Promotional Items Vs TV Advertising

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With daily news updates about the credit crunch it is no surprise that you might be worried about the upcoming year and considering abandoning plans to use promotional items; instead looking to focus your marketing budget on other initiatives. However, before allocating your budget give some thought to the power of promotional items…

One of the Strongest Performing Marketing Tools

Promotional items are one of the strongest performing marketing tools, with a recent study showing that 84% of respondents recalled a company after receiving a promotional item from them. Part of the reason promotional items can be more effective is that they work in a slightly different way than TV or radio campaigns.

While TV may bombard us with information every advert break, many people are too busy making a cup of tea to notice. And when they make their tea, your customers could be using a promotional mug, branded with your name and logo, which promotes constantly…not just for a couple of minutes in between a program.

Better Market Segmentation

It is true that TV advertising can reach a lot more people, but this can also be a negative point. Many of the people who see your campaign may not be the people who would ever buy your products, or even consider them. This means that you are wasting some of your hard-earned budget on targeting completely the wrong people. Using promotional items puts the power in your hands, either to ensure that regular customers are sent a gift, or that you send a mailer containing a gift such as a pen to build recognition before your follow up calls.

Cost vs. Return

TV advertising is a very costly approach for any company to take – effective creative comes at a high cost and that’s without media buying. In contrast to this, buying and sending promotional gifts is extremely cost effective and targeted. In fact, if you are seen to be sending gifts to customers and potential customers while other companies are cutting back on this type of activity, it helps differentiate your business as a company who cares about its customers and rewards them for their loyalty. They will remember your name and feel special…rather than a one-way message delivered to everyone on a TV screen.

TV advertising is also short-term, you may only see a brand / brand message a handful of times. However, a promotional gift such as a pen or calculator will keep a company’s brand / brand message in front of someone constantly for a long period of time.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes…would you prefer a generic message delivered over a mass medium (such as TV) or would you prefer a more personalized approach, such as a letter and gift?

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Western Digital TV Live Review

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In this article I’ll be discussing the Western Digital TV Live, which is a media player that connects to your HD TV and allows you to play HD content in either 720p or 1080p resolutions.

The first thing you’ll notice about the WD TV Live is its size, it’s tiny. You wouldn’t think such a small device could pack such a big punch, but it does. The player comes with a remote control, and its necessary batteries, and also its power adapter. Unfortunately a HD cable isn’t provided, so you’ll have to source this elsewhere.

Once you’ve connected the device, and turned it on, you’ll notice a baby blue light on the front of the player to signify that it’s on. When you change your TV’s channel to the player’s channel, you’ll then notice the WD TV Live’s boot up screen. This is displayed for roughly a few seconds, and it then changes to the main menu, where you can choose from a host of options which include, video, music, photos and settings. The setting’s option allows you to customise your player experience, allowing you to change how files and folder are displayed, how and if your WD TV will connect to a network, the language selection etc. Selecting the music option takes you to the music menu, which allows you to open up files and folders which host any music files. The photo’s option takes you to the photo’s screen, and the video screen likewise.

You can connect your media to the WD TV Live player in a variety of ways, ranging from a USB stick which physically plugs into either or both of the media players USB ports, an external hard drive which connects to the media player via a USB cable, or a network connection. A network connection allows you to connect your WD   TV  live  media  player to your network, and stream any music and videos in real time. This is how mine is currently setup, and it works faultlessly, no skipping, pausing, just a smooth playback. I’ve also tested playing videos and music via a USB stick or an external hard drive, and this also worked perfectly. There is also the option of connecting the device to your network via a wireless USB stick, but only some USB sticks are compatible, so you’ll need to have a look at the product’s home page on the manufacturer’s website to ensure it’ll work correctly.

HD movies are displayed beautifully on the WD  TV  live  media  player, and you have a range of options during playback. You can choose whether to display the films built in subtitles, and if so, what language. You can pause the film at any moment, fast forward or rewind in single mode, x2, x4, x8 or x16, and you also have the option of skipping forwards or backwards in 10 minute intervals.

The WD  TV   media  player is a fantastic device which has worked faultlessly for me in my 6 months of ownership. It’s a perfect device for those who wish to add to their home theatre, and due to its size and slick appearance, it’s sure to look the part as well.

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Digital TV Antenna Basics

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You may laugh and say that TV antennas are a leftover from a forgotten time. With your 500 channel satellite package or your 14 premium cable movie channels, you’d be right to scoff. Until you get your bill. Many viewers are embracing digital TV antennas to get the same audio quality and stellar that you pay big bucks for; all for free. There are several advantages to OTA (over-the air) reception and I’ll discuss those along with how to choose the best antenna for HDTV in your area.

