Deck the Halls with Bullshit: Cards Against Humanity’s Brilliant Bah Humbug Campaign

How do you convince 100,000 people to each give you $12 without providing any explanation? Apparently all it takes is a foul-mouthed Santa Claus in a swimming pool and an air of mystery. That’s exactly how party game Cards Against Humanity introduced their most recent viral holiday campaign. The self-proclaimed “party game for horrible people” announced its “12 Days of Holiday Bullshit” campaign this week, promising participants 12 mystery gifts over 12 days in exchange for $12.

Beyond an introductory video from “Santa” and a cheeky FAQ page, the company divulged very little information about what participants could expect. All that’s promised is 12 gifts for both the naughty and the nice. Regardless, all 100,000 slots for the promotion are already filled. I’m a broke grad student and even I joined in on the fun. So what’s the deal? Why are we willing to shell out $12 when, for all we know, we might be sent 12 lumps of coal?

We’re living in a time when the day after Halloween means that stores suddenly transform into an ominous blob of all things red, green and sparkly and Starbucks employees begin force-feeding customers some sort of gingerbread crème brûlée Christmas-tree-in-a-cup. Every major company has a winter campaign bigger than the year before, and they’re all looking to out-holiday the others.

Cards Against Humanity isn’t an ordinary brand, though. The independent company was started by a Kickstarter campaign, provides customers with a free downloadable version of their game, and tends to throw caution to the wind when it comes to traditional marketing techniques. The “12 Days of Holiday Bullshit” campaign stays true to their brand personality – it’s funny, it’s blunt, and it pushes the envelope. Cards Against Humanity recognized that their core demographic likely wouldn’t care for flowery words and the promise of good cheer. Instead, they harnessed the in-your-face sarcasm and humor embodied by their game to catch attention. And it was surprisingly refreshing.


Even though Cards Against Humanity likely doesn’t have a marketing budget anywhere close to those of larger game makers, they recognized the power of a successful viral web campaign. The exclusivity of the promotion, the mystery behind it, and some help from tech blogs and social media sites spreading the word allowed this small company to pull off quite a feat.

It’s unclear what will happen with the rest of the holiday campaign. According to the “12 Days of Bullshit” FAQ page, Cards Against Humanity isn’t actually making any money off of the campaign. However, the level of awareness generated is a success in itself. Cards Against Humanity has people all over talking about their brand and spreading their name. Come Christmastime, I wouldn’t be surprised to see plenty of stockings stuffed with Cards Against Humanity bullshit.

Posted in IMC | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Possible Outcomes Of Getting An English Degree In America: An Outline

This piece teeters between hilarious and utterly depressing, but the writing itself is brilliant. Also, point 7-c-i is perfect.

Thought Catalog

1. One week after graduating, you’ll apply to your first job outside of academia and be asked to come in for an interview. The company will offer a respectable starter salary, ample benefits, and opportunities for growth.

a. When you ask what the company does, the interviewer will show you a mission statement, vision statement, and value statement. He’ll tell you that they offer clients value-based services that enhance start-up viability by objectively extending catalysts for granular opportunities.

i. “Oh,” you’ll say. “I’m all about that.”

b. You’ll nail the interview with a peppering of humorous anecdotes and an insightful commentary regarding French post-structural theorist Jacques Derrida and the transhumanism of Japan’s hikikomori culture.

i. The interviewer, wiping tears of joy from his flushed cheeks, will waive the follow-up interviews and ask you to start the following day.

c. When you come to work the next day, your secretary will…

View original post 2,001 more words

Posted in Re-blogged | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips for a Happy, Healthy Cookout

My latest article for the Quicken Loans Zing Blog:

We’re in the hottest month of summer, and that means a few different things: shorter shorts, longer days, sunburned noses and plenty of outdoor parties. Whether you’re grilling out at a family reunion, hosting a graduation party or bringing a dish to your block party, there are plenty of ways to make sure your favorite summer dishes make you feel just as awesome as they taste. Here are a few of my favorite healthy summer foods to incorporate into your next cookout.

Savory Starters

Your cookout compadres will likely want something to munch on before you get down to the grilling. You could reach for the potato chips and French onion dip, but that overplayed combination provides little nutritional value. Instead, grab some raw veggies – celery, carrots and cucumbers are all great choices – or make your own “chips” by baking kale leaves or zucchini slices with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of seasoning salt. Then, serve them with one of these delicious dips.

