for a permanent home for the Jews was growing, and exactly 71 years ago, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, thus giving the Jews a territory that they could call home which would later be called Israel.
Photographs were once prohibited in art museums, but now the game has changed – as social media becomes an unavoidable element in our daily life, galleries and museums are now encouraging them in some degree. While we talk about the presences of artists on social media, perhaps no artist is more at home on social media than Yayoi Kusama, an 89-year old Japanese artist famous for her repetitive polka dots works. A brief search of the #yayoikusama hashtag on Instagram reveals more than 719k posts, also 23.7k posts under the #yayoikusamaexhibition hashtag, never mention the posts under the hashtag of her original Japanese name.
In the past, we spent hours in countless galleries and museums, appreciating arts from a distance. The development of technology, however, leads to an irreversible change in the way we interact with art – arts become immersive. Marina Abramovic shared an emotional bond with you by staring at you across a table in MoMA. Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass created the Rain Room, offering you the experience of controlling the rain. James Turrell invited you to another dimensional world in his light installation.
Of course, one of the most visionary artists who understands the importance of human interaction is Yayoi Kusama, whose installation “Infinitely Mirror Rooms” have the most social media engagements. In those mirrored chambers, Kusama placed with sparkling LED lights, luminous acrylic pumpkins, or floating red polka dots orbs to create a real-life kaleidoscope.
Even though the “Infinitely Mirror Rooms” were mostly created in 1950s, long before the existence of social media, the combination of dramatic, highly photographable visuals, and selfie-friendly environments makes Kusama’s arts tailor-made for Instagram posts. Social media plays an incredible role in generating excitements about exhibitions – nothing works better than your friend telling you that you must go to see this exhibition. Apparently Kusama’s works have all the ingredients to boost a social media phenomenon. The international tour of her works helps multiple museums hit their record high crowd.
Unsurprisingly, the selfies and pictures have come under fire from critics who see it as a symbol of modern narcissism. (Ironically, Yayoi Kusama has another iconic piece just called Narcissus Garden, she debuted that at the Venice Biennale in 1966 – she was not invited by the Biennale official at all but placed hundreds of mirrored spheres outside the museum, dressed in a golden kimono, she began selling the spheres for $2 each to the visitors) You can’t deny that many people flock to the exhibitions only for a selfie in front of the perfect backdrop. I admit that some of Kusama’s popularity should be credited to today’s Instagram-obsessed-generation. However, the carnival on Instagram is not only because the selfie-friendly opportunities. Her mirror rooms shatter the physical boundaries between the visitors and the arts on display by inserting you into the art.
Born in an extremely conservative family in Japan in 1929, Kumasa spent her life fighting the boundaries and limitations set by the world. After living in France and the US, she returned to Japan in 1973 due to a series of mental illnesses. Ever since 1977, Kusama has been living in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo, going to her studio across the street during the day and painting eight hours a day.
Pocky is a Japanese snack you can probably see almost everywhere. The cookie-ish sticks with chocolate coats are so addictive. Every November 11th, while we observe Veterans Day and attend one of the many parades across the nation, Japan goes Pocky crazy – to celebrate the Pocky Day. Why November 11? Because the date, 11.11, is made up of four ones and ones are the exact same shape as Pocky!
In 1999, Japanese food corporation, Ezaki Glico, came up with the idea of Pocky Day. The company had an ambitious plan – deploy a wide variety of PR and marketing campaigns to establish November 11th as national Pocky Day. The company didn’t choose a random year to start this holiday – 1999 was the 11th year of the Heisei period. Thus, November 11, 1999 in Japan calendar was 11.11.11.
And Glico was successful. Ever since its inception, it has released annual advertising campaigns, collaborations and national events built around the iconic shape of Pocky.
These are some of the campaigns:
On November 11, 2013, Glico hired a team to launch four Pocky shaped rockets at 11:11am. The online livestream of the launch engaged an audience over 94,000.
In 2014, Glico held a “World Challenge” campaign from October 14 to November 11 to gather people’s photos of themselves with Pockys. Glico received over 16,000 photos and set a Guinness World Record for the “World’s Largest Online Photo Montage of Cookies”.
Every year, the official Pocky Twitter and Instagram ran a photo and video contest under the hashtag #ポッキーフォト(Pocky Photo) the week before Pocky Day and you could win 1,111 boxes of Pocky.
Besides photos of fans eating Pocky, the social media sites also feature all kinds of Pock-related games, such as building Pocky towers and Pocky deco.
Don’t forget to eat Pocky on Pocky Day and share this post to tell your friends about Pocky Day!
If you have 20 seconds, watch this clip, (https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm19301129 ) it won the 2012 Pocky Video Contest, earning the lucky winner 110,000 yen & 111 boxes Pocky. Curious if you can get the extreme corky Asian joke.
1955--At the Greenbrier resort in WV, GM CCO Paul Garrett presents before the executive committee his "confidential" three-year PR program for GM and its divisions.
When GM Pres. Harlow Curtice introduces Garrett, he says: "How people regard us is most important to our progress. It is a responsibility that all of us must share if we are to improve our position with the public... [Garrett] has been responsible not only for originating most of the wide range of public relations activities in which GM is a leader but for many of the broad concepts that have to do with our relationships with the public... I have asked Paul to give us his appraisal of how we stand now in public esteem, how we reached this position and what we need to do to move to a still higher level of public approval."
1963 -- On this date, "Captain Kangaroo" debuts on CBS and runs every weekday until 1984, becoming the longest-running national kids' show in US TV history. Besides providing entertainment with Mr. Green Jeans and Mr. Moose, "Captain" Bob Keeshan also led educational segments, such as how to use a seatbelt and how to brush one's teeth. Guests included Bill Cosby, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Danny Kaye and even renowned newsman Walter Cronkite (here featured in a segment about the voting process.)
For 21 years, he would close each show by urging parents to spend some "quality" time with their children : "But whatever you do," he'd say, "have a great day."
Amazon's announcement to increase hourly wages to 350k employees has been mightily commended by the press, as was Henry Ford's announcement a century ago, when assembly-line workers were given an unprecedented $5 a day. Ford wanted to ensure a stable employee base, but also wanted his workers to be able afford the products they produced. While Ford saw a short term decline in profits, in the long run it led to increasingly higher revenue. By making it affordable, he repositioned the “motorcar” from a luxury to something every American--including his own workers-- could own.
Then (1991) -- Anita Hill testifies in Congress with allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas. It was the first such hearing of its kind, and thanks to C-SPAN a little-discussed issue was brought to the national discussion.
Now, 27 years later, in the midst of the "Me Too" movement and near-daily exposure of high-profile sexual assault cases, the issue stands to have a permanent impact on every facet of American life. In years ahead, Dr. Christine Ford's testimony will likely be considered as pivotal as Anita Hill's has been since 1991.
One of the first-ever sound-on-film documentaries is a compilation of interviews with people aged 70-100 talking about the technological and cultural progress they've experienced during their lifetimes. They describe their memories fighting in the Civil War, watching the construction of skyscrapers on Broadway ("buildings five and six stories tall!"), and working as a woman on the Chicago Exhibition in the 1890s. It is one thing to read about history; quite another to hear contemporaneous, first-hand stories about it.
See the entire video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FE30a4J38Q
Volkswagen announced the end of production of its famous Beetle. The last of the Beetle family, the third-generation Beetle will go out of production in 2019 due to waning of nostalgia and sales. To celebrate the vehicle’s rich heritage and iconic cultural standing, VW announced the #VWBeetle Final Edition.
The Beetle was not just a car, it was a fixture of popular culture, symbol of the free-wheeling ‘60s, the ride of the baby boomer generation, and a true cultural icon.
VW’s Beetle was the center of one of the greatest print campaigns of all times. In the 50s and 60s, when cars were fashion statements, testosterone boosters, and muscles on wheels, VW's Think Small campaign promoted their Beetle to be the exact opposite of the ideal car, and how this was a great thing.