Broadcast HDTV channels are the best of the best

The digital television transition is bringing with it solutions to the 2 most annoying troubles of analog broadcasting; snow and picture ghosting. Digital TV channels allow for a crisp, ghost-free picture and clear sound. All local content is not yet broadcast in HDTV, so it’s typical for stations to broadcast their digital TV channels in standard definition during the day and switch to a full widescreen HDTV broadcast during the “prime time” hours.

If you’ve never experienced what a digital TV antenna can do for you, here are a few reasons to consider one:

  • Over-the-air (OTA) digital TV channels are free. With the exception of the costs you incur for your antenna, receiving digital stations with an HDTV antenna is free.
  • You get access to all your local channels. Many satellite and cable companies will not carry all of the local stations in your area. On many systems, you have access to some of your local stations in exchange for an extra monthly fee.
  • Free access to out of town stations. It’s possible that with the right equipment you can receive out of town stations and often be able to catch sporting events that are “blacked out” in your area.
  • Local digital TV channels are everywhere. Although the largest concentration of digital TV stations are in metropolitan areas, 90% of US viewers can easily get 6 or more digital TV channels.
  • OTA reception has the best picture quality. While your satellite or cable company may offer 500 channels, this comes with a price. They use data compression techniques that lower the audio and image quality of your broadcast often adding distortion or artifacts.

Of course in addition to your HDTV antenna, you will also need some sort of HDTV tuner to receive these digital TV channels, more often than not on newer TVs this ability is already built in. If you have an “integrated” HDTV, or it mentions an ATSC tuner, you are ready to rock. Also, if you currently subscribe to an HDTV package from DISH or DIRECTV, your receiver almost certainly includes an over-the-air HDTV tuner.

Finding your OTA digital TV channels

One of the best ways to find specific digital TV information for your address is the AntennaWeb.org website. You simply put in your address and it will return a list of the digital stations in your area. It allows you to look at both analog and digital TV stations in your area, or you can filter it to show digital broadcasts only. Since many stations broadcast from the same area, they will be clustered together on your results page. Now that you know what digital TV channels are available in your area, it’s time to pick your antenna.

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Social Media and Our Lives

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The different forms of social media available today have in no little way affected the cause of human existence. As a matter of fact, as different forms of media continue to spring up in addition to television, the print media, radio and the internet, so many lives are being influenced either positively or negatively.

Social media as experts have been able to decipher have appreciable effect on both young and old. The popular saying that we are products of what we read, watch and hear cannot be overemphasized. In point of fact, a good number of children have been found to derive some of their characteristic behavior or certain pattern of behavior as a result of movies which they’ve watched. Children can take on very remarkable traits from what they’ve seen on a social media such as TV or what they heard on radio. A good example is a young child who disturbs the parents to get him an attire like the one the surgeon had on him for a TV advert. The toddler may even mimic the way the surgeon speaks. And of course, this can go a long way to arouse the curiosity and the genius embedded in that little one. Adults are not left out of this too. However, on the other hand, a lot of vices in society have erupted today as a result of some of the scenes, even advertorials being featured on some of the social media. In fact, in very many cases some of the adverts and appearances on the TV and a good number of websites are targeted at arousing sexual feelings. Truthfully, quite a number are even dedicated to pornographic images. And of course, these can go a long way to affect the psyche of anyone that stumbles on such corrupt social media practices for a lifetime, either old or young. In fact, most cases of rape are as a result of some the appearances on the media.

How about violence too? Again, one of the ills of the media which has culminated into evil in the larger society is the issue of violence being featured on the mass media. As a matter of fact, as good as the social media is, it has also been to the detriment of a lot of people around the globe.

Well, quite lot is actually being done to put a check on social media ills. We now have Parental control features on some devices and many countries also have regulatory bodies which have been empowered to put a check on some forms of social media. But in this crucial issue, it is not the checks by the regulatory bodies or the parental control that matters. We ourselves must clamor for a society which is healthy and void of vices. So are we willing to change as individual? Or are we ready to go the extra mile to give children the opportunity to grow up in an environment void of the negative extremes which social media may at times bring? The choice is ours.

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TV Program Downloads and the Legal Maze

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Is copying TV program downloads to your PC illegal?

The simple answer is no.

The only thing that is illegal is taking copyrighted material that you haven’t acquired legitimately – and, of course, distributing copyrighted material that you have acquired legitimately.

You are well within your rights to copy your own tv program downloads,music collection or whatever onto your computer or your iPod, as long as you don’t then copy those files onto your friends computer or iPod.

As for tv program downloads and music on the internet there are numerous legal options, including online services that sell individual recordings to download and keep, others offer unlimited access to a media archives in return for either a monthly fee or a one off membership fee.

There are also plenty of TV program downloads that are both legal and free, these include one-off promotions from the major companies as well as products from little known production companies or upcoming bands who are more interested in exposure and making a name for themselves than making a profit.

As we’ve already seen there is nothing the media industry fears more (for obvious reasons) than the uncontrolled distribution of its copyrighted material.

It is difficult (impossible?) to see how the companies can stop people sharing files they have copied from their own CD’s or PC files even if they manage to legally kill off the underground file sharing networks.

The major companies do however have a strategy for stopping people freely distributing media they have legally purchased.

Its called Digital Rights Management or DRM, it involves embedding special pieces of code into music files for instance, (or TV program downloads or other formats for that matter) which digitally impose certain restrictions on what you can do with that file.

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Practical and Helpful Tips: Sales

Advantages of Window Shutters

Many people choose to furnish their windows with curtain or blinds but window shutters are also becoming very popular. This form of window dressing is only appealing but it’s also the most unique among all the choices. Other than aesthetic appeal, window shutters have a couple of other advantages. The following article summarizes some of the advantages that make window shutters attractive. The hope is that you can use them to furnish your windows once you understand the advantages.

Sound and heat insulation

Window shutters protect your home against sound and heat. You are likely aware that stuff can get out of hand, if you reside close to a busy area. In addition, the sun’s heat can get out of hand necessitating people to seek for a shade. If your windows are not protected properly, then there is a big chance that the heat can reach the inside of your home. Though, an easy way to protect your home against too much heat or sound is to use window shutters.

You require less maintenance when dealing with window shutters

In short, it is very easy to take care of window shutters. First, the process of cleaning window shutters is more simple that other options like curtains. You are probably aware that curtain require more work when it comes to cleaning. Also you know that you have to remove them from your windows first. Though, when it comes to window shutters very little cleaning is required. This is one of the main reasons why windows shutters are becoming more attractive.

Added privacy

There is no denying that window shutters add more privacy into the house. When you close shutters you guarantee that no person can view the inside of your residence. But at the same time you can allow light to pass through by doing a few adjustments. You are able to kill two birds with one stone as you can have or light into the home but people can’t view the inside of your house.

Increased aesthetics

With good window shutters, your house is certainly gong to be more attractive. In addition, your home can become more valuable particularly if you are intending to sell it. When it comes to beauty, other window dressing options do not match window shutters.

More people are choosing window shutter due to the summarized benefits above. If you wish to be more secure, insulate yourself against heat or sound or even add value to your home in terms of sale price, then its wise to install window shutters. Though, ensure that you conduct more research prior to making the final call. Reading web reviews can help you make the right decision when choosing a provider.

Short Course on Reviews – What You Need To Know

Looking On The Bright Side of Shutters

45 Family Media Literacy Activities to Grow Smart Brains in a Digital Age – Help All in One Place

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What is “media literacy?” The word literacy connotes a high degree of competency and usually means that a person knows how to read and write. A literate person, on the other hand, is well read, using and applying high level thinking skills across a broad range of topics. Computer literacy means the capacity to use computers well. Media literacy, then, is the ability to use all forms of media well. A media-literate person uses television, movies, DVDs, computer and video games for specific purposes, just as a print-literate person reads a book or a magazine, a college text or a newspaper for specific, various reasons.

Using all visual screen technology intentionally is the first, and most important element in becoming media literate. Ultimately as parents we want children and teens to be in control of small screens and not be controlled by them. Research has verified and experts know that a child who mindlessly watches a lot of TV or plays video games endlessly is less equipped to develop the capacities for wise media use. A media literate child, on the other hand, would learn to self-monitor screen time-being able to take it in doses-rather than make a habit of it four-five hours a day ad nauseum. He or she would want to do other activities because thinking, creative children are curious beings and there’s a whole world out there to explore-screen technologies just being one small part of it.

While a print-literate person reads words; a media literate person reads images. Using analysis, evaluation, and higher level thinking skills, a media-literate person interprets the subtle messages and overt claims visual messages convey. This is where we want our children headed-in a direction of making it second nature to think well about all forms of media images.