Hummus

Not only does this powerhouse spread have half the fat of a run-of-the-mill chip dip, but the chickpeas that make up hummus are rich in protein and fiber. That means you’ll feel and stay fuller. Hummus contains plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids that help you maintain a healthy heart. On top of that, it contains amino acids that can lead to a better night’s sleep and even improve your mood.

Salsa

Add some spice to your life and subtract a few pounds. Salsa is extremely low in calories and packs a nutritional punch by combining a variety of fruits and vegetables. Bonus: Hot peppers, like jalapeños, naturally raise your metabolic rate, suggesting that they’re good for weight loss. Make your own homemade salsa to avoid extra sugar. I like to combine chopped bell peppers, onion, jalapeños, mango and avocado with cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of salt.

Guacamole

Avocados, the main ingredient in guacamole, are rich in monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is much healthier, as it lowers cholesterol for a healthy heart and can also help lower blood sugar. Avocados contain even more potassium than a banana, and can be beneficial in reducing blood pressure. On top of that, they’re high in fiber. As with salsa, you can easily make homemade guacamole to avoid unnecessary additives.

Re-think Your Burger

It’s not summer if you’re not grilling. Unfortunately, your classic cheeseburger is packed with calories and fat. Fear not – you don’t need to cut down on your grilling time. Instead, try swapping in a few of these foods to shave off calories.

Ditch that white hamburger bun

White flour is heavily processed and refined; as a result, white buns contain much less fiber than whole wheat buns and have considerably lower levels of vitamins. White buns are also more likely to cause a blood sugar spike that will leave you feeling hungry and cranky. If you need a bun to cradle your burger, go for whole wheat. If you’re willing to lose the bread all together, you can wrap your burger with lettuce and cut out nearly all extra calories.

It’s okay to stray from ground beef

A 3 oz. ground beef burger will run somewhere between 250 and 300 calories. Switch that out for a leaner turkey burger, and you can cut about 30%of the calories. Veggie burgers vary, but usually contain less calories and fat than both turkey and beef burgers. However, the healthiest choice by far is a Portobello burger. One Portobello mushroom cap is only 22 calories, has essentially no fat and contains a high level of antioxidants to boost health.

Make a Salad That People Actually Want to Eat

Salads often have a reputation of being a boring healthy food, but there’s plenty of ways to mix it up and create a salad that is welcomed with open arms at your next cookout.

Cool as a cucumber

Did you know that a cucumber is made up of 95% water? Eating this vegetable is a great way to cool off and eliminate toxins during the hot summer months. Cucumbers are a good source of B and C vitamins, and research has suggested that the lignans found in this vegetable are connected with a reduced risk of several cancer types. My favorite summer salad incorporates cucumbers, onions, vinegar and fresh dill, like in this Martha Stewart recipe.

Eat like an Italian

I spent a few months living in Italy and fell in love with this simple combination: tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can easily cut up the tomatoes and mozzarella and toss them with fresh basil, olive oil and vinegar to make a quick salad. Another option is to serve them on skewers or stack the cheese and basil on tomato slices and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help protect against some cancers and combats free radicals that can damage healthy cells and suppress your immune system. The olive oil is a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat. Just try not to go overboard on the mozzarella cheese (easier said than done, I know).

This Isn’t Your Grandpa’s Grill

Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative on the grill. These healthy foods are even better with a couple of grill marks.

Salmon

A 3 oz. serving of salmon is only 177 calories and packs in a ton of heart-healthy Omega-3s. It’s rich in vitamin D and selenium, which have both been associated with the prevention of certain types of cancer. Eating salmon has also been linked to a decreased risk of heart problems. Pair your grilled salmon with the aforementioned homemade salsa and you have the perfect summer dish.

Grilled veggies

Grilled vegetables are easily my favorite kind of vegetables. Try skewers of red pepper and onion slices. Red peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamins A and C, which are awesome for your immune system. Red peppers are also a good source of fiber, folate and vitamins B6 and E. Onions are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They can also reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol, leading to a healthier heart.

Pineapple

Think dessert has to be overloaded with calories and drowning in fat? Think again – and say hello to your new favorite dessert. Pineapple is an excellent source of manganese, a mineral that’s great for maintaining healthy bones and nerves. Pineapple is also full of vitamins C and B and has fiber to keep you full. Heating pineapple slices on the grill for just a few minutes caramelizes the natural sugars, creating a sweet treat. I like to add some cayenne pepper before grilling to add a nice kick that compliments the sweetness of the sugar.

So, next time you’re invited to a summer cookout, try out one of these delectable dishes and you’ll be sure to impress health nuts and classic grill masters alike.

