Hanksy Panky

November 1, 2004
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Well, this is getting just a bit ridiculous. East Grand Rapids native ChrisVanAllsburg has his award-winning children’s book “The Polar Express” made into what surely will become a holiday blockbuster movie, and he wants to see the movie debut (or premiere or preview) in Grand Rapids as a benefit for Hospice of Michigan.

But then the studio heads step in and say Los Angeles gets the “premiere.” OK, so little old GR get the “Midwest premiere” or “Midwest benefit preview” with a big gala planned on Friday for Hospice of Michigan at Celebration Cinema.

Alas, now comes word, according to Chicago’s RedEye magazine, that on Oct. 21 the Chicago Film Festival closed with a “screening” of “The Polar Express,” attended by director RobertZemeckis and star TomHanks

What’s next? CSX won’t let the Pere Marquette be part of the festivities? (True!)

This wanting to be a big city stuff is for the birds.

  • The Polishing Center and its Ad-Club buddies were doing their part to help educate the creative class last Thursday at The BOB with the Third Annual Creative Smackdown.

The competition invited advertising students from around West Michigan to enter their creations in hopes of winning recognition and beer money.

This year’s winner in both the professionally judged competition and student choice category was college student Laura Horon for her print advertisement for World Alzheimer’s Day.  Horon took home a handy $600 and hopes for a job offer or two.

On hand to deliver some professional advice and perhaps scalp some local talent for his side of the state was Ernie Perich of Ann Arbor-based Perich + Partners. The 23-year advertising veteran told the soon-to-be rookies what he loves and hates about the field in a presentation especially suited for the audience: some bad language and lots of booze.

“First off, I hate bull(shooters),” he said. “And I hate working free.”

Perich illustrated these first two points with recorded messages from a recent client that had stiffed him for $140,000 and a self-produced video on the concept of working “on spec.”

“I also hate blatant stupidity,” Perich added. “But I love watching blatantly stupid people waste their money.”

Most of the rest of Perich’s message wasn’t as much horror stories as advice on how the aspiring advertising gurus could work their way into positions at firms like his on campaigns for A-list clients like GM, Mitsubishi and IBM.

“You know, I’ll have a little competition of my own,” Perich said. “We’re looking to hire young people. If you write us a letter and show me that you understand what I’ve been talking about, I’ll give you a job.”

Other finalists in the competition were Aubrea Steik, Rebecca Fortenbacher, Kelly Bartell, Grant Steiner, and Jane VanderLaan

  • How many of your friends will be joining you in the voting booth Tuesday? Well, if Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is correct, quite a few.

Land said 95 percent of Michigan’s voting-age population of 7.5 million is registered to vote, and she expects statewide voter turnout to reach 60 percent Tuesday. In fact, Land said, Michigan voter participation has exceeded the national average in every presidential election for the past 50 years.

Incidentally, the state’s largest turnout came during the 1960 presidential election when nearly 73 percent of Michigan’s voting-age population cast ballots. In 2000, that percentage was 58.2.

  • A pair of international news stories brought a new perspective to the last month’s Business Journal story on camera phones in the workplace (“Digital Chaos at Work?” Oct. 4).

A new report by The Yankee Group predicts that mobile phone users around the world will spend $1 billion a year on pornography sent to mobile phone handsets by 2008. In the United States, consumers will be forking over $90 million for adult entertainment on their cellphones in just four years’ time.

This year, PhoneErotica.com has generated more traffic than MSN on at least one major U.S. cellular carrier.

Believe it or not, Yankee states that as much as half of all mobile phone data traffic consists of adult content, but “carriers are terrified of the press and politicians learning about how they are profiting from this business.”

Even better, a new aftermarket Vodafone accessory available only in Japan has unintentionally created the stuff of boys’ adolescent dreams.

The Yamada Denshi infrared filter was supposed to allow owners of the V602-SH handset to take pictures with the phone in the dark. But according to a CNET Networks report, the night vision camera allows users an unexpected bonus — seeing through people’s clothes.

Yep, under the proper conditions, “the device can give the effect of seeing through some garments … particularly effective on dark bikinis.”

Wonder if that will cut into the porn industry’s cellular profits?

  • Well, it’s official. According to Gary Mitchell, of the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents, and to Lorie Conarton, of the Insurance Institute of Michigan, Kent County does, indeed, have Michigan’s highest incidence of deer-car crashes.

(The Business Journal had called both spokespersons to learn whether Michigan property-casualty insurance rates will increase due to all the hurricane damage and insurance claims in Florida. Answer: they won’t — unnnnless, that is, you happen to own a business or a winter home in the Hurricane State.)

Conarton said Kent County’s deer are so plentiful, they are a danger to drivers just about everywhere but in downtowns. In fact, last year, police and insurers recorded almost 68,000 crashes in which 1,900 people sustained injuries and 11 died.

Insurers and law enforcement agencies eight years ago created the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition to warn people about the danger, noting that most such accidents occur at dawn or dusk on two-lane roads.

So what does the coalition say one should do? About what you’d expect: stay alert, wear safety belts, stay alert, heed deer crossing signs, stay alert, don’t swerve, brake firmly, stay alert, and don’t let go of the steering wheel.    

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