If we boiled down media literacy for our children, I think we would find five basic skills that we would like them to acquire:

• Conscious, intentional, limited use of all forms of screen technology

• Ability to critique visual messages and understand their intent and intellectual and emotional impact

• Ability to communicate facts, ideas, and thoughtful opinions about media images

• A thorough understanding of media production techniques to fully appreciate how such techniques as camera angles, lighting, cuts, etc. impact the messages being delivered

• Ability to use all forms of screen technology purposefully, and eventually wisely

Children can enjoy becoming media literate. The 45 family media literacy activities are grouped as follows:

30 General activities that you can adapt and use with children or teens.

15 Activities for children, specifically designed for children, ages 3-6

30 General Family Media Literacy Activities

1. TV and books.

Keep track of the dates when a TV version of a book is scheduled to air and encourage your kids to read the book first, or follow up the program by suggesting they read the book afterwards. Great discussions can result from comparing the original book and the TV version.

2. Use TV to expand children’s interests.

Link TV programs with your children’s interests, activities, and hobbies. A child interested in crafts can watch craft programs for encouragement and ideas; after viewing a wildlife show, take the kids to a zoo and have them recall what they learned about animals from the TV program. How does the real life experience differ from the show they watched? Are there any similarities?

3. Time capsule.

Ask your child to imagine that he or she has been given the job of choosing five television programs that will be included in a time capsule, not to be opened for one hundred years. Discuss what type of society these shows might reflect to a child opening the time capsule one hundred years from now.

4. Different viewpoints.

All family members watch one program together. The TV is then turned off and each person writes a few sentences about their opinions about the show. Discuss and compare everyone’s opinions, pointing out to your child how different people will like or dislike the same program. Why are all opinions valid? Who had the most persuasive opinion about the show? Why?

5. Watch a TV show being taped.

Take kids to a television program taping either locally or as part of a family trip to New York or Los Angeles. To make the trip more meaningful, have your children draw the set, take notes on the format of the show, note the special effects, and talk about what it was like being in the audience. Is the audience important to the show? How? (It may be easier to visit a local TV or radio station. You could visit both and talk about the differences between them.)

6. Make up an alternate title.

When you’re watching a TV program or movie with your child, ask him or her to exercise imagination and think of another title. To get things rolling, suggest an alternate title yourself. All family members can come up with as many alternates as possible. Vote on the best. What makes it better than all the rest to convey the essence of the show or film?

7. Compare what you see with what you expect.

With your child, come up with a description of a show before watching it, based on what you’ve read in a TV schedule. Predict how the characters will act and how the plot will unfold. When the program ends, take a few minutes to talk about what you saw: Did either of you notice any differences between what was written in the TV schedule and what was actually shown? Were either of you surprised by anything you saw? Is the show what you expected it would be? Why or why not?

8. Which category does it fit?

Using a television guide, your child will list all the shows she or he watches, then divide them into the following categories: comedy, news, cartoons, sitcoms, dramas, soap operas, police shows, sporting events, educational programs, and documentaries. Which is her or his favorite category and show? Why?

9. Predict what will happen.

During commercial breaks, ask your child to predict what will happen next in the program. You can discuss such questions as: If you were the scriptwriter, how would you end this story? What do you think the main characters will do next? Is it easy or difficult to guess the main event in this program? Why or why not?

10. The guessing game.

Turn off the volume but leave the picture on. See if your child can guess what is happening. To extend this into a family game, have everyone pick a TV character and add his/her version of that character’s words.

11. Letter writing.

Encourage your child to write letters to TV stations, describing why s/he likes and dislikes certain programs. Emphasize that giving factual and specific information will be helpful.

12. Be a camera operator.

Have your child experiment with a video camera to learn how it can manipulate a scene (omission-what it leaves out; selection-what it includes; close-up-what it emphasizes; long shot-what mood it establishes; length of shot-what’s important and what’s not).

13. Theme songs.

Help your child identify the instruments and sound effects used in the theme songs of his favorite shows. Have her sing or play the music in the show and explain what the music is doing. Does it set a mood? How? Does it tell a story? How does it make him/her feel?

14. Sequence the plot: a game.

To help your child understand logical sequencing, ask her to watch a TV show while you write down its main events, jotting each event on a separate card. At the completion of the program, shuffle the cards and ask your child to put them in the same order in which they appeared during the program. Discuss any lapses in logical sequence.

15. A time chart.

Your child will keep a time chart for one week of all of her activities, including TV watching, movie watching, and playing video games. Compare the time spent on these activities and on other activities, such as playing, homework, organized sports, chores, hobbies, visiting friends, and listening to music. Which activities get the most time? The least? Do you or your child think the balance should be altered? Why or why not?

16. Winning and losing.

Tell your child to watch a sports program and list all the words that are used to describe winning and losing. Encourage a long list. You can make this into a friendly competition, if you like, with two or more children collecting words from several sports programs and then reading them aloud.

17. TV and radio.

While watching TV coverage of a sports game, turn off the TV sound and have your child simultaneously listen to radio coverage. What does your child think about the radio coverage? About the TV coverage? What are the strengths of each? The weaknesses?

18. Quiz show comparison.

Compare and contrast the wide variety of game and quiz shows with your child. You’ll see shows that test knowledge, shows that are based on pure luck, and shows that are aimed specifically at children. Which are your child’s favorites? Why?

19. TV lists.

Assist your child in making lists of all television programs that involve hospitals, police stations, schools, and farms, and all television programs that contain imaginative elements, such as science fiction shows or cartoons.

20. Television vocabulary.

Challenge your child to listen for new words on TV and report back to the family on their definitions.

21. Critical viewing survey.

Ask your child to watch one of his favorite programs with you. Afterwards, you will both fill out the following survey. Then compare your answers. Are they different? Why? Are there right or wrong answers, or is much of what was recorded open to individual interpretation?

Critical Viewing Survey

Program watched:

Characters (List three to five and describe briefly):

Setting (Time and place):

Problems/Conflicts:

Plot (List three to five events in order of occurrence):

Story theme:

Solution:

Logic (Did the story make sense? Would this have happened in real life?):

Rating of the show (from one to ten, with ten being the highest):

22. Body language.

Observe body language in commercials and/or TV shows and films. Notice head position, hand gestures, and eye movement. How does body language affect how you feel about the intended visual or verbal message? Children could cut out postures and expressions from print advertisements (magazines and newspapers) and see if they can find those postures and expressions on TV or in movies. How important is body language to convey persuasive visual messages?

23. Variations on a story.

Look at how a particular story is handled differently by different channels. Use videotaped shows to compare. What are the differences? What are the similarities?

24. Quick problem solving.

Point out to your child how quick problems are solved on many TV shows. Discuss the differences in dealing effectively with challenges in real life. You may want to include in your discussion what processes you go through to identify, confront, and resolve problems.

25. Put words in their mouth.

As a family watch a favorite program with the sound off. Try to figure out what each of the characters in the show is saying. Discuss why you believe that based on past knowledge of the program and how the characters are behaving. Encourage your child to think about how he or she would write the script for each of the characters. What are the important things that they say? Why are these considered important?

26. Make your own family TV Guide.

Gather your child/ren and ask them to make a family TV Guide for the upcoming week. What programs would they include? What programs would they make sure not to include? Ask them to give reasons for their choices.

27. Thinking ahead to predict what might happen.

This is a great activity for school-age children who may need guidance in watching their favorite programs while you can’t be there with them. Give your child a written list of 3-5 general questions that they can read before they watch a TV show. Consider such questions as: “What do you think this program will be about? What do you anticipate the main character’s troubles will be? How will he/she resolve them? Why are you watching this show and not doing something else?” Instruct your child to think about the questions while viewing-no need to write anything down-just think. As your child watches, he/she won’t be able to stop thinking about these questions-it’s just how the brain works. Intermittently, ask your child to discuss the TV program with you, along with how this activity helps to think about the program!

28. Ask: “What will happen next?”

This is a simple, yet effective activity. Mute the commercials while your family watches TV together and ask each child and adult what he/she thinks will happen next. There are no right or wrong answers! This gives everyone a chance to engage in creative interplay and then to test his/her “hypothesis” when the show resumes. Children may learn just how predictable and mundane a lot of programs are and soon improve on the scriptwriters, adding their own creative ideas!

29. Record your child’s favorite show.

Then play it back during a long car trip or around a cozy fireplace on a dark winter evening. The purpose of this activity would be for your child to hear the program, without seeing the visuals. Talk about how the characters and their actions change as a result of only hearing the show. Does your child have to listen more intently? Why or why not? What are some crucial distinctions between watching and listening?

30. Encourage your child or teen to be a media creator.

Ultimately what we want is for our children to find ways to creatively express who they are. You can encourage a child to use a digital camera and make a photo collage of a family trip, for instance. Older children and teens can create websites, blogs, even podcasts. Screen technologies are powerful tools and when used intentionally, with specific purposes, our children become media-literate in the process of learning more about their own creativity and unique skills.

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15 Media Activities for Children, ages 3-6

Screen Violence

1. Talk about real-life consequences.

If the screen violence were happening in real life, how would the victim feel? In real life what would happen to the perpetrator of the violence. Compare what’s on the screen to the consequences of what happens when someone hurts another person in the real world.

2. Violence is not the way to solve problems.

Emphasize that hurting another person in any way or destroying property is wrong and won’t solve a person’s problems. Point out to your child that many of the violent cartoon characters never seem to solve their problems from episode to episode, and that to use violence is to act without thinking of the consequences. Tell your child it’s powerful and smart to find peaceful, creative ways to solve problems with other human beings. Choose a problem your child encountered recently such as another child taking a toy away and talk about the reasonable way the problem was resolved or could have been resolved-without hurting.

3. Anger is natural.

Talk about the fact that we all get angry, that it’s normal. It’s what we do with our anger-how we cope with it and express it-that’s important. When screen characters hurt people out of anger, it’s because they have not learned how to deal with their anger. Your child could make a list of screen characters who know how to deal with their anger in positive ways.

4. Count the number of violent acts.

While watching a favorite cartoon with your child, count the number of actual violent actions. Point out that these are harmful to others and you would never allow him/her to do such things to others. Total the number of violent actions at the end of the program and ask your child if he/she thought there were that many. Decide not to watch cartoons or any shows with such violent actions.

5. Talk about real and pretend.

If your child is exposed to a violent movie or video game, it is especially important to talk with him/her about the fact that the images were pretend-like when your child plays pretend and that no one was actually hurt. Make it a common practice to talk about the differences between real and pretend with any TV programs, movies, your child watches. Understanding this concept basic to becoming media-literate!

Screen Advertising

6. Blind taste test.

Show your child how she can test the claims of commercials. Have her do a blind taste test. It can be done with a wide range of foods such as three or four kinds of soda pop, spaghetti sauce, cereal-your child’s favorites. Are the products as great as the commercials claimed? Can she tell the difference between a generic brand and a famous one? Can she identify products by name? Do the commercials make products seem different than they really are? Why or why not? This is a fun activity to do with several children. Have a taste test party!

7. Draw pictures of a feeling.

Suggest that your child draw a picture depicting how he feels after watching two different types of TV commercials. What are the differences between the pictures? Discuss your child’s feelings about the different commercial messages. Picture the buyer. Younger children can watch a commercial and then draw a picture of the type of person they think will buy the product. After discussing the child’s picture, explain how various audience appeals are used in commercials to attract specific audiences.

8. Cartoon ads.

While watching cartoons, your child can look for specific cartoon characters that appear in popular commercials. Explain the differences between the commercial and the cartoon: In the commercial, the character sells a product; in the cartoon, the character entertains us. The next time she watches TV, have her report to you if she sees any cartoon characters selling products.

9. The toy connection.

When visiting a toy store, you and your child can look for toys that have been

advertised on TV or promoted by TV personalities. Point out to him how the toys advertised on TV initially seem more attractive than those he hasn’t seen advertised.

10. Invent a character.

Your child can pick a product, such as a favorite cereal, and create an imaginary character that can be used to sell the product. He/she could draw a picture or role-play the character. Or, using puppets, stage an imaginative commercial for a made-up product. Afterwards discuss with your child what she or he did to tell people about the product. Watch a few commercials and point out basic selling techniques such as making the product looking larger than life, repeating a jingle, and showing happy children using the product.

Screen News

TV news contains elements that may not be appropriate for young children. As much as possible, watch news when your child is in bed or not in the room. Protect your little one from graphic images and topics that she/he is not ready to handle cognitively or emotionally.

Screen Stereotypes

11. Not better, just different.

Children are never too young to start learning the message that differences do not make anyone better than anyone else. Point out how each family member has his or her own individual preferences, habits, ideas, and behaviors. Differences make us all unique and interesting. When your child sees a racist or sexist stereotype on the screen, explain that the writers of the script made an error in portraying the character in that light.

12. Change the picture.

Play a game with your child: When she encounters a screen stereotype, ask her whether other types of people could play that role. For instance, if the secretary is a young woman, explain that men are secretaries, too, and that many older women are very competent secretaries.