Read more: http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/tips-happy-healthy-cookout#ixzz2blvC7Eai

Posted in Health, Published Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dancing in the Street for Detroit Summer Concerts

I’m working in Detroit at Quicken Loans this summer, and I wrote this article for their Zing Blog. The original article can be found here.

It’s no secret that Detroit is a hub for musical innovation. From its Motown roots, and through the decades that followed, the city has produced countless legendary musicians – from Aretha Franklin to Eminem, Madonna to The White Stripes, and a multitude of artists in between. And with all of this musical clout comes a colossal collection of summer concerts. The sheer number of musical acts stopping by the D this summer can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve laid out just a few of the must-see shows of the season. But don’t stop here! Go out and explore the city. Fans of any musical genre are sure to find something that will make them tap their feet, bang their head or sing along.

Detroit Natives

Whether you’re interested in the soulful sounds of Motown or the guitar riffs of Detroit Rock City, musical influences can be found all over the city. Here are three hometown acts that are coming back to Detroit this summer:

  • The Romantics – July 12, GM Renaissance Center
    The Romantics blew up on the music scene with “What I Like About You.” And what’s not to like about an energetic Detroit-bred rock band playing a free show on the river? The Romantics will bring their signature Detroit rock sound, with a dash of British punk invasion, to the Renaissance Center to kick off the Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series in July.
  • Grand Funk Railroad – July 16, GM Renaissance Center
    Do you prefer your classic rock with a hearty side of blues? Be sure to come back to the Rockin’ on the Riverfront series July 16 to catch Flint’s own Grand Funk Railroad. The band will only be playing a few shows around the country this summer, so this is one you won’t want to miss. And like all concerts in the Rockin’ on the Riverfront series, admission is free!
  • Diana Ross – Aug. 25, The Sound Board at MotorCity Casino Hotel
    Motown legend Diana Ross will be returning to her hometown for an intimate show at a venue that boasts 1,500 seats and can fit up to 2,400 fans, so concert-goers can expect to see the celebrated songstress up close and personal.

Seasoned Pros

There are some performances that never get old. These artists have been around for a while, but their musical influence is still as strong as ever.

  • Fleetwood Mac – June 12, Joe Louis Arena
    35 years after the release of their critically-acclaimed album, “Rumours,” Fleetwood Mac is back with a new four-song EP and a world tour. The current lineup of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks will take over the Joe this Wednesday, and there are a select number of tickets still available.
  • Bon Jovi – July 18, Ford Field
    Yet another Detroit sports hotspot will be bursting with music-lovers this summer, when Bon Jovi brings his Because We Can Tour to Ford Field. Fans can look forward to tunes from the band’s newest album “What About Now,” as well as old crowd pleasers like “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

Chart Toppers

You’ve likely heard these artists everywhere lately – your local radio stations, late-night TV, award shows. They’re taking the music charts by storm and coming to a venue near you with what are sure to be massive, high-energy shows.

  • Justin Bieber – July 28, Joe Louis Arena
    Our Canadian neighbor, Justin Bieber, will be in Detroit July 28, so expect traffic delays when the streets fill with screaming teenage girls. The show is part of Bieber’s massive Believe Tour, which began back in 2012. The tickets that haven’t been snatched up yet will likely be pricey, but they’re sure to be a hit with the teenybopper in your life.
  • Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z – Aug. 6, Ford Field
    After a six-year hiatus from performing, Justin Timberlake is back for the much anticipated Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour, co-headlining with Jay-Z. After collaborating on one of Timberlake’s newest tracks, “Suit & Tie,” the two acclaimed artists decided on a joint tour to take over stadiums around the country. Whether you’re a fan of Timberlake’s crooner style or Jay-Z’s can’t-be-touched raps, this tour will undoubtedly be one of the biggest of the summer.
  • Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves – Aug. 17, Ford Field
    If a down-home southern concert is more your style, grab that cowboy hat and head out to Ford Field in August when Detroit goes country for a night. Kenny Chesney is headlining his No Shoes Nation Tour with fellow country favorites Eric Church, Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves. Each artist brings their own unique sound to the tour, which should make for a show that caters to a diverse country fan base.

Hip-Hop Hit-Makers

  • Young Jeezy and Big Sean – June 22, Chene Park Amphitheater
    After a Grammy nomination for his hit “I Do” in 2012, Young Jeezy will be headlining Hot 107.5’s Summer Jamz at the Chene Park Amphitheater on the Riverfront. Detroit’s own Big Sean is also scheduled to perform.
  • Lil Wayne – Aug. 9, Joe Louis Arena
    Lil Wayne’s America’s Most Wanted Tour is stopping by the D in early August, with guest performers T.I. and Future. Lil Wayne and T.I. already boast a wide range of hits to choose from, while Future released his debut album a year ago, so he may be a newcomer to keep an eye on.

