Faith-Based Marketing and Entertainment Make A Major Comeback

Faith-Based Marketing and Entertainment Make A Major Comeback

Recently, I’ve noticed an uptick in Christian themes – especially in the business and entertainment worlds. It reminds me of the 90’s when WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), Touched By An Angel (1994), and Chicken Soup For The Soul (1997) were all amazingly popular. I remember talking to clients about this development but they either did not “get” this trend or they weren’t interested. All except Fox!! They not only “got” it, they invested, establishing the FoxFaith brand which was extremely successful through the 2000’s with independent Christian-themed films and videos targeting evangelical Christians.

And now in 2017, this same Christian trend is emerging again – at perhaps an even more ultra-liberal time. On my Texas trip in October, we visited Waco to see Joanna and Chip Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos. We had to go on Saturday because everything is shut tight on Sundays for church. The Gaines’ also announced at that time, that they were ending their popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper in order to concentrate more on their faith. Read more about them and the influence of the Billy Graham Evangelist Association, here.

While in Texas, we also stumbled upon the Melissa Benge Collection. This cool store is owned by a devout Christian who is not shy about asking for – and accepting – Prayer Requests on the store’s website.

Read on below for how mainstream Hollywood is attempting to connect with the 90 million evangelicals in this country thru specific PR efforts and “influencers.” Also check out the launch of Light TV, a faith-focused digital venture from Roma Downey and Mark Burnett in partnership with MGM and Fox Television.

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Joe’s NYC Bar: The Improv Theater Hit of the Year

Joe’s NYC Bar: The Improv Theater Hit of the Year

 

My friend, David Rosenberg, is currently performing in the NY premiere of Joe’s NYC Bar. It’s an interactive, improv, immersive theater experience. Highly recommend – and tickets are going fast! It is one of the most entertaining and engaging nights of theater I have ever experienced.  It’s playing in the upstairs space at a bar on the Upper East Side called Ryan’s Daughter @ 350 East 85th Street. (The Snapchat video above is from opening night with Sheri Radel Rosenberg – captures the ambiance.)

A little background: Christian Kelty (a friend of David’s) who is originally from NYC but lives in Orlando, created the concept 15 years ago and first introduced it at the Orlando Fringe Festival. He went on to stage it once or twice a year in various taverns around Orlando.

In 2016, the show was invited to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after one of the Managers of the Festival, Barry Church-Woods, saw it in Orlando. And now, from January 6 through Sunday January 15, it is finally debuting in NYC.

There is no script for the show. The actors, all gifted at improv, create their own characters which are the crux of each night’s performance. Kelty, serves as the bartender in each show but the experience will be different every night based on what is happening in the world and the dynamics of the audience. You also don’t know who is a cast member and who is not – everyone ultimately contributes to the storyline.

On Friday night, for example, a woman sitting near us (who was not part of the cast) lost her ring and a mad search ensued. As it turns out, it was her mother’s ring – and that piece of information formed the genesis of that night’s show. In turn funny and poignant, much was revealed over the next 90 minutes about mothers, family responsibilities and how we communicate with each other. Absolute stellar nite!

Read on below for more details on the show and the actors including musical performances (which are different each nite e.g. on Saturday January 7th, the musical performer was Michelle Shocked). And finally, I must add that this is way better, in my opinion, than Sleep No More, a similarly interactive performance that has been running at the McKittrick Hotel for several years.

And one last tip if you do make it to the show and want to eat in the neighborhood. There is an excellent sushi restaurant, called Poke, directly across the street at 343 East 85th Street. It does not take reservations, is cash only and BYOB!

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2017 Inspiration Courtesy of the Always Impressive Charlie Rose

2017 Inspiration Courtesy of the Always Impressive Charlie Rose

“The Supreme Court should never be influenced by the weather of the day, but will invariably be influenced by the climate of the era.” 

Such a great quote by Paul Freund that I recently heard for the first time on Charlie Rose when the Notorious R.B.G (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) used it to explain what it’s like to be on the Supreme Court over a long period of time. And so it always goes on Charlie Rose: remarkable people enrich your life when they share their perspectives, their struggles, their knowledge.

On this the first Monday of 2017, a holiday for many, I wanted to share some inspiration by way of Charlie Rose. I consider him, and his show, national treasures. I’ve learned so much watching him interview the most amazing array of people over the years. And what a luxury in today’s world, to have intelligent, non-rushed, non-abrasive conversations available on TV. I watch him on both PBS and BloombergTV.

I also have to admit because I am such a slacker when it comes to reading books, Charlie Rose and his guests fill that void a tiny bit.

Here then are 5 gems to kick off the year. Links to full interviews are included below.

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The 2016 In-Memoriam Music Business is Sadly, Booming

The 2016 In-Memoriam Music Business is Sadly, Booming

The deaths of so many music stars in 2016 has fueled sales of what’s being called the “In Memoriam” music business:

  • George Michael’s death on Christmas Day sparked a 12,000% increase in sales
  • Prince album sales surged 16,000% after his death
  • David Bowie streams on Spotify were up 2700% after his death
  • Leonard Cohen’s sales/streams increased by 400% following his death

The kicker in all of this is that the artists’ very deaths often remind us, to varying degrees, that our own time to experience all that life has to offer is limited.

This last point came home to me personally: When Prince died in April at age 57, I was knocked out of my complacency about how much time we have to do things. I booked Round 2 of my Nat Geo Around The World Trip immediately thereafter. I didn’t want to miss something that I had dreamed about my whole life. It made me come face to face with my own mortality in a very real way.

Read more below on who specifically drives after-death sales – and the different behaviors between existing and new fans.

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YURT ALERT! Really Want To Keep This To Myself But….

YURT ALERT! Really Want To Keep This To Myself But….

Without a doubt the most fun and amazing spot in NYC to while away early evenings and weekends during the winter months.

The Winter Garden includes Christmas trees for sale thru Brooklyn’s Crest Hardware, cutouts for photo ops, and blankets and heaters for outdoors drinking. But most importantly, the garden houses 5 or 6 yurts – all different sizes – that are heated, but also offer vintage fur coats should you get chilly. Each yurt also features a buzzer that alerts wait staff that you need more mulled wine or another fondue.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS PLACE.

Details here.

Note: Garden closes on the early side (9pm) to accommodate neighbors so this is a spot to hit up from 4pm during the week and starting at noon on the weekend.  Two menu items I can definitely recommend: the fondue for 2 with sausages and the potted trout with caper jam – YUM!!  But everything looks delicious!

More pics below.

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2016 Holiday Parties: Secrets to Hosting Great Events

2016 Holiday Parties: Secrets to Hosting Great Events
riedel

The winning champagne glass from Riedel along with Georg Riedel conducting our Champagne Workshop

 

Holiday Parties are in full swing. Last week I attended 3 outstanding events:

  1. A Riedel Glassware Champagne Tasting Workshop with Georg Riedel which is typically only available to winemakers and industry professionals. Super informative and a great learning experience (see full details with pics below).
  2. Vintage powerhouse SparkPretty’s Crystal Ball-Themed Holiday Extravaganza!!
  3. Nick Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Creams Sorbaes Calendar Release Party at The Ace Hotel

Read on below for more details on all the holiday party trends coming out of these 3 special events as well as each events’ secret ingredients for success.

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