13. Girls, boys, and toys.

As you walk through a toy store, point out various toys to your child, asking each time whether the toy is made for a boy or a girl. Ask if any child could just as well play with the toy. Encourage your child to find toys that would be fun for girls and boys to play with. Then, when your child sees toy commercials on TV, point out whether only little boys or little girls are playing with the toys.

14. Play: Who is missing?

Often what children see on the screen does not represent all nationalities and the diversity he or she encounters in preschool, kindergarten, or on the playground. While watching favorite cartoons or movies with your child, discuss who is missing-such as an older person; a disabled person, or a person of a certain race or nationality. You can also discuss what types of people your child encounters more often on the screen-young, glamorous, happy white people usually take up the majority of the visual images with men outnumbering women 3 to 1!

15. Model discussion of screen stereotypes.

When your family watches a favorite TV program or a popular DVD, you can help your youngster identify stereotypical roles, behaviors, and attitudes by holding family conversations to involve your spouse and/or older children. While watching the program or movie, the adults and the older children take notes, tracking whenever they spot a stereotype of age, gender, or race. After watching, turn off the TV/VCR and discuss everyone’s observations. Using each family member’s notes, compile a master list of the stereotypical statements and portrayals that were noted. This discussion can be made more interesting if you taped the program (or replay the DVD in appropriate scene/s), so you can refer back to it as family members discuss the stereotypes they spotted. Your little one will listen to this family media literacy conversation and absorb important information while the others share their ideas.

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22 Tips on What to Wear For a TV Interview

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Recently one of my author clients was featured on FOX News Boston. Before he was interviewed on camera he was nervous but was able to recall the media training that we put him through a few weeks earlier. That, along with a pep talk, and he was good to go.

What about YOU? Are you ready to be interviewed by local or national TV? If you’ve not had media training, believe me it’s too late once you get the call. You may have to get in a car or on a plane within an hour’s notice. It’s too late to get the training then. That’s why you need to be prepared before you get the call.

My experience as a publicist has convinced me that one of the greatest concerns about being interviewed on television is what to wear. For radio or newspaper interviews, fashion doesn’t matter but how you appear is critical for TV. When my clients agree to media coaching, my first choice for them to work with is TJ Walker, CEO of Media Training Worldwide.

TJ Walker is one of the leading authorities on media training in the world. With more than 20 years of media training experience, Walker has trained thousands of CEOs, authors, and experts, including leading government officials in the United States, European Prime Ministers, and African diplomats.

Here’s a quick list of “What to Wear and Not Wear!” that TJ Walker and other media coaches have developed that I share with you now so you can look terrific for your TV interview.

1. Don’t wear white, black or red. White glows and becomes the most noticeable thing on the TV screen. Black is too harsh and can suck up all the light. Reds “bleed” on camera and are distracting.

2. Pastel shirts work well on TV.

3. The safest color on TV is blue.

4. Don’t wear dangly earrings. They distract.

5. Remove jewelry that moves, makes noise, or could hit your microphone.

6. Be wrinkle-free.

7. Don’t wear stripes, herringbone, small intricate designs, or flashy jewelry. They are hard for a TV camera to pick up on.

8. Don’t wear checks.

9. Dress in a simple, boring manner, unless you are a fashion designer.

10. TV viewers should focus on your face and what you say, not your clothes.

11. Men should have about an inch of their shirt cuff showing.

12. Avoid light colored pants.

13. Wear over-the-calf socks so your skin doesn’t show if you cross your legs.

14. Don’t wear more than one ring per hand.

15. Women shouldn’t wear short skirts if you want people to focus on your message.

16. If you wear a dark shirt, dark suit, and dark tie, you will look like you are auditioning to be a hit man on the “Sopranos.”

17. Vests look stuffy on TV.

18. Don’t wear stripes. They dance around on the screen and are distracting.

19. Avoid hair products that add shine.

20. No visible logos or companies or brands, except for your own company logo.

21. People shouldn’t judge you by your appearance, but they will.

22. If you do or wear anything distracting on TV, people will remember that and nothing you say.

Clothes are the major factor in controlling how you appear to viewers. While appearance is critical for success on television you also must be concerned about the words that come out of your mouth, the knowledge you display, and the self-confidence you demonstrate. Media coaches like TJ Walker and marketing experts like myself will make sure you are fully prepared for your big day!

The bottom line: RELAX, you’ll do fine. The butterflies you’re feeling are what will drive you to do your best! Remember, it’s not like they are going to ask you the square root of 656! They’re asking you about your book, your company, your story which you obviously know. Just follow these helpful tips, talk things over with your publicist and you’ll look as good as you sound.