Festival Fanatics

If you love music festivals, but can’t make the trek out to Bonnaroo or across the pond to Glastonbury Festival, have no fear! Here’s just a small sample of up-and-coming bands that will appear in music festivals this year, and will be right here in Detroit this summer.

  • The xx and Grizzly Bear – June 12, The Fillmore
    The xx, an English indie pop band, has already performed at Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City, and are slated to perform at Bonnaroo, Glastonbury and a number of festivals around the world this year. But first they’re stopping by the Fillmore with Brooklyn-based band, Grizzly Bear.
  • Fitz and the Tantrums – June 20, Saint Andrew’s Hall
    Fitz and the Tantrums have caught the eye of the music festival community after their first single, “Out Of My League” garnered attention with its upbeat indie-pop sound. They’ll be performing in St. Louis’s major music festival, Loufest, in September. Before that, catch them at Saint Andrew’s Hall on June 20.

Margarita Lovers

  • Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band – July 20, Comerica Park
    Parrotheads, unite! Jimmy Buffett is coming back to Detroit for an all-day beach party and concert at Comerica Park. Though the doors for Buffett’s show don’t open until 6 p.m., a free downtown beach party will begin at noon on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Montcalm Street, on the north side of Comerica Park. The party will feature live entertainment, games and, of course, tiki bars with plenty of frozen beverages.

Don’t forget, these lists are just a small taste of the talent coming to Detroit this summer. You can visit http://detroit.about.com/od/artsentertainment/a/showsconcerts.htm) for a full list of summer concerts in the Detroit Metro area. Now, put on your dancing shoes, warm up your vocal chords and get ready to explore our city’s famous music scenes!

Read more: http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/dancing-streets-detroit-summer-concerts#ixzz2XKzgGRms

Posted in Arts, Music Minute, Published Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

LouFest 2013 has potential to be the biggest and best yet

This is a bit delayed due to the destructive force that is finals week, but I wrote a quick preview of LouFest 2013 for The University News last week. Looks like it’s going to be pretty rad. I’m just saying.

LouFest is back and bigger than ever, boasting arguably its most impressive lineup yet.

After piquing fans’ interest with a fill-in-the-blank lineup guessing game, LouFest organizers revealed early Tuesday morning that The Killers and Wilco will be headlining this year’s two-day music festival Sept. 7 and 8.

In its past three years of existence, LouFest has managed each year to draw in a few big names amongst a large number of up-and-coming bands and local favorites. However, this year’s lineup is more stacked than ever, featuring a number of big names like Grammy-nominated Alabama Shakes, The National and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.

This year’s noticeably stronger lineup is likely due in part to a recent partnership between LouFest’s founders, Listen Live Entertainment, and C3 Presents – the force behind Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. St. Louis natives needn’t fret, however, as the festival continues its tradition of featuring local St. Louis artists. This year it’s St. Louis favorites Kentucky Knife Fight and Tef Poe. Additionally, Wilco’s lead man Jeff Tweedy grew up near St. Louis and formed most of the band in the city before relocating to Chicago, so fans can likely expect a special performance.

Even the lower portion of the LouFest lineup features a number of well-known artists, including Jim James, Local Natives, Walk the Moon, Ra Ra Riot, Icona Pop, Fitz and the Tantrums and more. The festival will feature 30 bands and artists total, spanning a variety of music genres – from synth-y pop to indie, bluegrass to punk, high-energy rock to rap, and everything in between.

In order to accommodate the large number of performers, as well as provide an even better festival experience for fans, LouFest 2013 will feature three stages instead of two. This will allow multiple bands to perform at the same time. The festival will still take place in its original location: Central Field in Forest Park.

Beyond the obvious allure of live music, fans can expect plenty of local St. Louis food vendors and interactive activities throughout the festival.

Two-day passes to LouFest will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, May 3, with a limited number of early-bird passes available for $75. Regular two-day general admission passes will cost $95 and a VIP pass is $250.

 

Posted in Arts, Music Minute, Published Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m currently working on a full online portfolio

And it is a complete work in progress. It should be finished soon, though!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vampire Weekend is live-streaming their concert right now.

http://www.youtube.com/user/VampireWeekendVEVO/UNSTAGED

I’m loving it. I’ve seen them live before and they put on an amazing show. Enjoy!

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment