“Precious” Print Campaign Recalls Classic Era of Movie Poster Art

Steven Kurutz:

Marketing a film like “Precious,” which is being released by Lionsgate on November 6th, would present a challenge to any film studio, regardless of its backing by Oprah and Tyler Perry and the advance buzz the movie is getting.
The film’s 26 year-old star, Gabourey Sidibe, is a virtual unknown, while the subject matter is what sales execs would call a downer. Sidibe plays Clareece “Precious” Jones, an obese, illiterate teenager in 1980s Harlem who lives with an abusive mother and has been impregnated by her father, twice.
How do you advertise that plot on a billboard? In fact, the film’s print campaign features some of the most visually compelling poster art in recent memory. Despite a supporting role by Mariah Carey, Lionsgate has forsaken the typical “big face” approach of trading on a star’s head shot to sell a movie. Instead, the posters use bold color and sophisticated graphics to create an evocative tone.

Visiting Costa Brava

Sue Style:

Mention the words Costa Brava and for most people they will evoke visions of high-rise hotels, wall-to-wall traffic, pubs, fish and chips and Full English Breakfasts. Yet 100 years ago, the Catalan poet Ferran Agulló was so moved by the rugged pine-clad cliffs plunging to deserted sandy coves and turquoise waters that he dreamed up the name Costa Brava, meaning “the wild coast”.

Today it can be a stretch to imagine what it was about this famous area that so bewitched people. But a recent trip to this beautiful stretch of coastline, which runs from Portbou on the French border in the north down to Blanes (short of Barcelona) in the south, showed how much is worth rediscovering.

I’m having a bit of a battle with myself, though. On the one hand, in the interests of those who know and understand the Costa Brava, I should button my lip about its delicious coves, its singular small hotels, quirky restaurants and distinctive wines. On the other hand, it was such a revelation to me to discover that the Costa Brava is not all tat and tattoos that I can’t help blurting it out.

Beautiful, indeed. Years ago, I spent an evening on a Port Bou beach whilst the French trains were on strike.

One Year Later, Little Has Changed

Ed Wallace:

“By buying U.S. Treasuries and mortgages to increase the monetary base by $1 trillion, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke didn’t put money directly into the stock market, but he didn’t have to. With nowhere else to go, except maybe commodities, inflows into the stock market have been on a tear. The dollars he cranked out didn’t go into the hard economy, but instead into tradable assets.”

— “The Bernanke Market,” Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2009

“In the last week alone, the European Central Bank allocated the record sum of $619 billion to 1,1,00 financial institutions – at a paltry 1 percent interest rate. And yet the money is not going where the central banks want it to go, namely into the pockets of businesses and consumers – at least not at reasonable interest rates.”

— “How German Banks are Cashing In on the Financial Crisis,” Der Spiegel, July 1, 2009

Two weeks ago, in meetings with their North Texas dealers, both Toyota and Honda voiced concern about how the economic recovery was going to hold up over the next few quarters. It wasn’t public news yet in the States, but Japanese executives already knew that their imports and exports had fallen sharply through the summer. And, while our business media were cheerleading because the Dow Jones was once again flirting with 10,000, in Japan their exports had just fallen 36 percent; metal shipments to the U.S. were down by more than 80 percent, automobile shipments by 50 percent. This was a problem here, too: In August America’s dealers seriously needed Japanese vehicles to restock their depleted inventories.

Toyota and Honda took different tacks for the fourth quarter. Toyota said it will spend $1 billion in advertising to move the retail market. Honda, always more cautious in difficult times, said it would spend nothing during the same period. Honda added that it will keep dealer inventories at a 30-day supply of unsold vehicles, half the inventory considered normal.