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Best Media Player For Your New 1080p High Definition Television

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This Christmas a lot of people rewarded themselves with a new 1080p HDTV. Sure it is possible to use your existing DVD player or get a shiny new Blu-ray player to use with your new TV. But what is really the best media player for your new system?

Some say an HD media player would be the best choice. These are the size of an external hard drive and play audio and video from USB storage media. There are many different brands to choose from but for an example we’ll use the popular WD TV HD Media Player by Western Digital.

With this device you can play content from any connected USB drive in full HD 1080p with DTS 2.0 digital sound. It plays most audio and video formats and allows you to browse and organize your files from the easy to use interface. You can also transfer and organize files from a digital camera or camcorder. In order to use the media player an additional USB hard drive is required. The unit itself does not come with storage capacity. By using external drives the storage capacity is unlimited. There are many other HD Media Players with similar features.

The newer models also come with streaming media. There are many different brands that offer streaming HD, including D-Link, ASUS, MvixUSA, and Buffalo Link Theater. So what is streaming media? Streaming media is a player with an Internet connection. Some use an Ethernet connection and some are wireless. Either way this should allow us to access all of the media on our computers and network and organize, play, and view files.

So what can we do with these players? We can stream movies and TV shows that we have downloaded from the Internet, as well as watch You Tube videos, listen to our music files, listen to Internet radio, and view our photos and videos on the large screen. If we are entertaining we can set up a cool media show on our set to play in the background, no more burning log DVDs. In the future these devices should continue to improve but for now these are inexpensive and a great way to organize and enjoy your media collection.

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The Truth About Media Addiction

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There is no denying that in the past few decades, TV has become the main hub of several forms of entertainment. At the beginning, turning on the television meant tuning into a few different shows on a handful of networks, with the occasional long feature film thrown in for something really special. But, as the yeas passed, other forms of entertainment found a welcoming home on television screens, namely films from VHS to Blu-rays and video games from a variety of different systems. The latter now represent a significant portion of the entertainment industry with millions of people playing each year. Many believe that video games are actually more popular now with young people than any other form of entertainment.

When television began, all of the shows that you could tune into were very neutral in their tone and purpose. Now, all manner of opinions and images can show up on your TV screen. Are these mediums influencing our emotions and thoughts? And, are people spending too much of their time in front of screens these day? As we added color to television sets, the answers today don’t seem to be black and white.

Are people really addicted to gaming, TV and films?

All of this has led many to believe that TV, video games and films might be an addiction. For example, in an article for the Scientific American Magazine, professors of Journalism and Media Studies Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi came with a uniquely insightful definition for the potential harms of TV that, while more general in scope, is no less accurate:

“When the habit interferes with the ability to grow, to learn new things, to lead an active life, then it does constitute a kind of dependence and should be taken seriously.”

Now, it seems that we have gone far beyond simply using television as a harmless means of entertainment at the end of a long day or for a few hours on the weekend or after school. There are children and teenagers who spend an average of 9 hours per day plugged into some sort of media, not including what they use at school.

What causes this addiction?

The first thing that comes to mind when searching for what exactly makes people addicted to TV, gaming and films is that they are entertaining content. And while this might be true in a few cases, it is hard to think of any content being great enough to justify the excessive number of hours a day that people spend in front of screens.

The amount of time that teens spend in front of the television has doubled in just the last decade. The key to this increase seems to be related to another problem of modern society: Stress. According to Charles N. Ropper, PHD and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC), just as people addicted to drugs and alcohol often consume them to escape from reality, people addicted to TV, gaming and films also seem to use TV to find relief from stress. In fact, the rise of celebrity reality shows, the latest Lady Gaga’s music video, films like the Breaking Dawn series or video games like the latest Angry Birds: All seem to be intended to keep people craving more.

All of these, coupled with our anxiety and desire to forget about the day-to-day problems, can turn TV into the perfect escape. For a few, this escape can become an addiction. One that is virtually free and ready on demand.

So, what is the solution? It might lie in going back to the basics and what people used to do for fun “back in the old days” before we all had televisions, computers and games systems in our home. Exercise and getting outside are proven to relieve far more stress than television or video games ever have. Another killer of stress and anxiety for many is getting out into the world and interacting with others. Extra curricular activities like sports, music or dance are great ways to get teens involved, interested and inspired to live life beyond their multiple screens.

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